It’s Mental Health Awareness Month. What better time to discuss how to cope with anxiety! For sure, buying or selling your home could be a trigger for most. Even the most mentally healthy individuals will likely experience some anxiety with such an important transaction.
According to mental health researchers, more than ever before, more adults are experiencing an increase in anxiety. It could be that researchers are studying it more or that more people are openly talking about their anxiety, either way, anxiety has become a more common emotion. That increased anxiety could be from one or more causes, like an increased awareness of negative societal issues, past childhood events, situational stresses, inflation, mental or physical problems–let’s face it, the list is a mile long. And, goodness knows that buying and/or selling a home, (one of the biggest financial and emotional decisions in our lives), has been causing anxiety since humans evolved from caves to man-made dwellings (and who knows, maybe cave selection was anxiety causing as well). With high demand, limited inventory, and ever-increasing interest rates, anxiety isn’t likely to diminish.
What is anxiety exactly? What does anxiety feel like?
Symptoms and signs include:
- An increase in heart rate
- Feeling scared, nervous, uneasy, restless
- Breathing hard and too quickly
- Crawling out of your skin with jitters
- Increased sweating
- Shaking and trembling
- Fatigue and weakness
- Difficulty focusing on now, continually being distracted
- Decrease in sleep because of worry
- Avoiding things that need done because it triggers anxiety
- Stomach problems
Fortunately, there are some strategies you can try when you start to feel anxiety whether it is while you are buying a home or worrying about the 20 other things going on in your life.
Doing physical activities are great for relieving the signs and symptoms of anxiety. Walking, yoga, and stretching will help you slow down and relax so that you can look at that offer or the selling agreement with a fresh and relaxed state of mind. Try going for a run, doing some jumping jacks, or just parking your car at the end of the lot. You might even put in your airpods and jump up and dance (chair dance if you have to) before you go into the closing of your new dream home.
If you can get outdoors in nature when you are feeling anxious and pondering your real estate choices, you can get some true relief from anxiety. The fresh air, green space, and solace act as an elixir for anxiety.
The old stand-by, “just breathe” may be cliche, but if you can force yourself to do it, it actually works. Focusing on your breath is the beginning. Meditation is one of the best ways to get relief from those overwhelming emotions. Like the 3-3-3 method, it forces you to be present and to focus on your inner self. By breathing and focusing on that breath in a quiet space, you can slow down the rampant thoughts and even your heart rate and cortisol levels. Even if you just go to your car after a number of showings and sit with your eyes closed for five minutes, you will significantly slow down those anxious thoughts and tamper those jittery feelings which allows you to reconnect with the present moment. You might even try starting with a mantra of “peace” on the inhale, and “joy” on the exhale.
Try a grounding technique. For example, go in the backyard of your new potential home and take off your shoes and touch the ground (the grass is the best). Note all of your toes and all parts of your feet touching the earth all at once. Focus on that connection. After a few minutes, you will start to relax and get a fresh perspective on whether this is the home for you.
3-3-3 or 5-4-3-2-1 methods
Both of these coping strategies are about connecting with the present moment. If you are looking at homes and all you can focus on is that pit in your stomach, or you feel like your thoughts are running rampant and your heart is palpitating, try the 3-3-3 method. Look around you and pick out three objects that you see and label them, then identify three sounds you hear, and finally, focus on three of your body parts and how they feel. This strategy helps many people get control of their thoughts and makes them feel present and safe when they are feeling overwhelmed.
Give the 5-4-3-2-1 method a try:
- Identify five things you can see around you.
- Pick out four things you could touch and note how they feel.
- Think about three things you can hear right now and identify them.
- Choose two things you can smell.
- FInally, select something you could and would like to taste right now.
Distraction is one of the ways that you can deal with anxiety. Watching a funny video, talking to a friend, scrolling through your favorite real estate app or reading a book are all great ways to distract yourself when you are overwhelmed with nervous feelings. Be careful though! Before you know it, you could be spending most of your day trying to distract yourself from your anxiety instead of being truly present and truly living.
Along with coping with your anxiety, you should try to find what is triggering the events. Write yourself a note everytime it happens in order to find a pattern. Look for ways to avoid those triggers. If they can’t be avoided, consciously think about what it is that causes you anxiety about that situation, and then rationalize through how you can minimize those feelings. For example, if you are anxious about a house payment, sit down and look at your budget again and make sure you have factored in all of the costs and expenses you will have. If you are unsure about selling, make a list of pros and cons. You may just find that you have the answers and nothing to actually worry about.
Seek professional help
Everyone could use a therapist from time to time. If you are experiencing high levels of anxiety on a regular basis, it might be a good idea to seek professional help. BetterHelp and Talkspace are good online options. They allow you to switch therapists until you find one that is a good fit. You can text him/her anytime and have your video appointments from the comfort of your own home.
Choose an awesome agent
If you have an awesome agent, then your real estate transaction will go much more smoothly and they will help you navigate any anxiety causing bumps. An agent with market experience, real estate expertise, and excellent negotiation skills will help keep your anxiety to a minimum. Having a good agent who is responsive and who keeps you in the loop will also help to eliminate many of the toxic anxiety-causing thoughts that can develop when you are trying to decide which offer to take or determining what your offer should be.
The agents at 616 REALTY are experienced, knowledgeable, and have all the resources they need to help you have a wonderful real estate experience. Contact them today and get connected with an agent that will not only help you achieve your real estate goals but who will help you keep your anxiety to a minimum.