Create More Intention in Your Life
One thing that tremendously helps anxiety symptoms is creating intention in your day. One of the best ways to get more intentional with your life is to create a morning and night routine. I wrote another blog post about routines, and you should definitely check that one out! In this post, I want to speak a little more about the intentionality you create when having routines. A lot of us, and I used to do this, just wake up and experience life on a whim. Whatever mood you are in that day dictates your decisions. If anything doesn’t go your way you are doomed to have a bad day the rest of the day, whatever news you hear impacts what you think and feel, and circumstances guide your thoughts and feelings. You spend your life mentally bopping around like an eternal whack-a-mole game.
There is a way to break that cycle and take control of how you feel. Taking control of the decisions you make, what you think about, and your mood gives you the ability to experience certitude in a life that is so uncertain. By creating intention in your life, I believe you access freedom and peace that living on a whim doesn’t allow.
For many of my clients, anxiety and rumination are a major barrier to feeling in control of their lives. At the core of anxiety is a desire to control amidst feeling completely out of control, especially with the things that are totally outside of our control. I really believe that creating more intention in your life through routines, having a plan of action for what skills you will use when you feel anxious or depressed, planning your day and your week, is a really good way to divert the urge to control what is out of our control. Ruminating won’t make the anxiety go away, no matter how much it feels like it will help in the moment. But doing what you can to create intention and control what you do have control of in your life will.
One way to create more intention in your life is to set goals. You can set daily goals, weekly goals, monthly goals, yearly goals, etc. Take time to really think about what you want in your life. What will it take to meet those goals? What are the behaviors you can add to each day to help attain those goals. Add things around your home to help you remember and easily attain those goals. Create a way to track your behaviors so you can visually see the progress you are making.
An example could be “I want to eat healthier.” Creating intention would be planning what you will eat throughout the week, maybe doing some meal prep, and always having healthy snacks easy to see and grab. Maybe you want to read more, so you could set a goal of reading 30 minutes a day and stick to it no matter what.
Take some time to think about what kind of person you really want to be and create structure that supports that vision. It’s hard for the first few days, or maybe the first week or so, but once you get into the routine it becomes a habit. Eventually you will crave those habits, and the healthy habits begin to replace the unhealthy habits (like rumination). Give yourself grace and patience, and don’t expect perfection. Remember each day is a new day and a new opportunity to create the life you want.