How to Overcome Anxiety

Anxiety has been around as long as humankind has been on the planet. While our ancestors constantly needed to worry about protecting themselves from animals, these days, human anxiety tends to relate more to modern stresses such as interviews and presentations. Here is a collection of tricks that have been researched to help in overcoming anxiety.

Spend time with friends and help others

Knowing someone is always there to support you has always been an advantage to people. Our ancestors likely had best friends they always knew they could rely on in a life and death situation. While today’s struggles may not be so dire, having confidence in another person takes some stress off of you. In turn, helping others should be a priority. Research shows that helping behaviors, big or small, reduce the stress in adults. People tend to experience fewer negative emotions after helping others.

Change anxiety into excitement and embrace the advantages

Rather than fighting the energetic feeling of anxiety, redirect that energy into a positive one. Keep valance positive to prohibit the energy that comes from anxiety from being negative. Stress is often a sign that there is meaning in your life. It means there is something that is important to you or is a significant event. Thinking about the positive effects of stress rather than the negative is sure to reduce anxiety.

Consciously trivialize tasks in order to see the big picture

Focus on the positives by creating a list of all of the negatives next to all of the positives in your life. Seeing the good things on paper often help to prevent the focus from being on the negative. It is important to compare everyday situations to true life and death situations, so they can be put into perspective. Everyday failures are most likely nothing to be scared of or anxious about.

Breathe deeply and recognize in this moment you’re OK

While our brains are constantly working to tell us something bad is going to happen, putting us on the defense, we must recognize that nothing bad is happening at this very moment. Breathing deeply and reminding yourself that everything is OK right now can help settle fears. Breathing deeply also makes the body relax. It helps us move away from the flight or fight response and move towards a relaxed feeling.

Become in-tune with yourself and practice mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation is the idea of training yourself to focus on the present moment. Begin this by observing your current breath, rather than thinking about the past or the future. Create mindful moments to help handle challenging situations and talk yourself through them as you would talk to a friend. Speak to yourself in second person to be more confident about the outcome. Remind yourself of the core values in your life prior to a stressful situation, and talk about them as if talking to a friend. Tell yourself why your family or career are important to you and give self-affirmation to promote positivity. Thinking about your most important values in life reduces stress and calms the nerves.

Expose yourself to triggers

Exposure therapy can dramatically improve how people see their fears. Moving gradually to increase your exposure to a stress trigger will eventually dull your nerves to the anxiety. For example, if you are scared of drowning in the beach, take baby steps. Maybe the first time just get your feet wet. Then when you see that was not so bad, get your shins wet. Continue to progress until you’re able to get your knees wet. Slowly increasing the level of exposure to the trigger eventually works its way up to the reduction of all negative feelings.

Exercise and drink coffee

Exercise protects people against anxiety and fear by releasing endorphins, enhancing the immune system, and increasing body temperature. Along with the activities of exercise that get your body going, one study has shown that drinking coffee is a great way to increase memory and our ability to adapt to situations.

Recognize when your anxiety is misplaced

It is hard to compartmentalize our feelings, which leads people to let one stressful situation spill over into other aspects of life. General anxious feelings may have an effect on specific instances such as making a proposal to a boss. To help fix this, recognize where specific fears are coming from and don’t let them become an overall problem.

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