Modern life is bloody hard. Throw a global pandemic into the mix and you’ve got an inevitable recipe for mental health disaster. With all of the stresses of contemporary living it’s no wonder you might be feeling a little off-balance.
I’ve pulled together my 3 top tips to battle modern day anxiety so that you can regain balance and find peace within.
- Amp up the gratitude
If you are constantly worrying about the negative forces in your life and external stresses that are out of your control, you will struggle to see the light and your perspective will be tainted by negativity and worry. However, if you take the time to pause and reflect on your day, you will realise you have actually experienced many small wonders, despite your seemingly dull 24 hours.
Can you tell me 3 things that brought you joy today? Look for light in the little things. I often find that keeping a gratitude list throughout the day can do wonders for my perspective. Really enjoyed your morning cuppa? Jot it down. Your dog gave you a warm greeting when you got in from work or school? Add it to the list.
Our brains will repeat the patterns we action the most, so get your mind used to seeking out pleasure in the little things. Celebrating the big stuff like job offers and other life milestones is great but finding joy in the mundane can bring a deeper sense of everyday pleasure that is long-lasting and unmatchable. This simple shift in perspective can be life-changing.
2. Reduce social media use
It’s no secret that social media has taken over our lives. And although it has many benefits such as community and inspiration, our obsession with social media platforms can have a detrimental impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Keeping social media use under control is key to staying sane in today’s world.
There’re two factors playing a key part here – one being how we use social media and the second being the amount of time we spend using it.
What exactly are you looking at? What are you absorbing as your thumb mindlessly scrolls? The way we use social media can have a direct impact on our happiness levels throughout the day. If you’re comparing yourself to others’ feeds, remember that you are only seeing a curated selection of what they want you to have access to. Comparison is the thief of joy.
Ensure you don’t fall prey to the grips of social media comparison by following accounts and hashtags that inspire you and only posting content that makes you happy rather than trying to impress others. Don’t be afraid to unfollow people or accounts that make you feel bad about yourself. The mute button is a glorious invention, use it! Curate your feed for your own enjoyment.
As well as succumbing to comparison, many of us experience fear of missing out (FOMO). This can take hold when we aren’t connected via social platforms or when we see others out having fun when we’re stuck inside. Remember that the present moment – the here and now – is the most important aspect of your life. If social media is making you feel rubbish, take a break from it and get outside, read a book or call up a friend.
The second factor is the time we spend on social platforms. Don’t forget that the algorithms on these apps are designed to draw you in and lock your attention for as long as possible, hence the widespread addiction. You have to make a conscious effort to prioritise your mental wellbeing and help yourself by setting boundaries and social media limits.
Turn off notifications so that you’re not picking up your device every five minutes. Set reminders on your phone to encourage you to put it down and get outside instead. If you really struggle, get a friend to help you out by reminding you to reduce screen time or have a regular phone call in place.
These structured limitations will help to pull you out of the rabbit hole that is social media, ensuring you don’t lose sight of real life and what’s happening in the here and now.
And no screen time in the 30 mins before bed – yup, I see you!
When anxiety takes hold, it drags you to either the past: why did I do that?! Or the future: what if…?! Both remove you from the present moment and fill your mind with worry and stress. Meditation is a great ritual that can help you return to yourself and the present moment.
Meditation sometimes just feels like a buzzword at the minute, with brands trying to force it down your throat before you can say ‘Om’. But if you can look past the fad, then real meditation – done your way – can help you reconnect to yourself, clear your mind and calm your soul. Start off small, just a few minutes each day. It doesn’t have to be intense spiritual work, just a moment of calm in the chaos that is life. Before you know it, it’ll be embedded in your routine and you’ll feel more zen than ever. Trust me.
Most external stressors don’t have to affect us at all, and the key is perception. The situation you’re in doesn’t determine your happiness, your perception and subsequent response is the thing that defines the joy you experience. Meditation can help with this mindset shift by encouraging you to see things clearly and notice what you are in control of and what you can let go of.
If you can master these three rituals you will be able to battle modern day anxiety, let go of the worry and bask in the joy of the little things.