7 steps to dealing with anxiety
Anxiety can be disabling for those who are suffering from it, and it can also have an impact on family and colleagues too. It can affect anyone, however strong or usually positive you are. The good news is that it can nearly always be overcome.
7 steps to help you deal with anxiety
1. Understand and accept its logic and purpose
Realising the true (positive) purpose of your anxiety makes it less threatening and easier to understand. It can be surprising, that although it may seem that the anxiety is in some way attacking, in reality, the underlying purpose, what it is trying to do is actually protect you. This can change the way we view things if we either find new more helpful ways to protect ourselves or come to the realisation that we don’t actually need that protection anymore in order to function safely.
2. Pinpoint where it started
Identifying the initial cause of the anxiety can help to resolve it, especially if accompanied by limiting beliefs. People often think they have forgotten or don’t know where it's from, or if even if they do, see it as illogical. The chances are there was a very logical reason for it in the first place, but its no longer useful. Knowing its source can help us see where it fits in and subconsciously acknowledge that its no longer needed.
3. Notice the triggers, learn to pre-empt (feeling/thought)
Identifying triggers can help you make a choice about how you react and help you manage situations in the meantime. Notice what’s going on when the anxiety first starts. How you feel just beforehand. How do you know its time to feel anxious? Spotting the trigger is key to stopping the pattern.
4. Don’t try to stop it, work with it, reassure, don’t criticise
Make sure that the way you speak to yourself is helpful. So many people get anxious about their anxiety, say negative things to themselves like you're so stupid, stop feeling like this or use language that magnifies the situation. Remember, it's trying to keep you safe, so help it to know, that you are safe, things are ok and its just an automatic reaction and you will begin to feel calmer.
5. Learn to breathe, breath out first then take slow relaxed breaths
Release the breath first then access your low relaxed breath. It will send a physiological message to your brain that you are ok. That feeling of not being able to breathe is probably because your lungs are already full and muscles tight. Releasing the breath will kickstart the motion of breathing again.
6. Gain perspective, see the whole situation, put things in context
Imagine looking at yourself and the situation from the outside, what do you see if you notice the full picture? See what others are doing. Imagine floating up to the ceiling and beyond. See how others are calm, it will give perspective, disassociate you from the intense feelings and give you a chance to recover.
7. Know that however bad the anxiety, it can be gone for good
It may be that you can do it yourself, or maybe you need some help, whichever way this is something that can be solved for good. The weight of anxiety can be lifted and when that change happens it can feel such a relief. Knowing this can be a thing of the past will help you overcome it.
Support for anxiety
Never suffer in silence. Reach out and find support, be that online, in a group or privately seeking a coach. As long as you want things to change, they can change. You just need to make the first step; which will be far easier than managing to live with the issue. You know you owe it to yourself to make that change!