A New Year is a reminder that the future is coming and change is imminent. Uncertainty is a big trigger for those struggling with anxiety and New Year is a holiday that celebrates it. New Year’s resolutions are everywhere; from losing weight and exercising more to saving money, trying for a promotion, making new friends, and being more kind, New Year resolutions can bring positive change but can also be a setup for failure and anxiety. Resolutions, thinking about them and making them, are an anxious individual’s nightmare. Uncertainty and the unknown is a huge trigger for individuals who have anxiety and a New Year has many anxiety individuals thinking what might happen in the New Year, it’s the knowledge that things will change that gets the anxiety going; change is the absolute worst for anxious individuals. When things change, it takes a long time to adjust and even longer to get comfortable (if that ever happens), how can anxious individuals embrace change without being on the brink of a panic attack?
From infancy to old age, individuals need predictable routines to thrive. We strive to create routines so we feel safe and secure, organized, in control, and confident in who and what is in our lives.
It can be very anxiety provoking when change comes along at expected and unexpected times. While we won’t be able to stop change from happening throughout our lives, happily we can do something about how we handle it. There are surprising ways to decrease the fear of change and quiet the anxiety of the unknown.
How to Embrace Change to Quiet Anxiety
1. Develop a routine that incorporates the change.
The fear of change settles down when we make the new change part of our normal lives. Develop a new routine around a change that you are experiencing. Then, it’s no longer change to be feared or the unknown to be anxious about. Remember that it takes about three months to develop a new habit or routine.
2 Sleep on it.
Making a change or a decision overnight can make us feel rushed. Proper rest is vital to mental and physical health. When we are going through a transition and are experiencing anxiety because of the change and the unknown, we especially need a good night’s sleep. Having enough sleep helps us better problem-solve and approach a change more calmly rather than anxiously.
3. Do your research.
Whether it is embracing a new job, a new baby, a new weight loss program or a big move; research all you can about it. To fear what we don’t know is part of being human. The best way to make the unknown known, and thus reduce anxiety, is to learn. Read, listen, watch and ask questions about this change.
4. Get organized.
Feeling disorganized can make us feel out of control, which increases anxiety and that unsettled feeling. Getting organized can help you take charge of what’s happening before the change becomes completely overwhelming.
5. Move through exercise or a favorite activity.
Moving your body can reduce anxiety and depression, here’s how. Exercise relieves anxiety and stress in several ways. First, cardiovascular workouts stimulate brain chemicals that foster the growth of nerve cells. Second, exercise increases the activity of serotonin and norepinephrine. Third, a raised heart rate releases endorphins, which reduces pain, induce euphoria and helps control the brain’s response to stress and anxiety.
6. Learn what you can and cannot control.
Sometimes it’s all too easy to become fixated on events over which we have no power or people who might never change their actions or attitude. However, rather than focus on blaming others or moving the unmovable, resilient people set their sights on what they can control. Focus on things you can control such as your words, your actions and your reaction to everything, including the things you cannot control. You can manage what you put in your body, how much money you spend and how you treat others but you cannot control traffic jobs, changes to your job or how other people treat you.
Remember, if you or someone you love is struggling with anxiety or another mental health disorder, Discovery Mood & Anxiety Program has various treatment to help.