Anxiety: we’ve all had it at some point in our lives. Whether it’s in mild form, such as worrying about an upcoming presentation at work, or more severe – in the form of full-on panic attacks – it happens to the best of us. It affects us both physically and mentally. Anxiety is a mental health illness, which means you’re unable to control it happening, just like you’re unable to control when you get the flu. However, also like the flu, you can manage the symptoms of anxiety. Here are five ways you can combat the anxiety you get in everyday life.
1. Stop negative thoughts in their tracks.
Anxiety more commonly attacks the mind rather than the body. It can start with a single, irrational thought that just spirals out of control. A simple thought, such as: “I’m going to mess up that speech in class next Tuesday.” Then you can’t stop thinking about it, playing through different negative scenarios through your mind, all as unlikely as the next to happen in reality. Who says you’re going to mess up your speech? What is the probability of actually messing it up? What is the worst that could happen? Regardless of whether the speech goes as well as you hope for, you will survive. You will live to tell the tale the next day. As soon as you find yourself thinking negatively about something, tell yourself to stop. Or, allow yourself to carry on the thought process for two more minutes, and then stop. Don’t let negative thoughts control your life.
2. Distract yourself.
The primary way to dispose of those negative thoughts is to do something else. It could be something as simple as turning on the TV and putting on the show you keep meaning to catch up with. Or, call a friend who you haven’t spoken to in months. As soon as you get your mind onto healthier, happier topics – the better.
You could even distract yourself by going out for a run or doing some form of exercise. Exercise releases endorphins which makes our mood feel instantly lighter. It’s proven to be extremely effective for improving our mental health, as well as our physicality. Therefore, if you struggle with anxiety on a regular basis, exercise as regularly as you can! It is guaranteed to keep the negativity at bay.
4. Surround yourself with positive people.
People who have some of the worst anxiety attacks are people who are sat in a dark room, alone with their thoughts. Go out, do activities, and be around other people. Distraction, combined with exercise, are two key tools when it comes to defeating anxiety. Being surrounded by people is important because not only are we thinking about other things, but we are not dwelling on our own negativity. Talk to your family, friends and loved ones about how you’re feeling. Their company, along with their kind words of support, will instantly make you feel happier.
Do you struggle to get to sleep sometimes because of those pesky, negative thoughts? Do they go around and around in your head, preventing you from thinking about anything else and won’t let you rest? Anxiety experts say that listening to soothing sounds and music can help to calm you down when this happens. Some people also meditate. Apparently, when we have anxiety, we are living in the future. We are thinking about things that could go wrong, before they’ve even happened. However, listening to calming sounds and music, along with meditating, brings us back to the present. It makes us feel in the moment. This technique is proven to work and might just help you the next time you’re tossing and turning during a sleepless night. Some people even have the sounds and music on low when they’re planning to go to sleep, to prevent anxiety before it even strikes.
Combating anxiety is a difficult challenge to face, but please know that you’re not alone. Thousands of other people in this world have this mental health illness, or have had it previously, and they have all come out the other side. You can do it, too!