Anxiety, what anxiety? Being anxious about certain things is a very normal part of life. However, if these thoughts are getting in the way of daily life, and consuming your brain, and taking up a lot of emotional bandwidth, it’s important that you learn how to manage it. Anxiety can show up in people differently. There are many different symptoms of anxiety, and it manifests in various ways for certain people.
Common symptoms are feeling restless, an increase in heart rate, hyperventilation, sweating, and difficulty falling asleep. I have struggled with Generalized Anxiety for years, and I have tried many coping mechanisms, so I’ve gathered tips and tricks that I felt helped me the most and can hopefully help you too! Continue on for Anxiety: 5 Top Ways to Effectively Deal with It!
1. Breathing Exercises Quickly Reduce Anxiety
Whenever I start to feel my heart beating faster, and my mind start to race about all the possible “what if” scenarios, and I don’t have the time to really take space for myself, I try to do breathing exercises.
Deep breaths help your body naturally calm down and can prevent panic attacks. There are many different types of breathing exercises, but my overall favorite is the box method. I breathe in for four seconds, hold for four, and then release for four. I do it until I feel relaxed, and find that by the end, I am in a much better headspace.
2. Challenging Your Thought
A common symptom of anxiety is when you start to think too deeply into things. This can arise when someone says something to you, in a social setting, or simply when you’re alone and just have a random thought.
These thoughts can drive you crazy especially if your anxiety won’t let you stop wondering. When this started happening to me, and I told my therapist, she simply told me to talk back to these thoughts in my head.
She also told me to ask myself when it arises if what I am worried about is a fact, meaning something proven, or if it is an opinion, meaning a view or judgment. When it isn’t a fact, you must tell yourself that it is an opinion, and these anxious thoughts most often are really all for nothing.
3. The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Method to Counter Anxiety
When anxiety comes, it is important to not let it interfere with the present and have these worrisome thoughts distract you from what you’re doing.
When I feel my anxiety is rising quickly, I use this method to shift my attention elsewhere, (nudging towards something motivational) and it brings me back to the moment.
The first thing is thinking of 5 things that you can see, then 4 things you can feel, after, 3 things you can hear, then 2 things you can smell, and lastly, 1 thing you can taste.
Using all of your senses and thinking about how your senses are interacting with the present time is a huge distraction from feeling anxious. It also shifts your focus away from what’s going on in your head, to reality. There’s also the 5-4-3-2-1 method popularized by Mel Robbins.
Exercising is probably the healthiest coping strategy. When you exercise your body releases endorphins that enhance your wellbeing and can truly, whether it be chemical or not, make you happy.
Working out also takes your mind off negative thoughts, because your brain is distracted and focused more on how your body is feeling.
It is important that you choose an exercise that you enjoy, otherwise you will only dread doing it. For some people it may be going to the gym and lifting, and for others it could mean going on a long walk and listening to a podcast, or even taking an exercise class.
There are so many options for different ways to incorporate exercise into your daily life, and trying new classes or workouts can be a fun challenge!
5. Participating in Daily Meditation
Meditating is a practice that I’ve picked up on that has truly helped me grow as a person, as well as get rid of my anxious thoughts.
Whether it be sitting in a quiet space for a few minutes with your eyes closed and deep breaths, or following a long or short guided meditation, it is a way to really find your inner peace.
During meditation, you focus your attention on the voice you’re listening to or to your surrounding area, and it can eliminate all the thoughts that crowd an anxious mind. There are days where I meditate and my mind won’t calm down, but I just acknowledge them and try to let them go for the time being.
There are also days where meditating 100% stops my mind from spiraling. It is a very healthy practice that can help you manage stress, focus in on the moment, lower your heart rate, as well as improve sleep.
Anxiety is an extremely common disorder, that unfortunately many people struggle with. There are many different levels and types, but you are never alone. These 5 tips have greatly improved my anxiety, although it took time and effort to figure out what worked for me and helped calm my mind and body.