Tips for anxiety |14 Clever Ways to deal with Anxiety Now
Feeling anxious? This article contains long term as well as short term tips for anxiety. But before we look into the tips let’s look at what we are dealing with here.
Anxiety can be described as a feeling of fear and worry. This is a natural emotion to have when it’s based on reason. Sometimes this emotion shows up without a valid reason. This is when it becomes a problem.
When a straight-A student who has studied hard for an exam feels that he will fail that is not realistic. Such thoughts are anxiety provoking. If these thoughts become predominant a person may start to live in a state of anxiety 24/7. That is when it becomes an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of anxiety
Symptoms of anxiety can be physical, mental, emotional or behavioural.
Physical symptoms include trembling hands, sweating, sleep problems, eating problems, digestive problems, muscle tension, pounding heart, headache, stomach ache, nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, feeling weak etc.
Other symptoms are feelings of fear, feeling confused, mind going blank, irritability, worrying etc.
For detailed information about anxiety symptoms read my article on signs of anxiety.
What causes Anxiety?
Ever wonder what is the cause behind your anxiety? Here are some of those causes
- Childhood abuse or trauma including neglection, rejection etc
- Having gone through or witnessed a traumatic experience
- Certain thinking and language patterns
- Overexposure to a stressful environment
- Side effects of medication
- Using illicit drugs such as cocaine
- An unpredictable event such as a pandemic
- Financial problems
- Lack of oxygen
Quick tips for anxiety | How to calm anxiety Fast?
The exam is in 10 minutes. You feel like you can’t remember all that you studied last 3 days. Your heart rate is up, palms are sweaty. You don’t know what to do. If only you knew how to calm anxiety fast. Here are 9 quick tips for that. Long term tips for anxiety will be discussed in the next section.
Change your breathing
This is the easiest way to get your anxiety under control. When you are anxious you tend to take shallow breaths. By consciously changing this you can change your anxiety level. Here is how to do that.
Start by taking a slow deep breath. When you exhale, make it longer than your inhale. If you took 4 seconds to inhale, take 6-8 seconds to exhale. You can also count to 4 as you inhale and count to 8 as you exhale. This kind of breathing helps activate your parasympathetic nervous system helping you relax. Of all the tips for anxiety mentioned here, this is the simplest one.
Engage in physical exercises
Physical exercises are a good way to take the nervous energy out of your body. Exercise helps you to produce feel-good endorphins that help you with your anxiety level. Studies have shown that one vigorous exercise session can alleviate your anxiety for hours. Doing regular exercise can be a long-term solution.
Listen to uplifting music
Have you ever had a song stuck in your head? I bet you have. A song can change your mood from positive to negative or vice versa. We can use this to help with our anxiety. It changes the inner conversation from negative to positive. Music is also known to reduce stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. As a result, you will find relief from your anxiety.
Dance to uplifting music
This is a combination of listening to music and exercise. Therefore more powerful than doing both of them individually. This not only engages your body but also changes the conversation in your head. This will help you relieve anxiety faster. Of all the tips for anxiety, this is the most entertaining one.
Sing a song
Singing helps you not only feel good but also decrease your level of anxiety. The reason behind it is that it changes your breathing pattern as well as your inner thought process. When you sing make sure you pick an uplifting song. Also, note that singing with people has been shown to be more effective in reducing anxiety than singing alone.
Watch a funny video
They say laughter is the best medicine. It is certainly true for anxiety. It doesn’t matter if you are watching a Sitcom or listening to stand up comedy, your anxiety level will instantly drop with laughter. Some of these tips for anxiety may be situational. Specially this one. Sometimes when you are too anxious or depressed this does not work. If that happens don’t go through video after video thinking that the next one will work. Sometimes using technology drains your energy and watching more will not give it back. If this is the case, do the breathing tip and then do something physical to get your energy back.
Take a walk
Walking is not only a good exercise but it also removes you from your regular environment in which anxiety is created. It also gives you a chance to connect with nature. Studies suggest that a 10 minute walk is as good as 45 minutes of vigorous exercise when it comes to controlling your anxiety. This is why taking a walk deserves a special mention on this list.
Countdown from 10 to 1
You may have been asked to count to 10 when you feel angry. It works for anxiety too but it works even better if you can count backwards from 10 to 1. Counting from 1 to 10 can be automatic. It can be done by your unconscious mind while your conscious mind drifts away into worrying. However, counting backwards from 10 to 1 requires you to use your conscious mind as well as your unconscious mind. By doing this the flow of anxiety provoking thoughts is interrupted. After this, I suggest you do something else that is relaxing to make sure that anxiety stays away for a while.
