Everyone gets anxious every now and then. It could be because of encountering an uncomfortable situation or facing a difficult problem. While it’s normal to feel anxious, experiencing it frequently, even without any exposure to stress, can lead to a disorder. To prevent that from happening, you need to figure out how to deal with anxiety effectively.
The following are some useful tips and effective techniques you can try.
1. Learn Defusion
A great technique you can use to free yourself from anxiety is to learn defusion. This technique involves detangling yourself from your own thoughts and emotions. Since your anxiety mostly comes from what you feel and think, distancing yourself can help you cope better.
There are different kinds of defusion techniques you could try, such as thanking the mind. Whenever you have difficult thoughts, you can tell yourself sarcastically, ‘Thank you for this insightful feedback.’ Saying it in a sarcastic way will keep you from taking your thoughts seriously and help you change your relationship to your thoughts.
On the other hand, mindful watching is a defusion technique that’s all about seeing your thoughts with openness and curiosity and observing how they flow, without the need to change or control them.
2. Practice Proper Breathing Exercises
One of the quickest ways you can calm yourself down when you feel anxious is to breathe. This technique is something you can do in just five minutes.
Pause for a moment to focus on your breathing and let the negative energy flow out of your body. As you inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, concentrate on how much air you’re drawing in and releasing. As you exhale, let go of your thoughts and then inhale to a new start.
Belly breathing is a breathing exercise you can try as well. With one hand on your upper chest and the other on your belly, relax your abdomen and breathe in. Then exhale with your lips pursed a bit, making sure that the hand on your chest remains still.
If you have access to a quiet room, free from any distractions, you should try to practice meditation. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, focus on yourself, and empty your mind. Though it might be difficult not to think about anything, reaching a meditative state will make you feel at ease and well-rested, as well as gain energy and inner peace.
Do a mantra meditation if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your thoughts. What makes mantra meditation useful is that it lets your brain focus on something else. Think of a mantra that speaks to you. For example, it can be ‘I embrace who I am’ or even as simple as ‘I am beautiful.’ Say this mantra to yourself repeatedly for a few moments.
4. Take A Walk
Sometimes, you need to put yourself away from the situation physically to loosen up. If you’re dealing with a tense situation, you’ll have a hard time thinking clearly in a place that reminds you of the problem. So, it will help to step out and take a walk.
Being in a new environment will help ease your mind and see how beautiful the world is. For instance, you could go to a park where you can surround yourself with nature. Visiting your go-to spot, such as your favorite café or bookshop, or exploring your neighborhood is a great idea too.
5. Get Yourself Moving
Just like taking strolls, getting yourself moving is a reliable approach to distract and free yourself from negative thoughts. Choose the best time you’d like to exercise. You can work out in the morning, during your lunch break, or after work.
Then decide on what kind of physical activity you want to do. You can try yoga, bike, or go for a swim. But if you prefer to be around people, visit a gym or learn a sport you’re interested in, such as tennis and golf.
6. Do A Quick Time-Out
Another practical way to help defuse anxiety is to take a short break and do what you enjoy. It could be as simple as taking a cup of coffee, listening to music, or watching a short video on your phone.
Doing something that keeps you occupied while you’re taking a quick break will help calm your thoughts.
7. Shut Down Negative ‘What If’ Thoughts
What happened in the past can’t be changed, but you can’t help think of how you’d have done things differently. While it’s hard to pull yourself back to the present, you must learn that there’s nothing more than you can do. Everything’s been said and done. The only thing you can do now is focus on the present and do what you can to cope.
8. Accept What You Cannot Control
There are plenty of instances where people get anxious about things that are out of their control. It’s normal to feel uneasy, but it isn’t when you keep dwelling on the past.
You need to learn how to accept what happened and move on. Shift your perspective, so you can stay positive. What happened to you was probably the worst experience you ever had, but it could sometimes be a meaningful moment that helped you become stronger and wiser.
Aside from accepting the past, you must stop worrying about the future. What you can do instead is to reframe your thoughts. For example, you’re worried about the plane crashing during your upcoming travel. Replace your worrisome thought with something positive, like ‘Air travel is statistically safe. Besides, there are competent and experienced airline staff around, so I can just relax and look forward to an amazing vacation.’
9. Remember That Perfection Is Not Possible
Sometimes, you can be your own worst enemy. You want to be perfect in everything you do, but striving for perfection isn’t actually attainable. Everyone makes mistakes.
In fact, the desire to be perfect will only hold you back. It will make you feel you’re never good enough and forget what matters most. For instance, using social media platforms all the time because you want your profiles to look perfect will keep you from doing something meaningful, such as spending quality time with loved ones or completing a work project.
So, what you should strive for instead is progress. Do your best and learn from your mistakes. This way, you’ll feel happier, more confident in yourself, and fulfilled.
Here are some strategies you can implement to aim for progress:
Establish Reasonable Expectations Or Goals
It’s great to have goals, but sometimes, the expectations you have for yourself may not be realistic. You need to make sure that your goals are something that you can do. For example, if you’re planning to have a fancy anniversary date but you can’t afford it, then you need to improvise.
