Help Starts In Your Head

Anyone who struggles with anxiety knows about the internal monologue that can start to spiral downward when you get stressed. Questions, fears, uncertainty, confusion – that little voice in your head can get out of control and make you lose focus, or even fall into the beginning of a panic attack.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are some simple tricks you can memorize and use quickly to trick – and retrain – your brain back into a place of calm and control.

Anxiety doesn’t come out of the blue. When you have anxiety attacks, it’s often because your mind has a tendency to spiral into negative thoughts – often without your control. Sometimes you can control this anxiety by keeping these thoughts at bay, and learning to dismiss triggers that cause you anxiety.

For many, this is easier said than done. But there are many different strategies you can try that may be effective. These include:

A Question Checklist

When you feel severe anxiety, have a checklist on hand of questions to ask yourself about that anxiety experience. The longer the checklist, the more you’ll find that your thoughts become more realistic. Questions that you can use include:

  • Is there a reason to believe something is wrong?
  • What evidence is there that something is wrong?
  • Is there a chance I’m blowing this out of proportion?

Affirmations

Affirmations are not for everyone, but those that do use them find them to be very beneficial. Affirmations are things that you say to yourself to make yourself feel better. These include:

  • I’m okay. This is just anxiety and I will get over it.
  • I have a great life and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
  • My anxiety won’t control me.

Getting Used to Physical Symptoms

Many of the thoughts that affect anxiety are not thoughts per se, but reactions to physical experiences. This is especially true if you experience panic attacks, where a physical sensation can trigger severe anxiety and panic. By getting used to the symptoms when you’re not experiencing anxiety, your mind stops associating them with your panic attacks. Examples include:

  • Dizziness – If feeling dizzy causes a panic attack, spin around in a chair and let yourself feel more dizzy.
  • Rapid Heartbeat – If a rapid heartbeat causes panic attacks, run in place as fast as you can until your heartbeat speeds up.

The latter is known as “exposure therapy” and there are countless ways to create exercises that will habituate you to your panic attack triggers.
– via www.calmclinic.com

A Unique Solution For Your Unique Scenario

This is a fact of life – no two people’s anxiety is the same. Since that’s true, it’s also a fact that no two people need the exact same solution. For some, encouraging words and deep breathes are the key to regaining control. For others, exercise is the most important step.

If you haven’t yet found the right combination of techniques, just keep trying. With each new attempt, you’re investing in your health, and investing in yourself.

Consider trying a few of these ideas from doctors who specialize in anxiety to see what makes the biggest difference for you.

Sleep well.

Not getting enough sleep can trigger anxiety. If you’re having trouble sleeping, tonight, engage in a relaxing activity before bedtime, such as taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music or taking several deep breaths.

And, if you’re like many people with anxiety whose brains start buzzing right before bed, jot down your worries earlier in the day for 10 to 15 minutes, or try a mental exercise like thinking of fruits with the same letter.

Stay connected to others.

“Social support is vital to managing stress,” Deibler said. Today, call a loved one, schedule a Skype date or go to lunch with a close friend. “Talking with others can do a world of good.” Another option is to get together and engage in an activity that improves your anxiety, such as taking a walk, sitting on the beach or going to a yoga class.

Avoid caffeine.

Managing anxiety is as much about what you do as what you don’t do. And there are some substances that exacerbate anxiety. Caffeine is one of those substances. As Corboy said, “The last thing people with anxiety need is a substance that makes them feel more amped up, which is exactly what caffeine does.”

Do something you enjoy.

Engaging in enjoyable activities helps to soothe your anxiety. For instance, today, you might take a walk, listen to music or read a book, Deibler said.

Take a break.

It’s also helpful to build breaks into your day. As Deibler said, this might be a “simple change of pace or scenery, enjoying a hobby, or switching ‘to-do’ tasks.” “Breaking from concerted effort can be refreshing.”

Problem-solve.

Deibler suggested considering how you can address the stressors that are causing your anxiety. Today, make a list of these stressors and next to each one, jot down one or two solutions.

Accept your anxiety.

“If you really want to effectively manage your anxiety, the key is to accept it,” Corboy said. This might sound counterintuitive. But anxiety, “in and of itself,” isn’t the real problem. Instead, it’s our attempts at controlling and eliminating it, he said. “Not accepting these unwanted inner experiences is the actual source of so much of our self-induced suffering.”

Accepting anxiety doesn’t mean “resign[ing] ourselves to a life of anxious misery. It simply means that we are better off recognizing and fully accepting the existence of anxiety and other uncomfortable emotional states that are inevitable, but transitory,” Corboy said.

So if you experience anxiety today, simply observe it, Deibler said. “Think of it like a wave of the ocean; allow it to come in, experience it, and ride it out.”
– via Psych Central

Do you struggle with anxiety? What has been the best technique for getting it under control?