Lillian Strom, AMFT
Anxiety, the beast. Tips to help reduce it.
Who isn’t bothered by anxiety at some point or another, if not on a constant basis? Here are some quick, easy things to help you manage your anxiety.
Deep breathing. Take 4 or 5 long, slow deep breaths. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which calms the body.
Don’t deny your anxiety. Acknowledge and accept it. By doing this you are not fighting reality but embracing it, letting go of an internal battle of it’s existence. When you battle the existence of something, it actually makes it worse.
Question your anxious thoughts. Anxiety has a way of making unrealistic catastrophes reality in our heads, increasing our feeling of anxiety. By questioning the relevance or reality of something, you can start to bring your level of anxiety down with your own personal reality check.
A few examples of these questions are:
“Is this worry realistic?”
“If a bad thing happens, what does that mean about me?”
“If this scenario does happen, how can I handle it?”
Visualization – Find your happy place. In your mind, create a world that is peaceful and calming to you. A place where no one can find you and there are no stresses. I’ve had clients use the mountains with streams, or beaches lying down or walking with their dogs or pets. Whatever you find peace with.
Observe yourself in the moment and jot down your observations. Write down what you are doing; the thoughts, feelings and reactions you are having, including the physical reactions. Be compassionate and non-judgmental with yourself.
Positive self-talk is amazing. Remind yourself of how capable you are of handling things. Think back to a time when you were facing a surprise hurdle and you managed to overcome it. Remind yourself of all of your strategies for reducing you anxiety. The anxiety may feel bad, but this is a passing moment.
Focus on right now. Use techniques like self-observation. Paying attention to what you are experiencing in that moment rather than focusing on something in the future. Ask yourself what you would be doing if you weren’t feeling anxious. How would you be using your energy?
Workout. Endorphins help bring your stress and anxiety levels down. Just make sure you get a pass from your doctor if you have any health issues.
Don’t let anxiety control you. There are things you can do to minimize it and even eliminate it. Not from the rest of your existence, of course, but maybe from your daily existence. Anxiety is a normal emotion we all feel and it can tell us a lot about ourselves. The idea is to learn more about your anxiety, it’s causes, and how to minimize and manage it.
Maybe you already have some tricks that help you. If not, hope these can!