Dealing with Anxiety
What is Anxiety
Anxiety is an emotion that is characterised with feelings like worrying thoughts, feeling tension and physical symptoms such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. There are two kinds of anxiety – normal anxiety (such as being anxious before sitting an exam) or an anxiety disorder (requiring medical intervention – and this means the anxiety experienced is out of proportion to the trigger or the severity of the anxiety is disabling to the point of being able to function in your day to day life).
Anxiety is your body’s reaction designed to keep you safe – but when it is hard to control, then it becomes problematic! Yet sometimes, no matter how much we tell ourselves not to be anxious, we cant’s stop those emotions or physical symptoms.
Changing your mindset
Changing your mindset doesn’t happen overnight, However, small repeated steps, will assist in transforming – remember don’t hurry the process! Also, don’t try and do all of these suggested strategies at once, it will only make you more anxious! Just be you and rejoice in one accomplishment at a time!
Don’t worry about the past or future. Don’t follow your anxious thoughts. Anxiety is all about “maybes” and “what if’s” then takes you to a potentially threatening and uncertain future. Try experimenting with being fully present in the future and focus fully on what’s happening around you – the noises, the sound of your breath, the outside noises – just even for 2 minutes – set yourself a time limit. Congratulate yourself after! What you’ve just done is developed an ability to pull yourself back from your anxious thoughts to the present. Try to practice this everyday regularly.
Always know that feelings and thoughts come, stay and then go. There’s a saying “this too shall pass”. So be patient, ride the feeling/s and thought/s. Develop the wisdom to know that you can stay with these feelings long enough to know that eventually that they will leave and that you do not need them today. You could try developing an internal dialogue and saying to yourself “thank you for these thoughts and feelings, you’ll leave when you’re ready”. Then breathe deeply.
Observe your thoughts and feelings without engaging with them. Anxiety is exhausting. If you engage with the thoughts and feelings it’s downright exhausting! So just observe them, don’t try to change them, let them be, don’t try to understand them or talk yourself out of them – let them float around you without becoming part of you.
Finally trust yourself! Know that you are strong and resourceful! You have gotten this far in life and so no matter what happens in life, you can deal with what ever comes your way! Remember, underlying anxiety is anxiety worry, rejection and stress of failure and that you may not be able to cope with what comes your way… Move towards trusting in yourself – act as if until it becomes that. You can do it!