Learning how to deal with anxiety is perhaps one of the hardest things to do. When thoughts of fear and worry fill your mind, it’s hard not to take the bait.
You find yourself in a cycle of emotional pain and anxiety and can’t seem to stop this thinking pattern. It’s not unusual to start thinking of worst-case scenarios and what will go wrong long before it happens.
Feelings of anxiety are normal, especially after a traumatic or stressful experience. But you shouldn’t let these feelings take over your life. You can seek online therapy or practice other self-help strategies.
Anxiety can easily lead to depression and other stress-related conditions. For this reason, it’s crucial to know how to deal effectively.
We take a closer look at what anxiety is and provide you effective tips on how to cope. Let’s dive right in.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety can be described as a combination of uneasy feelings. When you’re anxious, you feel scared, worried, and afraid for yourself or others.
Anxiety is often triggered by things that have happened or yet to happen. For instance, you may be anxious about starting a new job or getting your medical reports back.
You may also be anxious about what’s going on in your mind. For instance, if you believe you’re not equipped to give successful presentations, you may feel anxious every time you have to do it.
Some of the symptoms of anxiety include:
- Body parts shaking
- Feeling sick
- Over-active imagination
- Brain Fog
- Inability to concentrate
- For some people, feelings of anxiety are also accompanied by shame and loneliness.
How to Deal with Anxiety Without Medication?
When you’re dealing with anxious thoughts, it’s not unusual to feel powerless and alone. People who’ve experienced trauma feel even worse because they know how it feels to be on the receiving end of a bad situation.
You’re not alone. The good news is that you can control your anxiety and feel better in the short and long term. The following tips will come in handy.
Take Control of Your Thoughts
Negative thoughts and self-sabotaging behavior often precede anxious thoughts. For instance, if you’re about to give a speech and you’re not confident, you may start psyching yourself out. You can think you’ll embarrass yourself or bore everyone to death.
When this happens, note down all your negative thoughts and contradict them. Instead of, “I will blow this speech and embarrass myself,” think, “I did a good job on this speech, and everyone is going to love it.
Practice positive-thinking until your anxiety wears off.
Engage in Breathing Exercises
When you’re in a state of anxiety, your breathing pattern changes. You start breathing shallowly from your chest instead of from your belly. When the anxious thoughts kick in, take a minute to do some breathing exercises.
Place one hand on your heart and the other on your belly and breathe deeply in and out. Pay attention to the movements and focus on them. Slowly, your anxiety will go away.
Embrace Your Feelings
Most people believe that the easiest way on how to stop anxiety thoughts is to ignore them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The more you ignore your anxiety, the worse it can get because you’re not dealing with it.
As hard as it may be to deal with the emotions, embrace them. Cry and yell if you need to. Doing so makes it easier to move on from what’s triggering the negative thoughts.
Be Kind to Yourself
Why am I so fragile? Why can’t I get over this?
When you’re dealing with anxiety, and it doesn’t seem to go away, you can get into a self-loathing and criticizing mindset. You’ll wonder why you can’t feel better and why you’re built the way you are.
Such thoughts only make matters worse. Be kind to yourself. Encourage yourself and look forward to days when things get better, and you overcome the challenges you’re facing.
Shift Your Focus
Anxiety is often triggered by certain things. You may be doing well until a thought pops up in your mind and sends you on an anxious spiral.
Research has shown that shifting your focus can improve your mood and lessen anxiety. Something as simple as turning up the music or focusing on something that gives you joy will suffice.
Long-Term Strategies for Dealing with Anxiety
It’s not enough to have quick anxiety-relieving strategies. If you suffer from anxiety disorders like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), it’s crucial to have long-term strategies to deal with anxiety.
Here are long-term strategies on how to deal with anxiety without medication.
Exercise helps relieve anxious thoughts by distracting you. During exercise, you also release feel-good hormones such as endorphins, which improve your mood.
Therefore, if you’re constantly battling anxiety, it may be a good idea to start engaging in an exercise you enjoy.
Schedule Your Worry Time
When you’re going through a rough time, worrying is inevitable. However, you shouldn’t let it take over your day to the point that you can’t do anything. Experts suggest scheduling time to worry.
Set 30 minutes a day where you go over what’s troubling you and ways you can cope. Contradict imaginary situations and fear and come up with ways to get better.
Focus on What You Can Control
To overcome anxiety, it’s also crucial to focus on what you can control in the situation. In most cases, anxiety stems from imaginary situations that are yet to happen. For instance, you may worry about getting sick and not being able to handle it.
Shift your focus to what you can do. Exercise more, see your doctor regularly, and change your lifestyle. The more you focus on what’s in your control, the more power you take from your anxious thoughts.
Seek Professional Help
You should also not be ashamed to seek professional help when you’re dealing with anxiety. Online therapy is a perfect option.
A professional is better equipped to help you manage your feelings. Besides, they can offer you coping mechanisms and help you uncover underlying issues leading to your anxiety.
Dealing with Anxiety During Lockdown and Difficult Times
At the moment, most people are faced with the battle of how to deal with anxiety during COVID-19. It’s understandable.
The pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainties and resulted in numerous losses. It’s normal to worry when you don’t know what will happen next or whether you’ll be affected.
To deal with anxiety about the pandemic:
- Limit your exposure to information: Staying informed is okay, but too much information will only result in feelings of panic.
- Prioritize self-care: Eat healthy, exercise, and uphold the safety precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones.
- Focus on what you can control: Let go of the complex issue you have no control over and focus on what’s in your control.
- Rely on your support system: Lean on those closest to you and share your fears and worries to ease the burden.
Dealing with anxiety can be a lot like pulling teeth. When you think you have a handle on it, another panic-inducing thought pops up.
But you’re not powerless. Use the tips in this article to take charge of your mind and thoughts.
And remember, it’s always a good idea to seek professional help. For example, Calmerry offers exceptional online therapy you can rely on.
Do you have your own coping strategies?