Coping with anxiety
Do you ever have those moments when you feel you’re losing it? You’re totally
overwhelmed, or you’re soaking in sadness or you feel you are going to go nuts.
You’re having a really bad day, month or life. Well, hold on; there’s still hope.
Here are some useful tips and proven techniques to bring you back from the edge and to help you breathe easily again.
Calm the jitters, the sweaty palms, the jagged nerves and the heart pounding out of your chest.
Most of us know what it feels like walking around but feeling empty; that is, suffering from anxiety disorders.
Millions face the panic that comes every day with our challenges and other stressful situations. What’s surprising, especially to the highly-strung, is that we do not have to live with it.
Accept that you are having an ‘anxiety moment’. Allow yourself to be nervous, trying to deny it will only make it worse. Just focus on what is in front of you. Whatever you’re doing take a few deep breaths to help let the anxious thoughts and feelings float on by.
Stopping to breathe in and out slowly and deeply a few times will also help to calm your heart rate, leaving you feeling less overwhelmed.
Stop trying to be perfect. If you are anxious then almost by definition you are being overly perfectionist in the goals you are setting yourself.
You see all the ways you may not meet them and the thought of failure makes you anxious and the anxiety makes you think the worst.
But look at the hard evidence from past experiences. Honestly, have you ever been laughed out of a job interview or presentation for not getting every word just so? Most of the time people will see that things went right, even if you think you could have done better.
Stop being so nice. When you find yourself on edge for no obvious reason, it is your body’s way of signaling there’s a problem you are avoiding. Most anxiety-prone people try so hard to be agreeable that when confronted with an upsetting situation they will sweep their feelings under the carpet rather than stand up for themselves.
Take a walk on the mindful side. Whether you feel threatened by just a scary thought or by actual danger, your body tenses up. Try by all means, though it is not easy, to relax.
Breathing deeply and consciously adjusting your shoulders downwards to relax is helpful. Face your fears. If there’s a specific activity that always makes you break into a cold sweat, try a technique used by cognitive behavioural therapists; first do something similar but less frightening and then gradually move your way through more nerve-racking occasions.
You will find your fear diminishes as you expose yourself ‘safely’ to it, step by step. By the time you get to the original alarming activity, it will feel less overwhelming.
It helps to practice this as frequently as possible. Research shows that gradual exposure to situations, which induce nervousness is one of the best ways to reduce anxiety.
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