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How to Decrease Summer Anxiety

Wellness

Let’s get one thing straight. It is summertime right now and as teens, we tend to spend a lot of time at home. It’s so easy to get into our own heads with all this free time. This can lead to overthinking, focusing on the wrong things, and anxiety.

Anxiety can sprout from overthinking something and making it into a bigger problem than it really is. Sometimes our brains get bored and that’s what they do, they think. Mine has done that a lot this summer, and luckily, I’ve found a way to stop it from controlling my life.

Anxiety isn’t easy, so these things will take practice, but it is possible to heal. Here are some ways to decrease or even get rid of these anxieties.

Act On It

If you overthink things that you want to do, but your overthinking stops you from doing said things, I feel you.

It can be extremely difficult to get out of your head when it feels like that’s all you know. For instance, if you wanted to go to the gym, but you were nervous about being around a bunch of people and were scared that they would judge you, so you didn’t go for that reason. That would be a good example of thinking about what you want to do but not doing it.

What I just described was the exact situation I was in for two weeks. I didn’t dwell on it a lot and I’d be ok, I had just never gone by myself before.

Worry is control, and I wanted to control the situation so badly so everything would turn out right that I kept thinking about it and preparing myself before I even got there. It was essentially useless and the thinking did nothing for me. It was a waste of time.

So yesterday, I finally went to the gym by myself and everything was great! The only thing that went wrong was that I forgot my water bottle, but that was on me and I could control that.

Acting on what you want to do instead of just thinking about it is the way to go. You will never be able to think yourself into doing something. In fact, you’ll most likely think yourself out of it if anything.

Just thinking about doing something makes things worse. I’m sure whatever you are thinking about doing will turn out great! You have to remember that all you can control is yourself and to let go of the rest. I understand how hard it can be to do these things though, especially if you don't have the energy to act on what you want to do. That is another hefty obstacle. If you feel like your energy is too low to act, I suggest taking a day to love and care for yourself genuinely and with loving intent.

It's true that the more you act on things, the more confident you’ll become, and soon, it’ll be nothing to you.

Don’t think, act!

Inner Work

If the anxiety you experience is trauma-based, I recommend seeing a therapist and talking it out in therapy. Therapy has been a tremendous help for me and it introduces you to perspectives that you would never have thought of beforehand.

It can bring clarity and a sense of not being so alone in your misery. It is relieving to talk about something and then realize that maybe it isn’t a big deal after all or realize that you are lovable and worthy as you are.

Whatever it may be, therapy is a good decision. If that is something you don’t want to do right now, try meditating.

Meditating helps keep us in the present moment, makes us more aware of thoughts and feelings, makes us more aware of our surroundings, and allows us to shift our focus onto what really matters. It helps to change our perspective and calms down the brain.

By meditating, we can easily focus on ourselves and the important things in life instead of all of our silly worries. Some of them are silly while others are more serious, so take the time to evaluate that as well.

I don’t know a lot about this, but I have heard that yoga can help a lot with anxiety. It gets your body moving and in a calm manner. Personally, I like to stretch and these bodily movements seem to help me a lot.

Something that can go hand-in-hand with meditating is deep breathing exercises. Deep breathing slows the mind down, so you don't think as rapidly. Focusing on the breath will take the focus off of thoughts and feelings. While doing so, you can count the in and out breaths to help keep this focus. Observing thoughts and feelings is also a good idea while doing so.

Another great way to keep this mindfulness is by journaling. Being aware of your thoughts and feelings so much that you can write them down and sort them out is a great way to observe them. Observing thoughts and feelings is crucial to help them stay temporary and not take over your life.

Repeating affirmations can also convince you that you are a loved and amazing human being that deserves the best things in life and you can convince yourself that the thoughts and feelings you are experiencing are not telling the truth.

The last thing I recommend doing is writing out what you are grateful for. Implementing gratitude into your life will be one of the best things you do to lower anxiety levels. It helps you focus on what you have right now, stay present, and love yourself more.

Expressing gratitude can help you stay in the present moment instead of your head.

Lifestyle

Living a healthy lifestyle can alleviate anxiety. I suggest paying attention to what you eat and how much water you drink. Depending on your personal needs, everyone needs to take in a certain amount of water a day.

This goes for food as well. When you put good things into your body, your body will repay you. You will feel less anxious and more energized, and if you feel better about eating healthily, you probably feel more confident too.

Sleeping enough will contribute to how you feel too. I believe that getting enough sleep dictates how tired or energized you feel throughout the day. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep as a teenager is recommended, but it depends on what your body’s personal needs are. Some people are fine with sleeping for 7 hours a night, while others might need 10 hours to feel awake during the day.

Sleep is essential to living a healthy life and having a set routine before bed can also help you get to bed at a good time.

Staying active is so important to feeling good. Again, like everything on this list, some people don’t need as much exercise as others to feel good, but for me, I need a lot. Exercising has reduced my anxiety a lot and has also made me feel more confident and happy with my life. I love the feeling of moving my body and knowing that I am doing something good for myself.

Whether it’s going to the gym, running, walking, or playing a sport, exercising is a great way to keep your life moving in the right direction by keeping yourself moving in a good direction physically.

Distractions

Sometimes, if your anxiety is not something you can get rid of by indulging in gratitude or talking yourself out of it, it is a good idea to get moving and let go of the thoughts altogether.

I know that having anxiety can create hesitation, stagnancy, and make you feel like you don’t want to do anything. It sucks all the energy out of you, leaving you tired or even restless in some cases.

I have found that distracting yourself from these thoughts and worries can help you let go of them and forget them.

Some distractions that I use to forget my anxieties and have fun with life again are:

  • Hanging out with friends or family
  • Going shopping
  • Working out
  • Going for a walk
  • Go outside
  • Playing video games
  • Listening to music and dancing
  • Stretching
  • Enjoying a hobby
  • Go for a drive
  • Call someone
  • Bake or cook food
  • Watch a movie or TV
  • Write
  • Play an instrument
  • Draw
  • Go swimming
  • Read

There are so many things to do instead of sitting and thinking about nonsense that will ruin your day or if it lasts long enough, your life. So go out and do something fun for yourself! You deserve it!

As someone with anxiety, I understand that it is really hard to shift into a different mood right away. It’s hard to feel good when your thoughts and feelings are bogging you down to the core. I’ve been there so many times and recently got out of a slump.

Luckily, when our bodies are moving and we are constant in our day-to-day lives feeling confident and loved, there is a simple cure that lies beneath it. It is the secret ingredient to a calm and balanced life.

Morgan Lahm
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Morgan is a high school senior from Nebraska with an undeniable love for writing and mostly writes poetry, short stories, and articles. While she is not writing, she plays the trumpet, works out, runs, and reads. She hopes to help open minds and aspires to impact people with her writing and change the lives of all that need it.