When you have anxiety, it can feel like a crushing weight on your shoulders. You are afraid of everything. The thought of doing many things can cause you to think about the worst case scenarios possible. Because of this, you may begin to feel like there is danger all around you.
Learning how to feel safe in your own skin, and to know whether your fears are well-founded or not can go a long way towards getting your anxiety in check.
According to The Mayo Clinic, some common symptoms of Anxiety include:
Feeling nervous, restless or tense
Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
Having an increased heart rate
Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
Feeling weak or tired
Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
Having trouble sleeping
Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
Having difficulty controlling worry
Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
If you have these symptoms for more than two weeks, and they are interfering with your work, school or relationships, you may need to seek treatment for an anxiety disorder. Working with a therapist can help you unpack your anxiety symptoms and learn how to live a full life in spite of anxiety.
Coping With Anxiety
Whether you are in therapy or not, there are ways that you can cope with anxiety on your own as well. These coping skills can help you any time of the day when you begin to feel anxious, so that you can move on with your day and focus more easily. Learning to cope on your own can help you feel stronger and less fearful as well, since coping skills provide a sense of self-efficacy.
To calm down in the moment if you are feeling anxious, Healthline recommends:
1. Question your thought pattern
2. Practice focused, deep breathing
3. Use aromatherapy
5. Grounding techniques
In order to get back into a calm space mentally, it can be helpful to start with deep breathing or another grounding technique. This way, you are ready to start focusing on how to feel better about your fear more long-term.
When you begin to ask yourself if your fears are really likely to happen, you can begin to realize that most of the things you are worried about are never going to happen. This may seem difficult at first, but you can begin to gather evidence about whether something is likely to be true.
If you find yourself coping with either intrusive thoughts or limiting beliefs on a regular basis, then reality testing can be very helpful to combat them. This involves walking thorough your fear, and asking how likely it is to come true. Most of the time, it isn't very likely at all. Once you realize this, you are likely to feel quite a bit better.
In order to cope with your anxiety on a more long-term basis, Healthline recommends:
1. Identify and learn to manage your triggers
2. Try therapy
3. Ask your doctor about medications
4. Do a daily or routine meditation
5. Keep a journal
7. Staying active
8. Diet and supplements
As you work with your therapist, they may reinforce certain coping strategies, and help you determine what is right for you. Finding something that works may be a little bit different for everyone. What works for me may not be the best thing for you.
Personally, I have been doing yoga for years to help with my anxiety. Meditation and mindfulness can also be helpful. They all help you feel grounded within the present moment. By focusing on the present, we help to separate our thoughts about fears of the future, and bad things that could happen.
The more you learn to calm your mind on a daily basis, the easier it will become to separate yourself from anxious thoughts, and to realize that they aren't true. Realizing that most of your fears are unfounded is a big step towards letting go of their persistent hold on you.
It is also helpful if you avoid too much caffeine or nicotine, as both of these can make your anxiety worse. Any stimulant can have this effect, so it is best to limit your coffee or soda intake as much as possible to limit the negative effects.
You may also find that walking in nature can have a calming effect on your mind. When you get outside, being in green or blue spaces, especially in the sunlight, can be very healing. Taking time to exercise outside has many benefits, and can greatly help to reduce your anxiety.
Read more on the blog about coping with anxiety: