Tips for Anxiety Relief
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that more than 18 percent of adults in the United States suffer from anxiety disorder. Of course, this doesn’t include people who experience high levels of anxiety, but not levels high enough to be diagnosed with the disorder. Nearly all adults have experienced anxiety at one time or another and it often seems that today’s busy, non-stop culture is a contributing factor. Treatment for anxiety varies from person to person, depending on its severity, but there are ways you can reduce your anxiety levels.
Anxiety, the feeling of anxiousness that you simply can’t shake, occurs in everyone at some time in life. There are even times when you make your own anxiety worse by asking the dreaded “what ifs?” or focusing too intently on the future or the worst-case scenario. The key is to view yourself in a non-judgmental way regarding your anxiety, so you can relieve and manage it effectively. Try these tips for anxiety relief right now.
Tips for Anxiety Relief
Understand that You are Anxious.
Being anxious is an emotional reaction. It is a feeling, one that you need to accept in order to relieve. And remember, accepting it doesn’t mean succumbing to it or allowing it to control you.
Take a Deep Breath.
Now that you’ve accepted that you are anxious, stop, and take a deep breathe. Breathing deeply has been shown to be an excellent way to reduce anxiety, a result of helping your body go from your flight-or-fight response to its natural relaxation response. There are a number of deep breathing techniques you can try, but a simple one is inhaling as you count to four, then holding your breath for a four count, and exhaling as you count to four. Repeat the deep breathing technique until you feel your body and mind calm.
Examine Your Thoughts.
Your brain is powerful, a fact which you know if you’ve ever had a panic attack in which your brain made you believe you were having a heart attack and dying. When anxiety threatens to overwhelm, examine your thoughts. Are they realistic or over the top? Unrealistic thoughts elevate your anxiety. Stop, breathe deeply, and challenge your thoughts in a realistic way. Ask yourself if what you fear is really likely to happen and if the worst-case scenario happens would it be as bad as you imagine.
Many people find that meditating on a calming visualization is helpful in moments of anxiousness. Picture yourself in one of your favorite spots, on a beach, along a river bank, in a park, whatever works for you and focus on that place, assigning your emotions, sensations, and thoughts to that moment. In this way there is no judgement, no good or bad, no right or wrong.
Non-Judgmental Observation and Positive Self-Talk.
When you feel anxiety rising within, observe your thoughts, emotions, feelings, and judgments in a non-judgmental, compassionate way. Follow up these observations with positive self-talk, encouraging statements to help you cope and manage your anxiety.
Refocus Your Attention.
When you become anxious, it is often based in future worries or concerns. Take a moment, breathe, and refocus your attention on the present. Even if the present situation is stressful, focusing on in fully increases your ability to cope and manage what is happening. If your anxiety is not related to the present circumstances, but on future “what ifs” refocus your attention to activities you would doing if you weren’t anxious and do them. The bottom line is that focusing on your anxiety only serves to make you more anxious.