Anxiety can be deafening, and makes it difficult to truly focus on and engage with the world around you.
Unfortunately, it can also wreak havoc on your sex drive.
Worried thoughts completely close down any sense of desire- find out more about why this happens here.
Although anxiety can impact you in the moment during sex (here are some tips on how to reduce the mental chatter in this post) below are some more general ways to help ease anxiety in your life beyond the bedroom (including some ideas you might not have thought of!).
These tips quite possibly saved my life– what was once a flood of anxious thoughts that washed over me every minute of every day now feels more like a leaky tap.
I hope they bring as much comfort to you too- I’d love to hear in the comments if you used any of them?
Tried and tested tips to manage general anxiety
#1: Consider the impact of caffeine
Although coffee is for many of us our one true love, the cumulative impact of having a ton of caffeine in your system might mean your worried thoughts increase. Read more here about my personal story of cutting out caffeine (spoiler alert- it definitely helped!)
#2: Crack out your best pen and notepad…
A diary can really help with anxiety as it’s a space to write out worries, ideas and fears. You can write as much crazy stuff as you want- no-one else will see it- and then shut the book, turn a page, and crack on with living.
Consider starting each entry with 3 things you are grateful for that day to really ground yourself into the present and practise a positive, abundance mindset rather than one that always considers the deficits.
#3: Get Appy?
There are loads of apps that can help with anxiety that work similar to a journal, CBT counsellor and all round excellent listener. Try Youper for a great digital worry assistant!
#4: Zip up those trainers and get going
I really can’t emphasize this one enough- exercise is probably the most effective container for anxiety and yet it’s probably the hardest one to get motivation for on the list!
We need exercise because without natural predators, our fight or flight instinct has nowhere to go and so manifests itself as anxiety. So to trick your body into thinking you are safe and shake off this innate fear, humans need to exercise.
In my opinion you can’t get around it- its a fact of life. And I hate myself for saying it but it’s the painful truth.
So find something you think you’d like to get good at (running, roller blading, hiking) and get going. No excuses, just start- right now. Your sex drive and sanity will profusely thankyou for it.
#5: Stay present
The antidote to anxiety- which encourages your mind to live in the future- is bringing your mind back to the here and now and anchoring it in the present moment. And the best way to do this is using mindfulness.
I used to think what a crock of shit “being mindful” was, but after a few months of regular practise, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Read this post for more information on what mindfulness is and how to practise it, but safe to say mindfulness brings with it the ability to truly savour and enjoy every moment of life.
From someone who rushed to work, head down, brain already whizzing through my to-do list, I now hold my head up high and notice the spring blossoms, smile at the people passing and just bear witness to life. It is really beautiful, and by living in the present you keep anxiety at bay when it threatens to drag you into the imagined future.
#6: Speak your truth
Anxiety also thrives on shame, and the tales we tell ourselves can keep us isolated from those who love us. My advice- speak out!
Brene Brown (an amazing speaker and academic) suggests talking to others about the thoughts in our head by saying “I am telling myself a story that…”. You can sense-check your mad thoughts with others, and as Brene says- “shame cannot survive being spoken and met with empathy”. So go out and speak your truth now- don’t stay silent!
#7: Look up
What do planets and the moon have to do with your sex drive, right?
Yes OK this sounds weird, but something about looking at space can make you feel so comfortably inconsequential that your worries just melt away. You’re just one of millions of people that live on a rock that spins in space. NOTHING will matter in ten years, one hundred years…. so why worry?
If I feel anxious I try to look up and remind myself how small I am, and how little my worries really are. It’s a life saver for me and just helps me gain some much needed perspective when my thoughts are spiralling.
#8: Let anxiety be your teacher
When you experience anxiety it can feel like there’s something massively wrong with you.
Or to conquer anxiety it can be tempting to “own it” and see it as a part of you, in order to diminish it’s power.
However, one thing I do instead of the above is to see anxiety as a symptom rather than the truth.
So if I notice myself feeling anxious, I consider what is behind them. Usually the things I look to first are- have I had enough sleep? Have I eaten good, healthy food today? Could this be sugar/caffeine related? Am I hungover? What other physical reasons could there be for me feeling anxious?
For me this totally takes the weight out of worry and I’m able to distance myself from it, which is a massive positive!
How about you- does anxiety impact your libido too? How do you manage it?
P.S. Don’t be afraid to seek advice or help from specialists for anxiety if it’s affecting you badly.