Recently, Mindful.org published a great article on 11 ways to Calm your anxious mind.
The suggestions the authors provide are quite powerful and can apply to women with high-risk pregnancies even if you have limited activity restrictions or are on bed rest.
Anxiety makes us believe everything is an emergency.
The tricky thing is that when you have a complicated pregnancy, you are at higher risk for experiencing an actual emergency. So your anxiety is completely valid and rooted in reality to an extent.
However, even when you're in a crisis situation like a high-risk pregnancy your mind tricks you into believing that every little thing as an emergency when it was actually isn't.
That’s just how anxiety works.
The downside is that high anxiety creates significant stress for you and your baby which can be an added risk factor for preterm birth. (Tweet that!)
In the Perinatal Wellness Toolbox I share a really powerful guided audio exercise that can help you distinguish between actual emergency and anxiety. I used this exercise even during my pregnancy to help me figure out when my gut was talking to me or if it was just anxiety trying to convince me something was wrong.
What you need to remember about anxiety
When you're feeling anxious it's so important to recognize the thoughts that are feeding into it and just adding fuel to the fire.
Recognizing your triggers, as the authors suggest, is the first step in managing your anxiety before it gets out of control.
Don’t create something additional to be anxious about when you already have so many worries by having a complicated pregnancy.
Though anxiety makes you feel completely helpless, learning how your thoughts can influence your mood can help you regain control, even in a situation like a complicated pregnancy where you otherwise don't have a lot of control.
It’s also crucial to spend some time working on knowing what your anxiety triggers are.
Sometimes your triggers will obvious.
You might recognize your anxiety goes up when you’re in the waiting room of your doctor’s office, or when you’re waiting for test results. Many moms have shared with me that their anxiety soars when they're getting ready to go to bed when everything gets quiet and their left alone with their thoughts.
Sometimes the anxiety triggers can be we subtle. (Tweet that!)
Triggers can be a certain smell or a particular song. They could be watching the sun set knowing your clinic is closed for the day. Triggers could also be watching movies or TV shows where a character is pregnant.
The more you know about what triggers your anxiety the more you can do to prevent it from spiraling out of control.
This is especially helpful for managing your anxiety through your entire pregnancy and delivery no matter what ups and downs you may face. (Tweet that!)
Two more tips to quiet your anxious mind
In addition to the 11 that the authors at Mindful.org have shared, here are two more that can help you for those moments that your mind is racing.
For the moments when you're really panicking and things feel really scary and out of control, hold a piece of ice. It's physically impossible to feel anxious and be stuck in that cycle of “what if…?” when you're holding something so cold.
The other is to acknowledge and cope with the true, underlying concern.
When we worry it's usually a mask for a much stronger and very different underlying emotion that we aren’t recognizing.
Feeling worried is a lot easier than feeling scared or guilty or sad. (Tweet that!)
Unfortunately worrying doesn't actually accomplish anything other than feeding into your anxiety. Working through the true emotion that sits right under the worry is truly the best way to find some peace and calm while you’re fighting for your baby.
When you feel anxious how do you cope? What works well for you? And what have you tried that hasn't worked well at all? Leave a comment below I would love to hear from you!