Overcoming Anxiety Yourself
Everybody worries sometimes. In fact, worry and stress can be beneficial in some situations. For example, it can motivate you to meet important deadlines or study harder for a test. But sometimes worry can interfere with daily functioning. If you worry more than half the day, every day or if anxiety keeps you from doing things you would normally enjoy, then it could be taking up more than its fair share of space in your life. Here are some things you can try that might help you find anxiety relief.
Write it down
Whenever you find yourself thinking of something that worries you, try writing it down. Self-observation can help you better understand the issues causing your anxiety, which may help you formulate a plan to overcome it. After a day or two, you may realize that the thing you’re worried about isn’t as big of a problem as you thought it was. You may even find that you aren’t worrying about it as often or as much as you thought you were, which will further diminish the hold it has on you. Many people find that doing this can help them through an anxiety-inducing situation by allowing them to “release” the tension it is causing them.
Put it in perspective
After you’ve spent some time writing down your worries, it is time to put your anxiety into perspective. Think about how likely it is that the thing you’re worried about will actually happen. Ask yourself if you’ve done everything you can do to prevent it from happening. You may realize that you’ve got more control over the situation than you thought or that you’re exaggerating the negative possibilities. This may actually help you pinpoint deeper issues behind your anxiety and allow you to put a more positive spin on the situation.
Next, you will want to take command of your anxiety by making a written plan to beat it. For each specific worry, write down 2 or 3 things you can do to overcome it or keep it from happening altogether. Just the outlining of a plan can make you feel better and more in control.
Lastly, just relax. The physical manifestations of anxiety, like muscle tension, headaches and upset stomach, can be overcome by any one of a number of relaxation techniques. Try some deep breathing exercises. Breathe in through your nose as you count to 5. Then exhale through your mouth and count to 5. 5 minutes of this should help your body release some of its pent up tension. You can also try progressive muscle relaxation, a technique in which you contract and then relax each muscle in your body, starting with your toes and moving up to the face, holding each contraction for 10 seconds. Closing your eyes and picturing a peaceful scene, complete with smells and sounds, can also work wonders in bringing anxiety relief.
If doing these things doesn’t help, you may need to seek professional help. A therapist can help you find perspective and clarity and help you change your negative thought processes into more positive and constructive ones. If your anxiety is really bad, you may have generalized anxiety disorder, a condition characterized by:
- overwhelming anxiety
- trouble concentrating and sleeping
- muscle tension.
This is best treated with a combination of therapy and medication.