Living with anxiety is never easy. Millions of people fight anxiety on a daily basis, looking for ways to find any kind of relief. Anxiety control is a long-term process, is not something that happens overnight. However, there are ways to fight anxiety that you can put into practice at any time.
If you are suffering anxiety At this time or you often suffer from anxiety, it is possible that your thoughts direct you to the worst possible scenario, which feeds your feelings of anguish.
Fortunately, today there are many tools and techniques that you can use to control anxiety effectively. Then we share with you 8 healthy ways to deal with anxiety, here and now.
- 1 Breathe deeply
- 2 Accept that you are anxious
- 3 Be aware that your brain is playing tricks on you
- 4 Analyze your thoughts
- 5 Use meditation and visualization
- 6 Have a positive self-dialogue
- 7 Focus on the moment
- 8 Perform meaningful activities
The first thing you should do when you feel anxiety is to breathe deeply. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is a powerful anxiety reduction technique, since it activates the body's relaxation response. It helps the body to move from the fight or flight response of the sympathetic nervous system to the relaxation response of the parasympathetic nervous system.
Take air as slowly as possible, first fill the belly and then the chest, holding your breath while counting to 4, then exhale slowly counting again until 4, repeat this process several times.
Accept that you are anxious
Remember that anxiety is just a feeling, just like any other feeling. To remember that anxiety is simply an emotional reaction, is the first step to accept it.
Acceptance is essential, since trying to fight or eliminate anxiety often makes it worse. This is because we perpetuate the idea that our anxiety is intolerable.
But accepting our anxiety does not mean that we like it, nor that we should resign ourselves to a miserable existence.
It just means that we better accept reality as it is, and at this moment, reality includes anxiety. The conclusion we will reach is that the feeling of anxiety is not ideal, but it is not intolerable.
Be aware that your brain is playing tricks on you
Although it seems incredible, your brain can make you believe that you are dying of a heart attack, when you are actually having a panic attack.
A medical student once explained how she had seen people suffering from heart attacks go to the emergency department for help, and what she was going through seemed exactly the same. A kind and experienced psychiatrist approached him and, quietly, reminded him that he was not dying, that what was happening was that his brain was playing tricks on him. That helped her calm down. The psychiatrist stayed with her and they were together until the panic attack was over.
That someone accompanies you and stays by your side during these situations, helps eliminate shame, guilt, pressure and responsibility to fix the situation for yourself, as well as preventing you from judging yourself negatively.
Analyze your thoughts
When we are anxious, our brain invades a multitude of catastrophic thoughts, and these thoughts only increase our state of anguish.
For example, imagine that you have to give a talk in front of other people. In the previous moments thoughts of the type invade us: "Oh my God, I can't do this. I'm going to die of shame, it's going to be horrible!"
Remember, however, that this is not really a catastrophe, and in reality, no one has died for giving a talk.
Yes, you can be nervous and even make mistakes at some point. But the worst that will happen is that some people, many of whom you will never see again, make some laughs, and that the next day they have completely forgotten.
Ask yourself the following questions to challenge your thoughts:
- Is this concern realistic?
- Is this really likely to happen?
- If the worst possible outcome occurs, how bad would that be?
- Could I bear it?
- What could I do in that case?
- What could I do to prepare for what might happen?
Use meditation and visualization
Practice the meditation It has been regularly seen that it is very beneficial at many levels, reduces brain activity and promotes relaxation of the nervous system. If we manage to acquire practice in this process, we will be able to access calm states with greater ease when the first signs of anxiety invade us.
You can imagine lying on the sand of a beach, sitting at the edge of a river or walking through a park. Imagine the leaves that float down the river or the clouds pass through the sky. Imagine that your emotions, thoughts and feelings are clouds or leaves, and watch them fly away.
This is something very different from what people normally do. Usually, we assign emotions, thoughts and physical sensations certain qualities and judgments, such as good or bad, right or wrong. And this often amplifies anxiety. Totally change the pattern of our thoughts, can help us see things with a very different perspective and thus dramatize the situation.
Have a positive self-dialogue
Anxiety can produce a lot of thoughts and negative self-dialogue. Talk to yourself in positive, without despair or defeatism. For example, you could say: "This anxiety makes me feel bad, but I can use strategies to manage it."
Focus on the moment
When people are anxious, they tend to become obsessed with something that could happen in the future. Instead of that, pause, breathe and pay attention to what is happening right now, without going further. Even if something serious is happening, focusing on the present moment will improve your ability to handle the situation.
Do significant activities
When you feel anxiety, it is useful to focus your attention on a “significant activity”, or what is the same, an activity that is directed towards a specific objective. For example, ask yourself what you would be doing if you were not anxious.
If you wanted to go watch a movie, you see. If you were going to do the laundry, do it. Don't delay what you planned to do.
The worst thing you can do when anxiety invades you is to sit and let yourself be absorbed by obsessive thoughts about how you feel. Doing what you had planned, teaches you that it is possible to put yourself into action, that you are able to live your life even though you are anxious; and you will get sure positive results.
The conclusion of all this is that you must get to work on yourself. You don't feel like waiting for everything to happen without more, focusing solely on your suffering, because nothing good will come of that.