In the ocean of human thoughts, silencing an irrational thought is not always the easiest task. It takes work to calm your rapidly beating heart. An ongoing nervousness, worry, fear, apprehension, tension, and the aftermath of these states is what makes the imagery of a word pronounced as aŋˈzʌɪəti.
I am talking about anxiety, a thing that affects 1 in 13 individuals globally. We have all tasted it at one or more points in our lives.
Anxiety is a normal human emotion as long it is not out of hands; the moment it is, management becomes a necessity.
You need to start with the identification of the condition, and then move on to reduce, prevent, and even eliminate it – or at least an attempt to eliminate. Presented below are 15 ways that will help you move through the times of anxiety.
13 WAYS TO DEAL WITH ANXIETY
People in their anxious state have shallow breathing. The sympathetic system of your body is active during this phase, and you need more oxygen. Shallow breathing only worsens the situation. It leads to confusion, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, and the feeling of a lump on a way down the throat.
One can reverse the symptoms of an anxiety attack by merely improving the breathing pattern. Mentioned here is a simple breathing exercise that professionals teach for these hard times.
Take a deep breath. Hold on for a few seconds and then exhale for around 8 seconds. Repeat this ten times. Right after the first round, you will start feeling better.
Do not wait for the anxiety to come and sit over. Try using this technique in situations where you are likely to feel anxious.
As soon as anxiety takes over, it makes you feel like you are losing control of everything. The inability to breath properly is sufficient enough to feed that anxiety and grow it like weeds.
Instead of being in the reverse gear, it is now in a fast forward direction where an impending doom appears to make more sense than the safety of your surroundings.
In this alarming state of a banging heart, you can withstand the ravages of anxiety by using something called as a grounding.
Grounding is a technique that brings your attention to here-and-now. It is based on sensory and cognitive awareness of the present. Here’s how you do it.
Look around and name 5 things that are present in your surroundings.
Name 4 things that you can touch or feel, for example, chair, cushion, floor, etc.
Name 3 voices that you can listen to right now. It could be a voice from someone standing near you or the ones coming from the TV. If there are no sounds, try and produce some on your own; tap your foot on the floor, touch the chair with your hands, whistle, or listen to your breathing sounds.
Name 2 things that you can smell at the moment or the things you like the smell of.
Name 1 good thing about yourself. It could be any of your physical features or some good quality.
While you are using this 54321 grounding technique, your sense of having control over things is slowly regained.
Research has long established the relationship between exercise and a healthy body. It is proved that exercise keeps a person fit and wards off many diseases that may otherwise affect you.
The positive effects of exercise in reducing stress have gained wide popularity, and we see psychologists recommending exercise as a part of treatment regime to their patients.
It has been observed that people who are physically active tend to have less anxiety issues as compared to others. Our sedentary lifestyle compared to our previous generations probably explains why anxiety disorders have become the most common mental disorders of the present era.
Regular exercise can help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. Try whatever form of physical activity you like. It could be dancing, swimming, jogging, walking, running, etc.
You need to acknowledge that your anxiety is a real situation, but at the same time do realize that you will be alright. How many times does it happen that an anxiety attack leaves you with a permanent disability? It does not occur.
Instead, anxiety leaves you with an awful feeling and energy deprivation. However, the cycle will continue if you do not accept it. By accepting the anxiety, it is meant that you should not avoid it. The next step is to wait and watch.
5. Wait and watch policy
Do not try to avoid situations where you get an anxiety attack. Instead, accept it and see what happens. Let’s assume that you get anxious when you are at a social gathering.
Gather all that courage that resides somewhere in your heart, accept the fact that you are likely going to get an anxiety attack, and be a part of that social gathering.
Wait and watch your feelings. See what the symptoms are. Is it just the sweaty hands? Are you shaking a little? Do you stammer? Can you find your voice to answer a question? Do you feel nauseated? Is there shallow breathing? Are you feeling dizzy?
Now, try to calm yourself through deep breathing exercise.
6. Look inside
Think of what created all those symptoms. Look inside and ask yourself, “Why is it that I feel that way in a social gathering? Is there any past event that results in a blown state of anxiety every time there is some crowd?”
Do you feel like people around you are talking behind your back? Do you think no one likes you? Maybe you feel as if you’d do something stupid and people would make fun of you? These are just possible questions that may be linked to the social anxiety. You can look deeper into your thoughts and find out a cause.
