Do you constantly get worked up about something or the other – be it a work presentation, your relationship or even about a party you need to attend? You have days when you find your heart pounding while you sweat profusely and wonder what is it that you’re really experiencing – is this an anxiety attack or am I just stressed, you may wonder.
While both stress and anxiety have similar mental and physical symptoms, the difference lies in the fact that stress is short-term whereas an anxiety disorder is a sustained state of mind which tends to remain even in the absence of a triggering situation.
If you find yourself experiencing the latter, you might be suffering from some form of an anxiety disorder. Fortunately, there are effective ways of coping with anxiety.
Before you panic or shun this thought, understand that you are not alone in this battle. As per a recent study, anxiety has become the number one mental health issue in North America, with one-third of the North American adult population experiencing anxiety issues. The first step to cope with anxiety is to accept it and work on it proactively.
Fortunately, you can help heal your anxiety. It is not a life sentence or a curse. It may mean you have to search a little harder for techniques, tools, and things that help you cope with and relieve your anxiety. It's possible to transform from an anxious person, to a calm and confident person.
Here are 6 powerful ways to cope with anxiety:
1. Don’t Fight your Thoughts
How many times have you desperately tried to get rid of those negative thoughts, thinking it will get better only to realize that it has gotten worse?
Accept this – fighting your thoughts won’t get you anywhere. What’s important is how you choose to react to your thoughts.
Do you want to make those worries your reality or look at them as just another thought and let them pass? The choice is yours.
Next time you are up at night worrying about your future, observe your thoughts and emotions instead of hanging on to them and letting them take over your life.
2. Practice Mindfulness
If you notice, anxious thoughts either stem from past regrets or fear of what the future beholds. When you actually practice living in the present and being mindful – you realize there is so much negativity you can surpass. You can instead focus on what you're grateful for, and what you're excited about in the future, instead of what you're worried about.
However, living in the moment is not always easy. Your mind will take you places but with regular practice, you can tame your mind to live in the present.
Even incorporating small changes like savoring your meals while eating, enjoying the surroundings while taking a walk or even something as simple as focusing on your breathing when everything else fails, is a great start to being mindful and staying in the moment.
After all, the present is all we have – the best you can do is enjoy it while it lasts. Plus, the more you are in the present, the less likely you are to be worried about anything off in the future.
3. Start Journaling
Maintaining a journal for your thoughts is a very effective tool to cope with any sort of anxiety. Do not look at it as a duty. Look at it as an outlet to express your thoughts and emotions unabashedly and accept them as they come.
Journaling is hugely underrated but when you get into the practice you realize how therapeutic it can be. Write the way you think - about what’s bothering you, the reasons behind it, your fears and what you think you should do. You may begin to notice, your fears diminish, once you write and work them out on paper.
While some might find comfort in having an anonymous blog, there will be others who would prefer keeping a handwritten journal or typing into their phone. So, choose the medium that best suits you and write away to organize your thoughts and cope with anxiety better.
4. Find What Makes You Calm (and Keep Searching Until Your Discover What Does)
Everyone has different methods to find their calm and relax. Whether it’s watching a good movie, reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating, or any form of exercise– it is important to identify what soothes you and practice it when you are feeling overwhelmed or battling anxious thoughts.
It doesn’t matter if you are experiencing this on your bed at night or are in the middle of a bustling party – what’s important is taking some time out and focusing your attention on doing something that helps you relax.
5. Speak to Someone
It’s enough that you are suffering from anxiety, don’t make it worse by forcing yourself to deal with it alone. Your mental health matters – reach out to someone you can trust in your family, friend circle or find an experienced therapist who can help and talk to them about what you are experiencing.
Sharing your emotions is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it takes a huge amount of courage to get out there and voice what you are going through.
By speaking to someone about it, you might get a different perspective, get reassurance or even find comfort by just opening up. Don’t let anxiety push you to feel alone. Sometimes, even the feeling of being heard can do wonders to your state of mind.
6. Follow a Healthy Routine
Apart from dealing with your thoughts, you need to also focus on leading a healthy lifestyle because your mental and physical health are connected.
Set a routine for yourself which includes physical exercise, having a balanced diet, and getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep. You can also start a meditation routine to calm anxiety. You'll be bound to see an improvement in your mental health.
By doing certain things every single day, they become a habit and you find yourself spending lesser time worrying and feeding negative thoughts.
By Adela Belin
Adela Belin is the Head of Digital Marketing at Writers Per Hour. She creates content surrounding marketing with a focus on social media and digital marketing. Feel free to contact Adela on LinkedIn.
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