Follow the 3-3-3 rule
Look around and name three things you can see. Then name three things you can hear. Finally move three parts of your body. This is also similar to Counting backwards. It Breaks the flow of your thoughts that is anxiety provoking. Just like in the previous point after this, engage in something relaxing so that your thoughts do not flow back to anxiety.
Recommended Article: 6 Relaxation Techniques | How to Overcome Stress?
Long term tips for anxiety
The problem with short term tips for anxiety is that after a little while it returns. If you would like a long term solution here are 5 things you can start doing now.
Start doing things badly
Do you like to get things right? Make things perfect? Do you spend hours thinking about, what kind of obstacles you may have to face and how to handle them? This behavior causes anxiety. Perfectionism makes you feel that you do not have control over the situation. There are so many things that could go wrong.
But if you are one of those people who jump into action without thinking you not only get things done but also become free of anxiety. Make a decision to give up perfection. Instead of thinking about it, jump into action, decide to do it badly and improve along the way. There is a saying anything worth doing is worth doing badly. This also applies to decisions that you need to make. Whether it’s choosing what to wear or finding a place to live, make sure you do not spend hours going through every possible detail. Practice making fast decisions. It will help tone down anxiety. When I said tips for anxiety you weren’t expecting this, were you?
Recommended article: 12 reasons why perfectionism is the dumbest standard on earth.
Find a purpose beyond yourself
No matter how successful you are, you will not be fully satisfied until you feel like you are contributing to something bigger than yourself. It could be as simple as raising a child or something big like establishing peace on Earth. Whatever it is, it gives your life meaning. Plus, it gives you the courage to keep continuing through tough times. It also helps you to put your small mistakes into perspective. When you are truly contributing, small things like how you stumbled and fell down don’t really matter.
People with anxiety disorders think about the past and what went wrong. It could be what happened 10 minutes ago – perhaps how you stumbled and used the wrong word. Also what happened in your childhood and what a fool you were for behaving the way you did. Such self-criticism causes of anxiety.
If you had a friend pointing out everything that is wrong with your life all day long how would you feel about him? You would probably want to get rid of him. People with anxiety do this to themselves. The way to overcome it is to forgive yourself. Read a biography of an inspirational figure and see how many mistakes were made before achieving success. Everyone is prone to making mistakes. That is part of being human. Therefore forgiving yourself and not taking them very seriously is a must to overcome anxiety.
Change your thinking pattern
Anxiety is a result of a thinking pattern in which you expect bad things to happen to you. So eliminate phrases like “why does this always happen to me?” from your language. Practice mindfulness and reframe these thoughts every time they come up. Think “I have the power to overcome this” instead.
Practicing forgiveness is very important for this to work. If you beat yourself up every time you think something negative it will make things worse. Be patient. Expect negative thoughts to come. Sometimes you will not realize you are thinking negatively until an undesirable outcome arises. When this happens don’t beat yourself up for not catching it sooner. Be patient. As you do this you might feel it’s not working. Continue anyway. A few months later you will one day find yourself to be doing these naturally.
Improve your self esteem
The root cause of all your psychological problems is low self-esteem. Feeling that you are worthy can help you build confidence. It can give you a sense that no matter what comes your way you can handle it.
Start by using the phrase I am enough as an affirmation. Write it down and stick it in a place you can see every day. I have put it on the wallpaper of my phone and laptop. Also, add it to your thinking pattern. When you think something is not good enough, tell yourself “it’s enough, I did enough and I am enough”.
For example, if you cooked something and you feel it’s not good. Tell yourself it is good enough. If your mind argues – “It’s too spicy and it doesn’t look good” tell yourself that “I know but it’s still good enough”. The beauty of the phrase enough is that anything can be enough. One person can be happy with a few hundred dollars while another thinks a few thousand is enough. Then there are people who have millions and they don’t think it’s enough.
Do you find yourself unable or unwilling to follow through on the above mentioned tips for anxiety? Then focus on improving your self esteem. When your self esteem is low it interferes with your self improvement efforts. Fix this and everything else will become easier.
Anxiety is a deeply engraved issue that can not be fixed overnight after it goes out of control. Therefore, patients, nonjudgment and persistence are required to eliminate this problem. While these tips for anxiety are useful it is in no way a substitute for professional help.
Having said that, practicing these along with professional help can speed up your recovery. So use these tips for anxiety wisely and with time and effort, you can overcome anxiety issues.