7. Talk to yourself
Now that you know the reason, no matter how stupid it might seem, talk yourself into believing that it is going to be alright. No matter what people would think, say, or do, you have to try and beat your fears as if your life depends on it. Do a bit of counseling, tell yourself that you are working on it, and it is going to be alright.
8. Use distraction
Now I am not suggesting that you avoid the situation. Use distraction to trick yourself. It means that if you have social anxiety, you should consider the crowd as one or two people. Just think of this gathering as if it is composed of only one person who is standing right in front of you or the one that you want to talk to.
Or else, watch your feet; it will distract you from the crowd. Try to notice the dressing of others around you, but please don’t think that you are not well dressed.
The idea is to distract yourself from your fears. With these distractions, your mind is occupied enough to stop the fear taking control over you.
Once you have tried distraction and have been in the situation for some time now, try to face the fear. Shift your gaze from your shoes to the faces around you.
These tricks may not work best the first time, but with repetition, you will notice a difference.
9. Confront the fear
One of the methods that parents often use to get the fear out of their child is that they let him face his fears.
There was once a boy that was extremely afraid of the dark.
Dark was the thing this child dreaded the most. It used to bring in all those symptoms of an anxiety attack in him.
How did he overcome this fear?
One day, the boy got locked in a room that was so dark that even with pupil dilation, he couldn’t see even an outline of a thing. As unexpected, the boy did not faint. Instead, he realized that none of the things that he thought about came into that dark room. NOTHING harmed him.
There was no ghost, no rat, no witch, and no monster hidden in the dark. He was safe. After a prolonged state of anxiety, he had seen for himself that none of his fear was true.
The time this boy confronted his fear was the time he was freed from the fear of the dark.
Confront your fears.
10. Problem-solving technique
This is a great technique. You think about what is the main problem, you write it down, and then you think of all the possible solutions. Take the best solution, and think of the ways that you can carry it down. Again, choose the best way and do it.
If the results are not great, you can either try again to see if that makes a difference or you can use another solution. Just remember that it may not work for the first time, but with repeated exposure to your problem and it’s solution, you do get desensitized to the related fear.
11. Trust your anxiety
Human beings are more powerful than they think. You had survived the last anxiety episode; you will survive this one as well. Have faith in your abilities.
You probably think during the course of an anxiety attack that a rapidly beating heart might be related to some cardiovascular issue, or the anonymous worry may result in something terrible. However, when did a panic attack turn out to be a heart attack? It might have happened in some corner of the world, but then it doesn’t happen every day.
I remember a friend of mine fretting over the thought that the symptoms of her anxiety may actually be linked to a recurrent bout of rheumatic fever in her case.
Despite the heart surgeons assuring her that it is not what she thinks, she still had the thought.
More anxiety attacks.
Things, however, improved when this friend changed her thought pattern. So, trust your anxiety.
12. Do what you enjoy
Now that an anxiety attack has arrived, let it sit and do whatever it wants to do. You try to focus on deep breathing and at the same time distracting yourself to something that you enjoy.
13. Imagine the worst possible scenario
It was during a counseling session to the new medical students that one of the professors said something strange. He asked the students to imagine the worst possible scenario. This professor used to teach one of the most dreaded subjects in the first semester of medical school. Instead of asking the students, he answered his question himself. It was this:
“The worst possible scenario is that you will fail a subject. So what? Prepare again and reappear in the exam.”
Towards the end of the semester, the students who did fail had different reactions. Some got depressed, some were crying, a few were silent, and one got fainted. Among this hustle, there was one student who said that she had imagined the worst possible scenario and now she knows what is to be done.
She said, “ I will prepare again and appear for the next exam.” This student did get through this time and never failed another paper during her studies.
This is the power of imagination. You think about the worst possible thing, and if it does happen, you do have the skills to cope with it.
It doesn’t mean that you start thinking negatively. Here’s the thing; while keeping optimism close to your dear heart, try thinking of the opposite as well.
Have you ever wondered why some people do what they think is right while others keep reading about the thing yet they never act?
It is because the first group is willing to put in all the energy in applying what they know, while others are only fascinated by the idea of doing the right thing.
Anyone suffering from anxiety can go on to say that it’s easier said than done. It is, but there are individuals who have eased their life through the application of the above-mentioned things.
It might seem stupid to do something as simple as grounding. An inside voice might tell you that it won’t work, but what’s the harm done if you try? Nothing. In fact, there is a good chance that if you try these tactics, you are actually going to feel better.