Are You Feeling Anxious? 7 Effective Ways to Overcome Anxiety

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Are You Feeling Anxious? 7 Effective Ways to Overcome Anxiety

Everyone has worries and stresses in their life. For some people anxiety can be a problem that rears its head from time to time, during stressful seasons or when facing major life changes. For others worry and fear about the future can feel like an ever-present part of life and something that really interferes with your ability to cope. Are you feeling anxious?

Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of; it doesn’t mean you are “weak” or “cowardly”. Often high levels of worry are brought about by thought patterns and ways of seeing the world which you might not even be aware of. Luckily you don’t need to be a psychologist to spot and treat the signs of anxiety in your life.  Here are 7 effective ways to overcome anxiety and tips get you started.

#1 Don’t Avoid It

Whenever you feel an unpleasant emotion like anxiety, anger, guilt or sadness, it can be tempting to try and avoid facing it. And so you push it down and you tell yourself you can’t think like that.

This is probably the least helpful thing you can do if you suffer from anxiety! Trying to block out your thoughts makes them stay around and affect you for longer. Worse, it can make you feel ashamed of your own feelings, which is a sure way to give yourself self-esteem and confidence issues.

Instead of fighting an impossible and costly battle against your own emotions, learn to accept them. When you feel anxious, tell yourself that it’s totally fine to feel that way. Accepting the worry as part of yourself will make it less of an issue and actually help you get rid of it.

#2 Exercise

There are very few health problems-mental or physical- that can’t be combated by getting a bit of fresh air and exercise. Using your muscles releases endorphins into the brain- chemicals which reduce pain and give you a natural boost of positivity and energy.

Exercise therefore reduces feelings of stress and anxiety while giving you a sense of accomplishment. It also increases your willpower- that ability to endure difficult circumstances without letting them affect you. You don’t have to become a fitness fanatic- just twenty minutes at the gym or a quick run during your lunch break can work wonders for your anxiety levels.

#3 Break Worry Cycles

People with anxiety tend to get caught up in a web of worries so that even minor issues can escalate into full blown catastrophe. “Did I leave the oven on? What if the house catches fire? Are we going to be homeless?? What if I have to live on the street for the rest of my life?”

If you find yourself getting hung up on escalating worries the best thing to do is break the cycle. The easy way to do this is simply to focus your attention on something else- bring your mind back to the moment so that you can’t drift off into worries about the future.

If this is a real challenge to do and you do find yourself constantly worrying about little things like leaving the oven on or locking the door it could be a sign that you should seek treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

#4 Tidiness

Never underestimate the benefits of a tidy house on your mind. Tidiness reduces stress, improves your self esteem and makes it easier to find things when you really need them. Practice putting your house in order and your mind will follow.

#5 Reduce Unknowns

Anxiety can make the future seem like a big black hole in your mind that sucks in all your other thoughts. The trick is to reduce the amount of “unknowns” in your life so that the black hole gets smaller and smaller.

This links back to not avoiding things. The more you hide from something, the less you know about it, and the more your fear grows. Facing the source of your anxiety will more often than not prove that there’s very little to be afraid of.

#6 Focus on Success

Fear and social anxiety are rooted in a tendency to pay attention to negative possibilities and imagine things always going wrong. Instead, try shifting your focus to the positives. Focus on how things could end up going perfectly and all your hard work could pay off. Imagine the pride and satisfaction you’ll feel when all your plans come to fruition!

We’re not suggesting you delude yourself or give yourself egomania. But fear and hopefulness can’t share the same headspace. So the more you focus on success the better your chances of reaching it become.

#7 Relaxation

People with anxiety can often feel like they can’t switch off from their worries. You may even feel guilty about spending time on yourself when there are so many things to worry about and so many things that need sorting out!

The best remedy for this is to be very deliberate about doing fun things and spending time in relaxation. Don’t see your down time as an optional extra- it’s a vital part of your routine. Allowing yourself to unwind at the end of the day makes you better able to deal with the stresses and pressures of tomorrow. So go out, see your friends, do fun things, and create a lifestyle that’s so full of fun that there’s no room for anxiety!

Conclusion

Constant anxiety doesn’t have to become your “normal” and you don’t have to live with its effects. These seven steps will give you some ideas as to how you can immediately reduce the effect of anxiety on your life. If you are still concerned about the toll worry is taking on your mind you can always seek profession help overcoming anxiety and stress.

Angus Munro is a registered clinical psychologist and director of Angus Munro Psychology in Sydney. He excels in evidence-based therapies for a comprehensive range of Emotional and psychological challenges. One of his passions is engaging, educating and helping people work through all manner of mental health issues to live their best life.

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