Motherhood can be a whirlwind. From the countless demands on your time and energy to navigating daily juggling acts, it’s easy to feel like you’re constantly in motion.
The Power of Habits
Habits are a powerful force in our lives, shaping our daily patterns. Research tells us that over 95% of what we do each day is unconscious – it’s just our conditioning. For instance, you don’t need to remind yourself to brush your teeth; it’s become a habit as part of your morning routine.
Controlling the Controllables
Before we dive into these four habits to reduce anxiety, remember this: life is unpredictable, and there are stressors we can’t control. But there are also aspects of our lives that we have more influence over than we might realize. These are the areas where small, consistent changes can lead to significant improvements over time.
Think of it as the “1% principle” from James Clear’s Atomic Habits. By making small, manageable adjustments, you can see profound changes down the road. It’s like planting seeds that grow into sturdy trees.
For example, if you’re struggling with sleep due to late-night phone scrolling, start by going to bed just one minute earlier each day. Over time, you’ll find yourself drifting off to sleep at a more reasonable hour. The same goes for your morning routine – set your alarm one minute earlier each day and watch how it adds up over a month.
Here are four simple habits to reduce anxiety:
1. Slowing Down
Your healing journey starts with slowing down, not pushing harder. It’s essential to recognize that the urge to “power through” is often a sign of dysregulation. When anxiety strikes, soften. Rest, say no, and set boundaries.
2. Be Discerning About What You Consume
It’s not just about food; it’s about what you let into your life. Pay attention to how what you consume through your ears and eyes affects your nervous system. After scrolling through social media, meeting an old friend, or watching the news, ask yourself if your anxiety has improved or worsened. Start noticing what uplifts or drains you.
3. Move Your Body
Movement is a powerful tool to release stored energy, which is what anxiety often represents. The key is to move in a way that supports your body. High-intensity workouts might not always be the answer, especially when you’re already feeling stressed. Tune in to what your body needs. Just commit to at least 10 minutes of movement each day, and you’ll notice a difference in your nervous system’s state.
4. Practice Emotional Hygiene
Emotions are energy, and holding them in can strain your nervous system. Become aware of your emotions as they arise. Don’t suppress them; instead, create a safe space to release them. Whether it’s stomping your feet, dancing out your frustration, or letting out a good cry, give yourself permission to express your emotions.
By nurturing these habits, you’re expanding your window of tolerance, making it easier to handle life’s challenges without succumbing to anxiety. Small steps, big impact! Start today, and watch your inner calm grow.
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