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A 5-step Approach for Managing Anxiety

5 Steps to Manage Anxiety
All of us are thwarted by anxiety at one point or another. The good news is, our brains can change. The next time you find yourself in a sudden moment of overwhelmingness, try these tips for minimizing your stress.

ANXIETY CAN BE UNCONSCIOUS.

You might think of anxiety as a physical feeling, but there is a kind of anxiety called conscious anxiety, like when your heart races or you’re sweating or trembling. There’s also a more subtle form of anxiety, that’s more unconscious and you can detect unconscious anxiety when it begins to disrupt your thinking, decision-making, and creativity. In these cases, awareness is key.

TAKE A BREAK FROM SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is a great way to keep in touch with your friends, but it can also contribute to your feelings of anxiousness. Seeing the one-sided view of others’ lives can give you a distorted view of your stress. Taking a break from social media or limiting your exposure on social media per day can help you see a marked improvement in your overall emotional wellness. Ask yourself these questions about your time on social media to determine how productive you’re being.

  • Are you being your own person or are you imitating someone else’s life.
  • Do you remember when did you even picked up your device?
  • When did everything start getting on your nerves?
  • Do you miss your friends or just your timeline?
  • Are you enjoying what you’re doing? Or are you just posting about enjoying it?

Instead of social media, try watching a movie and kicking back, and relaxing instead. It could help you take your mind off of things.

SELF-TALK CAN HELP RELAX YOUR MIND.

A mindfulness practice can be easy to brush off, but there’s research that shows it can be good for our brains. An easy way to be more mindful is to focus on your breath. And if you’re spiraling, gently check in with yourself. A reality check is all about what you do when your brain starts catastrophizing things.Try self-talk like, ‘This too shall pass.’ When you use this form of self-talk, it relaxes your brain and all of the associated structures that are making your anxiety worse.”

USE YOUR BRAIN POWER WISELY.

The next step is to identify things that you can control, know the things that you can’t control, and understand the difference. So many of us get up in the morning and watch the news, and there are so many things that are distressing, but many of these things we can’t actually control. In these cases, use your brain’s attentional units wisely. One good place to start is learning to say no. “In the course of a day, a lot of us are on autopilot, and when people ask us to do things, we say, ‘Yes, I’ll do that.’ The reality is that if you learn how to say no, this will help you feel less overwhelmed and it will also help you feel like you have a greater sense of integrity.

FOCUS ON THE SOLUTION RATHER THAN THE PROBLEM.

When you’re caught in an anxiety loop, it might be hard to see the answer to a stressful situation. When you don’t know what the solution is, what you do is go inward toward imagination. Imagine what a solution might be. Every time you give your brain data about what a solution might be, it behaves like a GPS and starts to create a particular direction toward that solution. Eventually the solution may become clearer.

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