Why not have a romantic candlelit dinner with your partner in your backyard? You don’t have to go all out to celebrate a significant event with your other half. What matters most is having a great time and creating wonderful memories together.
Avoid Visualization To Achieve Success
How many times have you fantasized about achieving success? A lot of people dream of living a successful life, such as driving a sports car or living in a lavish house. However, visualizing future success doesn’t actually work because that’s all there is to it—you just imagine the kind of life you want to have.
Rather than visualizing success, find your purpose in life, like traveling the world and discovering unique cultures. Continue to do your best at work, save up, and plan carefully. When the right time comes, it will be worth the wait.
Be Proud Of Your Accomplishments
Always celebrate your wins, big or small. It’s just as important to celebrate small accomplishments because they will build up over time and help you become more confident. So, if your colleague complimented you for doing a great job, treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant.
10. Look On The Bright Side Of Life
While having a positive outlook might be a bit challenging to do, you should try to look on the bright side of life. For instance, you keep having bad first dates.
Bad first dates are humiliating and uncomfortable, but they can help you realize things you never knew about yourself and develop effective communication skills. Learning new things will prepare you for the moment when you finally meet the right person.
11. Consider Aromatherapy
If you like visiting the spa, then you’ll enjoy aromatherapy. Breathing in soothing scents like lavender will help you take your mind off things.
Aromatherapy is an accessible technique that you can do at home. You can diffuse some essential oils in your room, light some candles, or draw yourself a relaxing hot bath.
12. Talk To Someone
Don’t hesitate to open up to someone you trust, like your friend or parent. People who care about you will always be willing to listen. Talking to someone will help you figure out a way to resolve the problem, see the bigger picture, gain perspective, and get rid of pent-up emotions.
13. Express Your Thoughts In Writing
If you don’t feel comfortable about sharing your thoughts with someone because you’re not ready or you fear getting judged, you can write down your thoughts. Expressing how you feel or what you’re worried about makes anxiety less challenging.
Maintaining Mental Health
There are many relaxation techniques you can apply to manage anxiety, but it will also help to care for your mental health.
Know Your Triggers
The first thing you can do is to learn the things that trigger your anxiety. It could be discussing a certain situation or seeing something that reminds you of an uncomfortable incident.
After identifying your triggers, search for ways to avoid them. For example, if caffeine makes you feel even more anxious, cut back on coffee or other caffeinated drinks.
Moreover, you can transform negative memories into good ones. Reflect on how you felt while the event was happening. Did you feel miserable? Were you emotionally drained? Then distance yourself from the situation and think about what you learned from that experience. Let the memory go and make the most of every moment.
Validate Your Emotions
As mentioned earlier, anxiety is completely normal. Everyone goes through anxiety every now and then, especially when dealing with an uncomfortable situation. So, remember it’s okay to feel down, troubled, or stressed.
Validate your emotions by acknowledging and describing how you feel. For example, if you feel dejected about not landing a job and people ask how you’re doing, be honest. Once you acknowledge how you feel, you’ll feel stronger and courageous to deal with painful emotions.
Don’t forget to be compassionate with yourself too. Remind yourself that there’s nothing wrong with feeling bad and that your feelings do make sense. How you feel doesn’t make you worthless.
Go On A Vacation
If you’ve been pushing yourself too hard, take the time to unwind. Treat yourself by going on a vacation once in a while or when your schedule allows. Soak up the at the beach, go out of town, or stay at a nearby hotel for the entire weekend. You deserve to have a break, so don’t feel bad about escaping from work or everyday life.
Socialize With Friends And Family
As they say, no man is an island. Go out there and hang out with your family and friends. You can do the things you usually do with them or try something new together, such as touring a microbrewery, checking out a local arts and crafts festival, or attending a local art fair.
Reconnecting with your loved ones fosters more meaningful and stronger relationships.
Switch To A Stress-Free Workplace
If your workplace is an unhealthy environment where you have to work long hours or deal with uncomfortable situations constantly, then you should consider finding a better place. Maintaining work-life balance helps protect you from burnout and reduce stress. It will make you happier and more productive.
Find A New Hobby
If you’re feeling uninspired because of doing the same things over and over again, find a new hobby to dive into. You can do something you’ve always wanted to try, such as photography or arts and crafts. If you want something thrilling, learn how to surf.
Have Your Daily Me-Time
Having a busy schedule affects your well-being negatively. It leads to higher stress levels, low self-esteem, and fatigue. Though it seems impossible to take a quick break when you’re so busy with work or other responsibilities, you can find a way to take a rest. Spend at least 30 minutes for yourself. Read a good book or watch your favorite TV series. Having some me-time is a great way to rejuvenate yourself.
Dealing with anxiety is never easy. It can knock you down, making you lose confidence. But there are healthy ways to manage it, such as challenging your fears and engaging in fun activities.
You should also look after your mental health. Your mental health affects the way you think, feel, and act. Being emotionally stable allows you to stay productive, maintain positive relationships, overcome adversity, and adjust to change.