There are different forms of anxiety, with some being more complex and others lighter. For example, some may worry that they will not be successful, and others that they are too successful, such as the singer Adele.
Once during a Rolling Stones interview, Adele admitted that she has stage fright and tries to avoid large audiences. This successful, charismatic personality has confirmed how she once attempted to flee a concert in Amsterdam through the fire exit because of her anxiety. To quote her words, “I just gotta bear it. But I don’t like touring. I have anxiety attacks a lot.”
Adele is just one of many who face this problem. Thanks to epidemiological surveys, we know that one-third of the U.S. population suffers from anxiety disorders, which often take the form of increased heart rate and difficulty breathing.
As the studies show, anxiety is a fairly common problem. If you feel anxious, try some of these anxiety management methods.
5 steps to calm down your anxiety:
1. The first step—Get out of bed.
Those who have faced anxiety know how difficult it is to get out of bed. Researchers have shown that a moving body copes with anxiety more easily, so get up as soon as possible. Or, if you can, go outside.
Being outdoors will surely make you feel better, especially if you spend time in the park or walking by a lake. Walking helps you let go of anxious thoughts. Research convincingly shows that low-energy activities while sitting can significantly increase anxiety. So if you feel an immediate wave of anxiety, try to get up and move a little!
2. Take a deep breath and exhale. Do it more than once!
Breathing is a very simple and effective way to reduce anxiety. Clinical psychologist, Marla W. Deibler, suggests eliminating stress by focusing on and managing your breathing. Her method includes eight repetitive exercises. If you feel a wave of anxiety approaching, slowly inhale while counting to four, then hold your breath and exhale, also counting to four.
Try it and pay attention to your breathing. Count how many times you inhale and exhale.
3. Ask yourself why you feel anxious—Talk with your inner voice.
Many things can arouse anxiety, for example, criticism and humiliating jokes. Those who experience bullying at school or work know how their hearts beat faster just from the thought of having to go where bullies gather. Over time, those who frequently experience harassment become accustomed to blaming themselves for various things and often hear negative inner voices.
The inner voices are not just about bullying. Some inner voices remind us of past difficulties, while others are cause for concern about the future. To lessen the anxiety this provokes, psychologists suggest talking with your inner voice more often. Listening to your inner voice is a great way to understand yourself. But how do you communicate with an inner voice that reminds you of your flaws by stating negative opinions about you?
Answer different questions, such as “Is it really worth worrying about? What do I gain by continuously worrying?”
You can also ask yourself, “What can I do to improve my well-being? Maybe I can watch YouTube videos about anxiety. After all, there are many free tips for people who have successfully managed to deal with this problem.”
It’s normal for you to talk to yourself and hear your inner voice, but sometimes people encounter an annoying negative voice that encourages them to do bad things to themselves or others. In this case, you should contact a specialist, psychologist, or hotline as soon as possible.
4. Look at your surroundings and try to describe five things around you.
This exercise may not be an easy one, but it will allow you to focus. Start by counting down from five to one: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Doing this will enable you to return to the current moment. Then, list five items around you—touch four things such as your sweater, bracelet, watch, or ring. Then, listen to three different sounds, like a clock ticking, the air conditioning, or the sound of your refrigerator. Now, try to smell two things. Perhaps you just brewed a cup of coffee; if so, breathe in its aroma. Or, if you happen to be burning aromatic incense, take in and appreciate the fragrance that emanates from it and is swirling around the atmosphere. Finally, savor the taste that you can perceive in your mouth. Write everything down on paper. This exercise is sure to help you distract your attention from anxiety.
5. Call a friend and wish her a nice day. I know it’s hard, but it helps.
Having contact with people is very important. Make a list of five people to call when you feel unwell. Ideally, they should be people with whom you can freely share your sentiments of stress or anxiousness. It doesn’t have to be a call; it can also be a text message. The most important thing is keeping in touch.
What to do if you feel anxious too often.
People who have experienced intense anxiety should consult a psychologist or other specialist. With the help of a mental health professional, you can gain a clear understanding of what you need to do. They can point you in the right direction. For example, they may recommend cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which has been repeatedly tested and proven effective. However, for those who have not yet seen a specialist or have no other options, there are a few things they can do.
a) Use breathing exercises more often.
Follow the advice in step 2 and try the mentioned breathing exercise!
b) Spend more time with yourself and watch less news.
Research has shown that the news causes tremendous anxiety. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) also suggests limiting your exposure to the news and social media.
To reduce your anxiety, exercise and eat healthier. It is vital to include as many vegetables and fruits as possible in your diet—your mood and overall well-being depend on the quality of the food you eat. It’s best to create a weekly “menu” and follow it for the best results.
d) Don’t consume alcohol.
Yes, alcohol helps you calm down and provides a distraction, but it only does so for a short time. If you have been drinking alcohol, remember that the good mood does not last long. After 10 to 20 minutes, you start to feel its side effects: panic, anxiety, and symptoms of depression. Even small amounts of alcohol are detrimental to your well-being. Anyone who has been drunk before can attest to the effects alcohol has on mood and the anxiety it provokes. If drinking becomes a habit, panic attacks become more frequent, so alcohol consumption should be taken very seriously. If you suffer from anxiety, don’t drink alcohol.
e) Sleep more—make sure you get quality rest.
Research shows that lack of sleep can affect brain function, just as alcohol does. The length of sleep needed is unique to each person, but resting for the right amount of time for you is of utmost importance. After all, you will be able to do much more after getting quality rest!
About the Author: Alex Monaco is a blogger and digital marketer. He is the creator of the Grenade Method and 3W System of Change. Alex is a founder of a spectacular marketing agency, s-o-c-i-a-l.com, and the online coaching system known as Onbotraining. He helps people to be successful, using the most effective ways to achieve their goals.
- Official Website: www.alexmonaco.net
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Image by Comfurtn at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
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