Anxiety is that feeling of excess worry, fear and unease around things that are about to happen, or which we believe might happen. Having anxiety can feel different to everyone because our bodies might perceive a situation, and react to it, in a way that is entirely different to someone else. But everyone will experience anxiety at some point in their lives because it’s a natural human response to stress, and perceived danger, or threat.
1. Get to know your anxiety
Writing emotions down, and tuning in to anxiety triggers in this way, such as caffeine, alcohol consumption or certain situations can help you proactively manage your symptoms and limit your exposure to these.
2. Focus on the moment.
By becoming aware of what is happening right here, right now, you reduce the overwhelming worries you have about the future and bring yourself back to a state of calm. Try to incorporate the little words “right now” whenever your mind does wander...Accept that big changes are inevitable but choose to stay grounded and present on the current moment whenever your mind starts to wander.
3. Replace negative self-talk
It’s so easy to instantly default to negative self-talk whenever we feel anxious. We immediately overthink a situation and imagine the outcome far worse than it probably is... Challenge negative thoughts of self-doubt whenever you find yourself thinking “what if it doesn’t work or what if I fail?” Reframe it, and choose to question instead “well, what if it does work and what if I do succeed?”
4. Control the controllable... and let the rest go
A lot of the time we worry about things that never happen. Accept that worry and stress over things that are out of your control is wasted energy. Instead focus on the present and what you can do in this moment to stay happy. Set aside specific time to worry or alternatively write your worries in a notebook, that way you will begin to feel more in control of them.
5. Be kind to yourself
Imagine all the past versions of yourself standing in-front of you. The one who got rejected from a job interview, the one who cried themselves to sleep, the one who was seemingly broken beyond repair from a breakup or the one who embarrassed themselves when giving a presentation to a group of people. Remind yourself of all the painful experiences that you didn’t think you would get through, until you did. You are not the anxiety you’re experiencing. You are so much stronger than you imagine. And you’ll get through this challenge, the same way you got to this point today.
6. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Exercising regularly, eating well, getting enough quality sleep, socialising with friends and family and participating in activities we enjoy are all effective ways of reducing stress and anxiety because of the feel-good emotions they foster. Physical activity in particular increases your endorphins and ability to adopt positive thoughts and emotions, allowing you to feel generally happier and more satisfied in life.
7. Slow down your breathing
Often when we feel anxious our breathing can speed up or reduce altogether. But breathing exercises can instantly make you feel more in control by slowing down your heart rate and helping to calm you down. Whenever you find yourself stressed, try breathing in for seven seconds, then out for eleven seconds...
8. Connect with others
...Socialising, volunteering or pursuing an activity you enjoy, will increase your sense of belonging and purpose. And often, by focusing on these events, you’re able to busy your mind from overthinking.
9. Participate in talk therapy
If your anxiety is long-term and deeper rooted it can be helpful to speak to someone who can assist in discovering your anxiety triggers. Sometimes our triggers may be obvious like caffeine or substance abuse. Or they may be less obvious such as deep-rooted family or financial pressures...
10. Seek cognitive behavioural therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be an effective tool in the treatment of long-term anxieties and panic disorders. It combines both thought patterns and actions towards events, in order to address the assumptions that you might have created and the view of the world, and yourself, that this has created... it can encourage you to adopt healthier habits, respond to problems more positively and feel better overall.