How to Deal with Anxiety
Anxiety is a normal reaction to situations where we are feeling stressed. However, when anxiety interferes in your work and personal life, then you are dealing with chronic anxiety. Chronic anxiety is hard to deal with because it’s the result of a lifelong pattern of thinking that we do subconsciously. The good news is that with the right techniques and support system, it’s possible to deal with anxiety.
However, before we talk about dealing with it, it’s important to understand what it is.
Tips for dealing with anxiety by yourself
End chronic worrying
Anxiety comes from constantly worrying and thinking negatively. However, when you do that you only sink deeper, deeper into an emotional and psychological mire that leaves you drained and exhausted. So the best way to deal with anxiety is not to fight the thoughts, whenever a negative thought crosses your mind, just label your thoughts as ‘worry thoughts’.
Labelling these thoughts in such a matter lets you disassociate yourself from these ideas. It prevents you from spiralling into an emotional mire because you are not fighting what’s in your head anymore.
Be in the moment
Chronic anxiety and worrying take us to the past and future. To deal with anxiety, you need to be living in the moment. Staying focused on the present keeps anxiety in check because your thoughts cannot focus on what could go wrong, nor can you berate yourself for what happened in the past. There are several ways to stay in the moment, including taking up activities like yoga, taichi, walking or going to the gym.
Yoga and Taichi encourage you to keep calm, be focused on the present and reduce tension in the body. Walking, running, and lifting weights release endorphins in the body, which reduces stress and tension. Furthermore, having to focus on the movement of your body as you go through the motions encourages you to stay focused and prevents your mind from wandering.
Talk about your worries.
Talking about your worries with friends, family or psychologists who will not judge you is one of the best ways to deal with anxiety. Keeping worries to yourself will not improve the situation, it will make it worse to the point that it’s overwhelming. However, voicing your concerns has a way of putting things in perspective and makes it far less threatening than if you didn’t.
Besides, if you talk about your worries with people you trust you might find an appropriate solution to whatever it is that is bothering you. If you happen to be living away from friends or family, then join a support group. It’s important to connect with others instead of isolating yourself.
Sleep and reduce substance intake
A simple way to deal with anxiety and reduce stress is to increase sleep and reduce caffeine intake. When dealing with anxiety, you need to have a minimum of 8 to 9 hours of sleep. If you don’t have enough sleep, then this will exacerbate any anxious thoughts you are dealing with. You will also want to cut caffeine, alcohol and smoking because these substances have been known to increase anxiety.
Seek out professional help
In some cases, self-managing your symptoms is a great way to deal with anxiety. However, if the symptoms have become so overwhelming to the point where it’s disrupting your routine, then you need professional help.
To get professional help, you need to visit a GP or a doctor who has the expertise to confirm whether your symptoms are due to anxiety and not to any physical afflictions like hypoglycemia or asthma. Once your doctor diagnoses you with anxiety, you need to visit a psychologist who can help you.
Psychologists use different strategies and approaches to help you deal with anxiety, consisting of medication, cognitive-behaviour therapy, and exposure therapy. Cognitive behaviour therapy enables you to deal with the negative thinking patterns that fuel your anxiety, while exposure therapy helps you confront your fears in a real exposed environment.
While anxiety prevents you from leading a fulfilling life, it’s important to bear in mind that it is a temporary condition. With proper care and the right support system, you can overcome anxiety. You can deal with anxiety by yourself, but if the physical symptoms are overwhelming, you need to visit a psychologist for professional treatment.
Get more information on anxiety and how to get treatment at onPsych.