We all feel some anxiety from time to time. We may notice it increases in certain situations such as giving a speech or presentation or taking a test. Some people may have awareness that they feel more anxious in social situations such as parties or social gatherings. Whatever the cause, it’s important to realize that some anxiety is good for us. However too much anxiety can feel unnerving and can be distressing to the point of being debilitating for some. If you are someone who suffers from anxiety either situationally or on a daily basis, here’s some ideas worth considering.
1. Tune inward. Notice the initial signs of anxious feelings so you can intervene more quickly before your anxiety feels so big and overwhelming that it seems to spiral out of control.
2. Breathe Deeply. Practicing deep breathing- inhaling through your nose, exhaling out your mouth- can make a huge difference in helping your anxious brain feel calm again. Practice this daily so that when you really need to feel more calm, it becomes your automatic go to.
3. Try Tapping. Also known as EMT, Emotional Freedom Technique, Tapping is easy to learn and nearly anyone can utilize it as an intervention when feeling increasing stress or anxiety. There are many books and videos to help you learn how to do this.
4. Give your anxiety a name. Often just naming ongoing anxiety can on some level take away the power it seems to have over us. Giving it a silly or weird name can help disarm the anxious feelings by distracting you with a laugh.
5. Catch your rumination. Rather than letting your brain keep circling around the track of “what if’s” nip those repetitive thoughts by listening to music, journaling, engaging in meditation or by shifting your thoughts into something more accurate.
Since feeling anxious from time to time is part of the human condition, it is important to differentiate from having healthy and occasional anxiety such as the feeling we get when trying something new, or the feelings that accompany when we stretch ourselves vs. anxious feelings that interfere with our ability to feel relaxed, at ease and enjoying life.
If anxiety is becoming problematic for you, reach out to a mental health professional to get help.