If you are someone who struggles with anxiety, you must be familiar with the “What if” thoughts or the constant worry of not being in control. Anxiety can make you feel as if you are doomed. Sometimes, it can also lead to a panic attack. I have a lot of experience with anxiety myself, so I know what it feels like.
But don’t worry! You are not alone in this.
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses. About 284 million people worldwide experienced an anxiety disorder in 2017.
You don’t have to let it take over your life, there is a way out.
Here’s what you can do to manage your anxiety :
Understand that anxiety is not your enemy :
Your brain is wired to alert the body in case of any threat. In such cases, it goes into fight or flight mode to save you. Under normal circumstances, as the threat subsides, it returns to its normal state.
But due to a variety of reasons like past trauma, stress buildup, genetics, etc, it can get stuck in this state.
You need to stop looking at anxiety as if it’s there to destroy you. Once you’ve made this change, it gets a lot easier to deal with anxiety.
I know it’s not easy to do, but your body is constantly fighting to survive and when something seems out of line it means that your body is asking for help.
Anxiety is the brain’s way of telling you that it needs help. When you start working with your brain instead of fighting against it, your battle with anxiety is half won.
Identify the anxious thought :
If you want to manage your anxiety, the first step is to identify that you’re having an anxious thought. It’s not anything complex, you just need to say to yourself, “I am ready to face the thought”.
Once you let your brain know that you’re the stronger one, you’ve limited the thought to just a thought.
Don’t pity yourself or put yourself down in this situation, it will only worsen it.
Instead of avoiding the thought, face it :
Once you’ve accepted that the anxious thought exists, you now have to let it do its job.
I know this sounds confusing but believe me, the only thing that makes you feel helpless is trying to get rid of the thought. If you eliminate the fear of the thought, there is nothing to be afraid of and now YOU are in control of the situation.
Your fear fuels anxiety. Tell your anxiety “I am not afraid of you, do whatever you want to do” and just let things flow. After you’ve done this, give it its time and the chain will automatically break.
Use calming techniques :
Anxious thoughts can affect your nervous system. Your brain when in flight or fight response, increases your pulse and breathing rate.
To calm it, try out different breathing exercises or calming techniques to bring it to a normal level. Also, start a daily practice of doing Yoga or any type of meditation.
The bottom line here is that anxiety is not something to be afraid of, face it and overcome the difficult thoughts. Over time your brain will be trained to work for you. I urge you to try this the next time you’re having anxious thoughts.