Anxiety is a debilitating disorder that robs the sufferer of energy and leaves them mentally drained. It’s a soul destroyer. But if you’re like many others, you know how difficult it can be to cope with anxiety effectively. There is an array of anxiety treatments available: therapists, medication, meditation and relaxation exercises. However, what often gets lost in this maze of options is that there are many things we can do on our own to reduce anxiety and regain control of our life. Here are some tips that will help you combat anxiety starting from today!
Don’t judge yourself
A common trait among people who are constantly stressed is that they are constantly judging themselves. They are constantly trying to figure out what is wrong with them and why they are not good enough. If you’re letting your stress get the best of you, try this simple exercise: Ask yourself if you’re under a lot of pressure, then ask yourself if you’re getting enough sleep or exercise during the day. For most people, the response to these questions is an emphatic “yes.” But if you continue to judge yourself as inadequate, you’ll likely feel like your stress levels will never go down. The first step is to accept that you’re not evil; you’re just human.
Learn why you’re feeling anxious and what to do about it
Living with anxiety can be upsetting. You might be thinking, “Why should I have to live this way?” Or you know that feelings of anxiety are messing with your day-to-day life.
When we’re anxious, we often feel the need to do something — anything — to distract ourselves from our feelings. We usually don’t take the time to understand what’s causing our anxiety. As a result, we can jump from one anxiety-provoking situation to another — and find ourselves in a constant state of worry and dread. If you’re feeling anxious, it’s important to understand why your body is reacting as it does. It will help you learn how to cope with your anxiety and put it into perspective.
Focus on what you can change
Don’t get caught up in worrying about the past or fretting over things you can’t control. Instead, use the present moment to focus on what you can change.
The key is to take control of your life by understanding your strengths and weaknesses and identifying what you can do to make yourself more effective.
How many times have you heard the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff?” It seems like common sense: Focus on the problem at hand, not the minutiae that get in the way. But it’s not so easy to apply that advice to our lives — we often get caught up in worrying about what we can’t control and letting our minds run wild with worry.
Please take a look at someone who has mastered the art of living in the moment: They don’t waste time fretting over things they can’t change and focus their attention on what they can. They don’t react to every little thing that happens — they let their inner peace guide them through any situation without getting thrown off course by negative thoughts and emotions. They don’t get stuck paying attention to things they shouldn’t — they stay focused on their goals and objectives. They don’t procrastinate — they put one foot in front of the other and move forward despite any distractions that might be thrown at them. And lastly, they don’t dwell on things from their past — they move forward by looking toward their future with confidence and hope.
Dealing and coping techniques
There are two parts to anxiety: dealing with anxiety and coping with anxiety.
Dealing with anxiety means learning to control your thoughts and emotions. Some people learn to do this through meditation, others through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or hypnosis. Others learn to cope by working on their physical health — getting more exercise, eating healthier foods, taking supplements, and so on. These are all approaches that can help you control your anxiety symptoms.
Coping with anxiety is a whole other set of techniques that you can use to manage your life each day. When you feel anxious, it’s easy to keep going as usual. But if you can see what’s going on in real-time, you’ll be able to make better decisions about how you want to behave and what actions you want to take. You might even be able to stop yourself from making a bad decision.
Challenge your anxious thoughts
The next step to overcoming anxiety is to challenge your anxious thoughts. It is one of the most important skills you can learn in life because it’s how you learn to think more calmly, so you can handle stress more effectively.
What are anxious thoughts? Anxious thoughts are those things that keep us from being happy. They cause us to become anxious and unhappy, which creates a vicious cycle that makes anxiety worse.
Anxious thoughts don’t have to be true. They have to be believable enough for us to believe them. That means they have to be convincing. So what do we need to do? We need to take the time and effort to learn how to recognize and challenge them before controlling our thinking and behavior.
Don’t let the negative voices rule
You can choose to listen or not — but you can’t blame that on the voices. We all experience anxiety in one form or another. It’s a natural reaction to life, and we won’t always be able to avoid it. But when we let our anxiety rule us, we can lose all sense of control over our lives. There’s a huge difference between what you experience and what others experience when it comes to anxiety. Most people aren’t even aware of the negative voices in their heads, let alone how they affect them. They look at other people and think they’re the ones who are panicked day and night — but it’s the other people who are under attack by their bad thoughts.
When you’re anxious, even small physical movements like breathing can seem like too much work. So take deep breaths whenever they seem like they might be getting hard for you (if it’s hard, ask someone else to help). It may help take the edge off your anxiety before you know it. Talk out loud about what’s bugging you. If some people in your life give you a lot of stress, confronting them about what makes them angry will certainly help relieve some of that tension within yourself as well as helping them feel better too!
Practice yoga or meditation
The practice of yoga and meditation has long been used to relieve stress and anxiety. Still, there is a growing body of research that suggests yoga and mindfulness meditations, in particular, can have a significant impact on the brain’s physical structure.
Recent studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can reduce the risk of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and even suicide.
A study from Harvard University found that mindfulness meditation can help people cope with chronic pain without curtailing their overall activity levels. Participants experienced a 40 percent reduction in pain intensity after practicing mindfulness meditation for just four weeks.
Anxiety is a natural response; it’s how you handle your anxiety that determines whether or not it takes over your life. The most important thing you can do to help yourself cope with anxiety is to recognize it. You begin to understand what triggers your anxiety and how to handle it by paying attention to your reactions. As you practice mindful living, you can learn skills for dealing with your anxiety so that it’s no longer controlling you.
We hope that these tips will help you to cope with anxiety. Remember, it is okay to have anxious thoughts.
Read our series of mental health blogs
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