Anxiety is a normal part of life. It’s part of your self-preservation programming that stops you from doing things that could do you serious harm. Unfortunately, while a little anxiety is normal, too much anxiety can be paralyzing.
Here are 3 practical strategies that you can use to help you dial down anxiety, relax your mind, regain control of your thoughts, and do whatever needs to be done.
#1 FOCUS ON THE HERE AND NOW
Anxiety is often caused by worrying about what COULD happen. In many instances, our imaginations run wild and conjure up any number of worse case scenarios. "What if" are two of the most anxiety-triggering words in the English language.
The next time you feel your anxiety levels rising because you are thinking about the future, reel yourself back into the here and now. Ask yourself: What is happening right now? Am I safe? Is there something I need to do right now? If not, try to let your anxiety go and make a commitment to address whatever is on your mind later, when those worries will not be so impactful.
#2 TALK IT OUT
Your mind is a big place – metaphorically speaking. It can store and process vast amounts of data. It’s the original supercomputer. Unfortunately, it’s also a pretty good echo chamber. Small worries can easily turn into loud, overwhelming sources of anxiety when they are left to bounce around inside your noggin! Just one, small, negative thought can quickly turn into all you can think about.
You can rob these negative thoughts of all their power by letting them out into the world. The best way to do this is to talk about them with someone you trust. Talking about your anxieties often makes them seem much less important. Having someone else's point of view can also help. Many of the things that make us anxious are entirely illogical and unwarranted, and it often takes a third party to point that out.
#3 REMIND YOURSELF OF THE TIMES YOU HAVE OVERCOME ADVERSITY
If you are reading this, you have already overcome adversity in your life. You’ve been out of your comfort zone, risked your reputation, taken chances, or even put your life on the line. Guess what? You’re okay!
The next time you feel your anxiety levels starting to rise, remember that you have overcome adversity in the past and came out on top. There is no reason to think that you can’t do it again. That adversity doesn’t even have to be in the same sphere – the fact you have conquered and prevailed in the past means that you have the intestinal fortitude to do it again.
Anxious because of an interview? Remind yourself that you did a skydive and survived to tell the tale. Nervous about an exam? Remember that time you set a personal best in the gym despite having no sleep the night before. Use those successes to remind yourself that you can cope with whatever life throws at you, and your anxiety is entirely misplaced.