Everybody has to deal with some anxiety and stress in his/ her life. What makes some people more successful and able to lead a more balanced life is their ability to manage anxiety. It is the strategy that they use to cope – consciously or unconsciously, that makes a big difference.
Anxiety can take a toll on your life if you do not recognize the symptoms and immediately take steps to gain control back. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce anxiety. This article will look at a few of those methods. Once you start using them on a consistent basis, you will see that you can take charge and effectively manage the level of anxiety in your life.
The first step is to identify the triggers. Once you learn what triggers your anxiety, you will be better equipped to control it. For many people, workplace stress plays a key role in triggering high levels of anxiety in their everyday lives. If that is the case for you, immediately discuss this issue with your manager. The more you keep this bottled up, the more damage it will do to your system.
Learn to stay focused on the present. Remember that your past is nothing but stored memories. Your past is never equal to your future. You may have failed once or a hundred times. This does not mean that you will fail in the future. All you have to do is to do things differently from the past and you will get a new result. Similarly, the future is nothing but your imagination of how something may happen. Your imagination is just that – your imagination, nothing more. It is not real. So finally all you really have is the present and believe me, that’s all you need to take control of your life.
Focus on the present and the future will take care of itself. Obsessing over your past problems or fears about your future is nothing but a waste of time and vital energy. All it does is to overwhelm you, cause worry, and trigger anxiety attacks.
Focus on the task at hand and suspend all other thoughts. This takes a little practice. But the rewards can be great and life changing. One way to start practicing this is to imagine a red traffic light or a big red stop sign every time you catch yourself thinking negatively about the past or the future. Immediately take a deep breath, and think of where you actually are now and bring the focus back to what you are doing. Initially, this exercise may feel like a pain to do and the instances where you catch yourself may be few. But stick with it – do it mechanically, just like a physical exercise, without any expectation of results. The reason is that, any expectation of results can again trigger worries and anxiety. Before you know, this exercise will become second nature and you will start doing this unconsciously. When this happens, you will have set up an automatic system to handle anxiety effectively.
Tackling anxiety takes a comprehensive approach. While the method I mentioned earlier will help you eliminate anxiety over a period of time and give you long-term benefits, if you experience high anxiety levels consistently, it is essential that you approach a competent medical practitioner immediately. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. Treat this simply as another medical issue, like maybe a headache or fever, and take the help of an expert. Doctors can prescribe medications to bring your anxiety levels down immediately. This also gives you enough time to work out a long – term strategy to tackle this issue. If you have already been going to a doctor, and it is not helping, consider approaching a different one immediately. Medical advice, along with lifestyle changes like exercising more and changing your diet can make a huge difference in your life.
Another factor that can play a big role is your physiology. Your physiology is deeply connected to your psychology. When you sit somewhere brooding, your shoulders slumped, your breath shallow and your eyes looking down, you are signaling to your mind that you are feeling anxious or depressed and your mind will reciprocate by flooding you with worries and negative thoughts and memories.
The moment you notice that you are becoming a little anxious in any situation, change your physiology – sit or stand straight, look up, breath deeply and if possible, distract yourself by thinking of something funny. If the situation allows, smile a big goofy smile. If you are doing something, focus on the job and act “as if” you are absolutely confident. Send powerful physiological signals to your brain that you are in charge of the situation and are ready to act decisively.
Learn meditation or join a yoga group (if possible with your friends).Yoga and meditation can help release negative thoughts and emotions, thereby clearing your mind and helping you focus on the positive. Other physical activities like working out regularly at a gym can also help you in gaining positive energy and reducing anxiety.
Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine. Practice smiling more and laughing deeply. Create a list of all the good things in your life – no matter how small. Write it all down. The mental activity of identifying all the good things and the physical activity of writing will immediately force your mind to focus on the positive. If done daily, you will see a dramatic reduction in the level of anxiety that you experience in your life.
A major factor that can contribute to high levels of anxiety is daily stress. By learning to manage/ reduce daily stress, you can easily gain more control over your overall level of anxiety. Start by looking at small things in your environment that you can tackle first. Learn to delegate tasks – both at work and at home. Trust in others’ ability to handle these tasks. Initially, it may seem like a big risk to let go of all that control. But once you get the hang of it, you will begin to enjoy life a lot more. Try to find some time to relax and unwind every day.
Try not to keep any bills pending as these can lead to a lot of anxiety later. Late payments tend to increase stress levels. Make sure that you pay every bill on time. Then sit back and relax.
A powerful tool that can help you in reducing anxiety, both in the short term and long term, is hypnosis. You could either approach a competent therapist or you could learn self hypnosis depending on your specific situation. There are also downloadable hypnosis programs available on the internet that can help you deal with anxiety. Regular use of these, combined with the points mentioned above can help you get rid of anxiety and lead a fulfilling and successful life.