How to Decrease Anxiety
Anxiety is a self-fulfilling prophesy much of the time. You start feeling anxious about something and worry about how it’s going to turn out. Your thoughts fixate on that one thing, often with a negative, worst case scenario ending up as the end result. Before you know it, you are all wound up and can’t escape from your anxiety.
When you’re experiencing anxiety, it’s hard to think clearly. This week, we’re going to talk about ways to deal appropriately with anxiety so that you can move forward instead of feeling trapped under its weight. Remember that you’re not in control of what happens to you, but you are responsible for how you respond to it. Your response can either make things worse or you can work towards overcoming your anxiety and moving forward.
Tips For Dealing With Anxiety
- Write down the telltales. Just as a small piece of yarn is often tied to the shroud of a sail boat to tell which way the wind is blowing, knowing the signs that indicate the upswelling of anxiety will help you to prevent it from becoming full blown. For some people, it’s certain social situations or being in front of a group. For others, it may not be a predictable event. Common telltale signs include increased heartbeat, sweaty palms, and other physical signs.
- Step away from the situation and take a deep breath. Some people like to use a rubber band around their wrist and to lightly snap it as a physical cue to break from their anxiety. Others find that a quick 5-minute meditation session or prayer works great for reducing their anxiety.
- Find a mantra and say it. Mantras are used by professional athletes around the world because it helps them to focus on something positive rather than the challenge which they are facing. Saying it out loud, although it may feel silly at first, can help your brain to focus on the positive rather than the negative. Combine saying your mantra with snapping a rubber band around your wrist to prevent the downward spiral.
- Record the initial thoughts which your anxiety produces in a journal. This will give you a sense of ownership over your experience and will help you to move past them, as writing things down helps the brain to process. On the next page, review your anxious thoughts and– when you’re thinking clearly– decide whether the thoughts were factual or fabricated. Over time, as you practice this journaling technique, your brain will automatically start choosing to lean towards believing in what is factual, which is often the non-anxious thoughts.
- Talk to your loved ones. Having at least one person in whom you can confide helps decrease stress and anxiety. We realize that some families and couples don’t always talk about their feelings and it’s an easy topic to avoid. If this isn’t a regular practice for you already, begin by reviewing the day in terms of one thing that was stressful and something positive that happened as well.
If you’re dealing with anxiety, working at it, and feel like you need more help, feel free to give us a call. We have many types of mental health professionals under one roof and offer a variety of services ranging from counseling to mental health assessment and treatment.