Quick Tips for Coping with Anxiety
Anxiety is one of the most common psychological disorders and it also happens to be one of the most detrimental. Anxiety causes emotional, mental, and physical stress on the people it affects. Of course, everyone experiences anxiety to some degree – it doesn’t mean you have a diagnosis like Generalized Anxiety Disorder or Social Anxiety. So, whether you have a chronic issue or have just had moments of anxiety in your life, here are some helpful tips to coping with anxiety when it comes up.
Learning some breathing techniques can be extremely helpful in regulating the physical effects of anxiety on the body. Deep slow breathes (6 count in and 8 count out) not only changes how your body is functioning but it also distracts the mind a bit to focusing on breath and away from the anxious thoughts.
2. Acceptance/Remember that it’s temporary
Accept that you are having an anxiety attack. The more you try to think your way out of it the more anxious you can become. Embracing the moment for what it is and reminding yourself that this will not last forever will be calming. Our bodies cannot physically stay in this state for too long – eventually we will exhaust and calm down.
3. Focus on right now – avoid future projection
Stay in the present moment as much as possible – the previous 2 tips will help with this. Avoid thoughts around the future and what may/could happen as these are anxiety inducing.
4. Positive self-talk
This is somewhat self-explanatory. Talk to yourself – out loud if you want! And say positive things, for example: “I am okay” “I am strong” “I am capable of coping with this.”
5. Question yourself
Using questioning thoughts can help combat the anxiety. If we think about the evolution of anxiety and fear – it was once (and still is) a very important reaction to something threatening (i.e. caveman threatened by an animal that could injure them). It’s how we learned to avoid potentially harmful or life threatening circumstances. However, with the advancements of our society – anxiety became channeled towards things that are not necessarily threatening to us (from anxiety in social settings to anxiety of public speaking). So, it’s important to question yourself when you are experiencing anxiety. For example: “Is this worry realistic?” “Is my worry likely to happen?” “If the worst possible outcome were to happen, what would be so bad about it?”
Using these strategies can be life changing when dealing with anxiety and learning to cope. You cannot always control what you’re going to feel anxious about or when an anxiety attack comes on – however, you can do something about it when you feel that way. Not allowing anxiety to prevent you from new experiences is an opportunity for personal growth.