Everyone worries about all sorts of things, and sometimes that act of worrying can be helpful in pushing you to solve a problem and take action when needed. However, constant self-doubt, paralyzing fears, and high levels of anxiety can be very harmful to your health. If you are experiencing panic attacks as a result of your anxiety, it’s essential that you see a therapist who can help you. Your mental health is not something that can be left ignored and untreated. But if you are experiencing anxiety without panic attacks, you can train your mind to break the habit of worrying and teach yourself to relax and calm down.
Worrying about Worrying
One of the main reasons why managing anxiety is so hard is because of the way you think about anxiety itself. Some people are concerned that worrying so much will cause major health problems for them both physically and mentally, and it will consume them wholly. This adds more anxiety, and the vicious cycle of worrying continues.
Other people feel that their anxiety is good as it helps them solve problems, protects them from unexpected occurrences, and prepares them for any potential bad situations. This means that they can never get rid of their anxiety, as they treat it like a security blanket. So they will constantly have elevated levels of anxiety.
It’s important to understand that anxiety, in moderation, is a good thing; but when it starts to take over your life and interferes with your daily routine, it must be alleviated.
Tips to Reducing Anxiety
Once you decide that your anxiety is bogging you down, and it is something you must manage and reduce, you can try some tested self-help methods to get you through it:
It’s hard to stop thinking about something, because when you want to stop thinking, it entails thinking about it. Distracting yourself and telling yourself to calm down will just increase anxiety. What you can do is embrace the anxious thoughts, but with restrictions. Set a time and place for your worry; such as the sitting on the patio from 6 pm to 6:30pm and allow yourself to worry. Give yourself a specific time to worry about everything and then stop when you leave that place. During the day, it you start to worry, tell yourself that this is not the time and wait till 6 pm to think these thoughts. This delays the anxiety and restricts it, helping you avoid it during your regular activities.
Identify Good and Bad Anxiety
When you start to worry, stop and think about whether the problem at hand is solvable or unsolvable. This will tell you whether your anxiety is fulfilling a purpose or not. If yes, you can deal with the problem and your anxiety will go away. If no, you can delay the anxiety and worry about it at 6 pm (or whatever time you choose). Identify your feelings of fear and anger, and accept them as part of who you are. This way, you won’t be so overwhelmed by these emotions and won’t get so anxious when having to deal with them.
Live in the Moment
Be mindful of the present. Start to notice everything around you and stay completely focused on what’s happening in the present. This will control worrying about the past and future, and all your imaginary what-ifs will be kept at bay. Don’t get frustrated when your old worries keep resurfacing, each time to draw attention back to the present, you are reinforcing a new habit that your brain will eventually adapt.
5,4,3,2,1 Zap Anxiety
One way to help ground you back in the moment is to activate the 5 senses – this is why we call it the 5,4,3,2,1 Zap Anxiety Plan.
With this plan, take a moment and identify the following:
1) Indentify 5 things you can see
2) Identify 4 things you can hear
3) Identify 3 things you can touch
4) Identify 2 things you can smell
5) Identify 1 thing you can taste
Through the process of activating the senses it brings you back to the present and allows the mind to stop worrying about the “what ifs.”
When you implement these tips, you will start to see a noticeable change in your levels of anxiety.
Give it some time, and if it persists, you may want to seek professional help – a caring therapist can help you alleviate anxiety. Contact Jennie Marie for more information.