Tips to Deal With Anxiety
Here are a few tips that may help to deal with anxiety. Since there is no “one size fits all” method for lessening anxiety, it’s helpful to try out different techniques to see which is the best fit for you. Keep in mind that some of these techniques may not work well the first or second try - but with practice you can master these techniques and feel more empowered around controlling your feelings of worry and anxiety.
Get up and get moving! Exercise can be helpful in resolving many different types of problems, anxiety included.
Figure out what is in your control. What parts of your worries are within your control, and what parts of your worries are outside of your control? Anxiety has a way of shifting your focus onto issues that you cannot control. It can feel better to bring your attention to things within your control, where you can focus your energy effectively.
Volunteer for a good cause. Can you think of a better way to use some of that restless energy? Plus, volunteering is a great way to keep busy rather than sitting around and focusing on your worries.
Bring yourself back to the present. Anxious thoughts are often focused on a million things that haven’t actually happened yet - concerns about the bad things that can go wrong in the future. One way to bring yourself back to the present is to tune into your senses. What do you see, hear, smell, and physically feel? What can you touch? Staying in the present can help you to pull yourself away from worries.
Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake. Research has shown that both can make symptoms of anxiety worse.
Surrender to your anxiety. I know - this seems counterintuitive and a bit crazy... but it can also be very effective to manage intense anxiety. To do this, notice where in your body you are feeling the anxiety. Sit with it. Don’t fight it, don’t try to push it out, and don’t judge it. After all, your anxiety is a part of you and often has purpose. Focus all your attention to where you feel anxious. Breathe into it. Stay with it. Your anxiety will peak then lessen, if not go away almost entirely.
Deep breathing. Deep breathing (also known as belly breathing) can also help in those anxious moments. This is one of those techniques that will likely take some practice, which is best to do in moments that you are feeling calm. To practice, get in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Breathe in slowly through your nose on a count of four. Try to push your breath down deep into your belly. Hold your breath for two counts. Then exhale slowly on a count of six. Try to keep your focus on your breath. Should you get distracted, notice whatever it is that is distracting you, then bring your attention back to your breath (you may be distracted many times and that’s OK!). Repeat the process 15 to 30 times.
Make a decision. Sometimes anxiety arises when you get stuck in a difficult decision. Often, this worry can be around the fear of making the wrong choice. It’s probably pretty likely then, that no matter which choice you make, there will be both benefits and consequences. Making a decision and acknowledging that it won’t be perfect, can help reduce pressure and decrease worry.
Ask yourself what would be most helpful. How is holding onto your worry helpful? Would it be more helpful to create a plan of action? More helpful to share your concerns with someone? Figuring out what would help most can help you to get activated around addressing your worry, rather than feeling stuck.