Most of us know what it feels like to experience anxiety to some degree. But what should you do when your anxiety is starting to become a problem for you? Sometimes anxiety can contribute to feelings of helplessness and frustration. If that’s the case for you, this article can help you with how to start managing your anxiety in the moment, and knowing where to turn for help.
Symptoms of anxiety might include an increased heart rate, changes in breathing patterns, sweaty palms, feeling fearful or engaging in obsessive thinking, as well as restlessness or panic attacks. It’s important to note though that anxiety can take many forms. Often, it takes professional support to help identify, understand and manage anxiety properly so you should never hesitate to reach out for help.
If you can relate to some of those feelings of anxiety, this 4-step process may help you to recognise and manage your anxiety in the moment, giving you an opportunity to regain control and feel calm again:
Step 1: Breathe through it
Mastering your breathing can be a strong tool to combat moments of anxiety when you start to feel them creeping up. You might have noticed that sometimes feelings of anxiety can include a shortening of breath. In some cases, a simple shift in your mindset to focus on your breathing can help you. Breath in through your nose, concentrate on your lungs filling and expanding, then slowly exhale; this sends a signal to your mind that it’s okay to relax.
Step 2: Acknowledge your anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling that is created in your brain, and problematic anxiety occurs when your brain essentially tricks you in to feeling excessively worried or scared of something. If you’re anxious, try to accept that this is a feeling that is in your body and mind right now and try to be at peace with it. Being aware of how anxiety works can sometimes be more helpful than trying to fight it or run from it. Instead, it may help you to acknowledge and accept that anxiety is something you are feeling in this particular moment.
Step 3: Question those ‘worst case scenario’ thoughts
It can be easy for your thoughts to jump ahead of your reality, and often in anxious situations we start to imagine scenarios that are extremely negative. So it can be useful to interrupt those thoughts with a series of questions. For example, keep questions like ‘am I being realistic?’ or ‘if this happens, what would be so bad about that?’ at the ready. Sometimes just giving yourself the time to think through the worst-case scenario can help you to recognize how unlikely it is to occur, and can assist in warding off feelings of anxiety.
Step 4: Here and now
Focus on your senses: What can you hear? What colors can you see? Going through this process can interrupt spiralling thoughts of what might happen, and bring you back to what is happening, and to what you’re experiencing right now. Again, it is a simple but powerful tool when facing the kind of anxiety that can feed off the unhelpful ‘what if’ thoughts that can escalate when you’re experiencing anxiety.
Anxiety is difficult, and these tips are designed to help you in managing anxiety-inducing situations. However, if you find you are already grappling with anxiety, it’s important to know that there are many professionals who can help you.
If you’re still struggling to manage your anxiety with these tips then you’ll need to find professionals in your area that can help you treat your anxiety naturally. There are many drug free approaches to mental health your aim should be to solve your anxiety rather than mask the issue.