A small amount of anxiety can be useful. But disproportionate anxiety causes fear, apprehension, worry and nervousness that can hold us back and even make our lives a living nightmare.
Your thoughts race a million miles a minute, yet no words are able to come out of your mouth. Sometimes it whispers terrifying possibilities into your ear. Sometimes it gets angry. Sometimes it cries.
In a lot of cases anxiety has been with you since you were a child. In many ways, it is you as a child. And like all children, all it has ever wanted is to be loved and accepted.
When anxiety arises, you usually do everything in your power to try to not feel what you are feeling.
Living with anxiety is like riding on a permanent roller coaster that you don't even realize you are on; your stomach drops at any moment, usually for no reason.
And when someone asks "What’s wrong?" you'll say, "Nothing." hoping that, in your denial, anxiety would go away. But pushing it further down only makes it want to come out more.
It's a little (read BIG) tricky. But how do we live with such a monster? Can we?
Learning how to communicate, be present, and honest, can help you live with it and in many cases eliminate it to next to nothing.
Let yourself begin to befriend the mystery of life instead of clinging to what you think you can control. The truth is that there is so little we can control. We make plans because we want to know what will happen in the next hour, but the unknowable and mysterious force of life can subvert your plans in an instant. The only freedom is to make friends with not knowing.
It takes creativity and intention to walk through this storm with calmness, but it is possible.
Be present. Avoid wondering "what if?" which can lead to frightening scenarios in your head. Instead, focus your mind on today's needs and remain in the moment.
Acknowledge thoughts and feelings. Notice "my thoughts are worrisome right now" and "I'm feeling anxious." Don't let the feelings overwhelm you, but examine the reasons behind the fear. If there's nothing you can fix, practice letting the feelings go.
Laugh. Funny videos, and movies are great medicine. Share them with friends, or watch with your family as a bonding activity.
Breathwork is an active form of meditation that allows us to disconnect from our mind, reconnect with our body, energy, and ourselves, and enter a different state of consciousness. This elevated state brings us closer to healing, clarity, peace, wholeness, and further from chronic stress and anxiety. ➝ Box breathing, also known as square breathing, or 4-4-4-4 breath, slows the heart rate and deepens concentration.
Don't take on more than you can handle. No one can do everything, so make sure you ask for help from others when you feel you have taken on too many responsibilities.
Acknowledge challenges. Notice when there are challenges in your life, and face them squarely. Then, speak confident words of affirmation to yourself. You are smart and you can handle them.
Needs assessment. Make a plan in advance about how to meet your needs. Be honest.
Controlled action. Focus only on what you can control right now. Take action steps to solve any problems instead of fretting over them.
Engage in physical activity. Do a workout, explore the great outdoors, or throw a dance party to banish stress.
Distance physically, not emotionally. Distancing yourself from the situation doesn't mean you close yourself off emotionally. In troubling times you might want to walk away, but in many cases people crave connection.
Awareness of your thought patterns and external triggers is vital in understanding how to prevent anxiety attacks. Once you've identified the things that cause you stress and anxiety, you can develop your collection of tools for coping with them.
In a nutshell, living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your whole self - physically, emotionally, and spiritually – provides the best foundation and the most effective tools for dealing with stress and preventing anxiety attacks.
Please share some of your tips and tools that have worked for you, either here in the comments or on Instagram.
Disclaimer. I want to remind you, I am not a doctor and the information is not medical advice. For diagnosis and treatment, please see a licensed doctor or therapist.