What’s the Best way to deal with Anxiety?
Anxiety is the most common human problem. It appears as invasive negative thoughts, physical symptoms (stomache ache, headache, muscle tension), and intense emotions (fear). It can range from slight worry to a debilitating panic disorder, and it influences our behaviours by encouraging us to avoid places, things, people, conversations or emotions. It keeps us from living our best life.
Anxiety is fear that is disproportionate to the circumstance. Anxiety tries to convince us that terrible things are likely to happen, and that when these terrible things happen we won’t be able to cope or recover. Both these things are lies…usually completely untrue…and we know it, but it’s difficult to resist the tempting whispers of anxiety.
Some people are more prone to anxiety than others. I find that some very intelligent folks have brains that want to latch onto things quickly, and worry or anxious thoughts are right there handy for the grabbing. Our brains like to be active. Life doesn’t like a vacuum, and in the absence of positive thoughts, negative ones will gladly fill that gap.
I have anxiety and you probably do too. Over the years I have found lots of things that can effectively treat this issue. I share them with you.
- How you feel is determined by what you think…what you say to yourself. You can develop the very vital skills of thought refutation. Imagine you are a lawyer in a courtroom whose job it is to refute or disprove the careless claims of anxiety. What is the evidence that supports the fact that the bad thing is not likely to happen, or that, if it does, you do have the skills to be able to cope with it? If you write down your worst thoughts, which ones do you know aren’t true right off the bat?
- Breathe slow and deep. Your slow breathing can trick your mind into thinking your body is relaxed. Acting as if you are relaxed can actually help. It also helps to feel in control of your breathing. Square breathing is breathing in for a count of 4, hold for 4, out for 4, hold for 4. Focus on the breath instead of the anxiety.
- Accept the anxiety, notice it, and ride the panic like a wave. If you are facing the tidal wave, you’ll get knocked over. You can ride it like a surfer. If you clench your jaw and fight the feeling, it can build. It’s not a war. It’s only a thought or a feeling…it’s a normal anxious thought that is not necessary or useful to you right now. It will be over soon, it won’t kill you…embrace the temporary feeling and then let it go.
- Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. SO important for anyone with anxiety or depression. Push your body. Release toxins. It’s just as effective as an antidepressant!
- Avoid or reduce your alcohol intake. It treats the moment, but not the problem.
- Avoid crap food and sugar. lol… I eat at McDonalds about once a year but it happened to be last night! Also just ate a chocolate and must pledge to not store them in my handy desk drawer…lol
- Learn to acknowledge and tolerate emotions. Often the fear is about what we might feel in a certain situation. Many of my blogs are about this idea…learn to feel stuff as it happens and know that it’s okay…you will survive it.
- Remind yourself about past positive outcomes.
- Ask yourself what’s the worst that could happen? And what would I do then? And if I did that, what’s the worst thing that could happen? And what would I do then? And if I did that…etc.
- 5-4-3-2-1 This is a grounding technique. Say outloud 5 things you see, 5 things you hear, 5 things you feel on your body. Then say outloud 4 things you see, 4 things you hear, etc…all the way down to 1. By that time you will be more grounded in the present, rather than the past or future.
- See a qualified therapist. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a proven effective treatment. A therapist can help you understand the specific type of depression or anxiety you have and help you use these ideas and more to manage it.
Ask me a question! I will answer it in private or on the blog if you are okay with that.