Anxiety inflicts all of us on a regular basis.
Whether you experience the type of anxiety that leaves you frozen in your room for days at a time, or the subtler cases exhibited only in nail-biting and teeth-gnashing, you are more than familiar with the symptoms anxiety can cause: shallow breathing, sweaty palms, a racing heart—these are all caused by the “fight or flight” response going into overdrive, activating several responses at once.
Melanie Greenberg wants to help you beat that anxiety away.
A Ph.D. cognitive-behavior therapist who has been treating patients with anxiety for over the last 15 years, in Psychology Today Greenberg describes 6 proven and effective techniques that she regularly introduces to her anxiety-ridden patients.
We’ve summarized them below:
1) Face Your Fears
It may be cliché, but one of the best things you can do for your anxiety is to simply face your fears.
By pushing yourself into situations that make you anxious and gradually becoming comfortable with the situation, you can melt away the anxiety slowly over time. Familiarity is the key towards moving forward.
2) Shift Focus from Your Fears to Your Values
Anxiety is when we’re too caught up in what we fear, and thus to ease your anxiety, you must loosen the grip fear has over you.
ACT, or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, teaches you to accept that fear is a part of life, and therefore we shouldn’t let it control us.
Turn your focus away from worrying about your fears, and towards the idea of living out your values.
3) Breathe and Relax
One exercise that is so simple yet so easily forgotten is to simply escape from your situation and just breathe.
By mindfully breathing and relaxing the tension in our muscles, we automatically calm down, mentally and physically. Let your nervous system naturally put an end to your worries.
4) Think About the Threat
Often when we are anxious, it’s because we are faced with a sizable dilemma and we are afraid of the outcome.
However, most of the time the outcome isn’t nearly as bad as we assume. You just need time to step back and reevaluate the issue properly.
5) Become Mindful of What You Are Doing
Anxiety blinds us from the rest of the world, and even from ourselves. We lose track of our reactions and responses, emotionally and physically.
Recognize your actions, and ask yourself how necessary they actually are, if at all. This will soothe your panic and help you analyze whether you are acting rationally.
What does this mean? It means solving the issue that happened. Anxiety isn’t always an overreaction; sometimes bad things do happen.
But if that’s the case, then it’s time to pick yourself up and fix it. Take the appropriate steps and measures to right what has been wronged; recognize that as bad as the situation may have been, it wasn’t the end of the world.