Anxiety sucks! How to free yourself from anxieties with these 12 easy steps

Anxiety is among the worst of feelings; some even consider it the worst. If you suffer from anxiety, try these twelve interventions. Use them to feel better and to prevent anxiety from coming back.

1 Anxiety is on a time scale: When you feel beset by fear, the danger is right before you. Anxiety however is different.  It is an anticipation that something fearsome is about to happen. This can be seconds or months away, or it may never happen at all. So what should we do? Prepare! Between now and then, do reality checks on your perspective. For example, can you be 100 percent sure of what you predict? If you can’t, why speculate? Also, make plans to combat what you fear. Make a plan! Finally, take time to think out what gives you the best chance and do one small thing in that direction. Small actions on behalf of the solution is a huge anxiety reliever.

2 Anxiety hinders coping with situations that evoke the feeling:  Anxiety can feel so painful that you don’t think you can cope. You feel helpless. You feel vulnerable. So you try to find refuge in any place that you can.  Sadly, the relief you get from avoiding what you fear only rewards the avoidance and makes you feel more anxious. To break this vicious cycle, reward yourself for coping. For example, if you enjoy a cup of coffee, reward yourself with a cup after five minutes of working at coping with your most pressing anxiety. reward yourself for every minute you face and deal with your challenges.

3 Anxiety can mix with real and false alarms:  Some events are objectively anxiety provoking. Your physician finds a lump that could be cancer. You will most likely feel anxious while you wait for the results. However, if you start catastrophizing about dying from cancer, you end up attaching an irrational dread onto a natural concern.  Catastrophizing can look like this; “I know I have cancer.” “I’m going to die.” “This is horrible.” “Woe is me.”

By catastrophizing, did you eliminate the risk? No. Instead of going to the worst case scenario in your mind, suspend all judgment until you get the facts. And go for a walk!

4 Anxious thoughts, feelings, and actions work together: Let’s say you have a belief that you’ll never stop feeling anxious. That belief will have you feel helpless, which in turn will have you act a certain way. To change the cycle, nix the “forever anxious” belief. Use the "where’s the evidence" technique. Reflect - ask yourself, is this true 100% of the time? You’ll find you don’t always feel anxious. Maybe you are anxious that your anxiety will keep coming back. reflecting, asking the right kind of questions, and using the "where is the evidence technique" will give you space to pause the anxious belief and the whole cycle of anxiety. Then y0u can start to think of things you can do to prevent anxiety from coming back. These next steps will help break this down further.

5 Anxiety is in your thoughts: Exaggerate a threat in your mind and you’ll feel the way you think. When anxiety comes up, use the opportunity to think about your thinking. Listen to the words you use when you feel anxious.  Are you dramatizing? Do you exaggerate with words like 'awful'?  You can dial down this thinking with word softening. For example, learn to substitute the word, 'unpleasant' for anxiety amplifying words like 'horrible'.

Do you tell yourself you are 'powerless''?  Try substituting the word 'powerless' with 'challenging'. For instance, "I feel powerless to change this situation," becomes, "this situation is challenging but I am up for it. Practice this word softening techniques when you feel anxious, and you can prevent yourself from amplifying your anxious feelings.

6 Anxiety gets worse when you fear the feeling: Believe it or not you make yourself anxious over feeling anxious. You believe you can’t control your anxious feelings, and so you feel worse.  Test three phrases for creating a different perspective and see if this helps: “The feelings are what they are.” “I don’t have to like them.” “I can tolerate what I don’t like.” Tolerance lessens tensions. Leaning into the feeling helps the anxiety go away.

7 Anxiety affects what you do (and what you do affects how you feel and think): Anxiety numbs your drive to thrive, such as making new friends or going to the gym, etc. Anxiety can cause curiosity fade and ambition to wither. Instead you go for what is safe. That is no way to live your life! Use a flip technique to go after what you want. Figure out three corrective steps to take and then push yourself to do them in their logical order. You don't want to go to the gym? Put on your shoes! Go up and down stairs for 10 mins. Call a friend and go for a walk. Decide on three more and do them in their order. See if you feel happier and more in control than you did before.

8 Anxiety "powerless" thinking can flow over to depression:Believe you are powerless to defeat your anxieties and this thinking will raise your chances for depression. Show yourself that you have the power to buck your anxieties and you’ll feel better about yourself and your life. Anxiety and depression can have other common features, such as self-doubts and rumination. Disrupt one of these linked conditions and you are on your way to fixing a mixed anxiety and depression problem.

9 Anxiety and procrastination feed resistance to change: In both anxiety and procrastination, you expect to meet something threatening or uncomfortable. Therefore you emotionally resist approaching and fixing the problem. You substitute discomfort dodging for corrective actions.  Try a different way. Face the situation that you fear - do it in small steps and see how both the anxiety and procrastinate lessens.

10 Anxiety distracts from building a stronger more confident, you: It's a vicious cycle; doubt yourself and you’ll fear that others also will think less well of you. To compensate, you try to be perfect. Since you can’t be perfect, you are likely to feel more self-conscious and worry more. To get past this vicious cycle, approach each new experience as an experiment and not a test of your worth. Try to see each new experience as just that - a new experience.

11 Anxiety is simple to fix:  But what is simple isn’t necessarily easy. Knowing what to do and doing it are different. Everyone knows how to lose weight; eat less, move more. It's your thoughts and feelings that have you bound up. Change your anxious thoughts and your actions will follow. If you want to stop feeling afraid of feeling afraid, you have to work at tolerating feelings you don’t like. Relief from anxiety about fears, like public speaking or confrontations, etc., takes doing what you fear. There is no simpler way.

12 Anxiety doesn't vanish by magic: If you have a long history of anxiety, you know that there is no magical way to get relief. If there were, you’d have found it.  But you still have reason to feel optimistic! Getting a coach and working through the blocks that stop you can having the life you want is easier now than ever. Working through anxiety can have a dramatic positive impact on your life.

Anxiety is something that all of us live with to some degree. Reach out if you'd like to collaborate on living a life from joy, rather than anxiety.

#change #anxiety

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