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Struggling with worry? These easy coping strategies will help you break free from negative thoughts

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“Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase! It means no worries for the rest of your days!” This childhood classic shines as a beacon of hope in our present environment. Because most of us are very far away from a problem-free situation. In fact, the uncertainties of the pandemic, the risk of infection, the endless wait for vaccinations – have all added-up to create a lot of extra worries for us.

Even if you’ve been living safely in the best PG in Bangalore, there are times when negative thoughts get the better of you. And when you live on your own, you don’t even have others to pull you out of a spiral. Yes, having a friendly roommate or a cheerful fellow paying guest can be a big support, but for many of us this is a time when we are feeling terribly overwhelmed.

But being worried and anxious all the time doesn’t help you prevent anything. It only leads to you feeling sick. So, if you find yourself unable to sleep due to these uncertainties and worrisome thoughts, how can you break the cycle? We’ve got some coping strategies for you to free yourself from the worry trap.

Simplify

Most of the time, you could be worried about things that are out of your control like a work appraisal or the grade you’ll get for an assignment. That lack of autonomy is what drives you to feel anxious, especially if the outcome is important to you. If the basis of your worry is something that you can’t control, you need to simplify your thought patterns. Make a list of five to ten things that are in your control and that you can do. Then make your way through that list until you feel less anxious. Even if these tasks are small and routine like doing the laundry or watering your plants, being able to accomplish something in your control will alleviate some of the stress you’re feeling and help you distract yourself from your worry.

Take a walk

Sometimes your worries can be taking over your mind so much that you feel physically affected. You could develop a headache or feel stomach pain due to the anxiety you’re feeling. It’s important to remember that your physical and mental health are connected and that you can lessen your mental burden by moving your body. Going out for a walk or a run can be a good way to take your mind off whatever is bothering you. You’ll be able to physically shake off the tension, and being outdoors will also help you breathe in fresh air and clear your mind.

Write it out

If you’re not sure what exactly you’re worried about but are feeling tense and anxious anyway, you should try writing down your feelings. Writing is an action that will push you to distil your feelings into words and make you reflect on the source of your worry. Identifying that will be your first step towards feeling better. Writing your thoughts can also be a cathartic exercise that helps you express your inner turmoil and therefore escape it. If you want to symbolically free yourself from your worries as well, you could tear up or burn the paper after you’ve finished writing.

Engage with the present

Think about the nature of your worries. Most of the time, you’re thinking and rethinking about something in the past or the future. Thoughts like ‘I should have done something else’ about past mistakes or ‘What if I can’t do it?’ about future opportunities are probably the base to your worries. And if you’re engaged in a mundane task that leaves your mind free to spiral, you’re only feeding your anxiety. Instead, take some time to do something that will ground you in the present. A quick yoga routine, reading a book, or even watching a film will give you something to occupy yourself with in the present moment and not let you fall into usual worry patterns.

Ask for help

If you’re struggling with too many negative thoughts in your PG in BTM 2nd stage and even the coping strategies above don’t seem to distract you, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to friends and family to share your thoughts and they might be able to support you with your struggle. And if you find you’re unable to cope with your thoughts or if your anxiety is impacting your regular life, please do reach out to a mental health professional for additional support. There’s no shame in asking for help, and you deserve to take the steps you need to feel your best.

We hope that these simple coping strategies will help you break free from the cycle of worry and negative thoughts. Remember that you are more than your worries and prioritise your mental health. So, the next time you feel the anxiety creeping in, take a deep breath and try one of these steps to help yourself feel better.

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