Please note, I am NOT a therapist, but these examples are what I have found to help me.
IS THIS A NORMAL FEELING? OR DEEPER?
First things first. You need to know if this is a normal temporary feeling. Or is what you’re feeling something more chronic?
Every human experiences anxiety from time to time. Like, if you have a big decision coming up and you’re feeling your pulse quicken. Or you have an event looming that you’re worried about? These are very normal, human habits.
But if your feeling of worry and anxiety is crippling you daily. Then it’s time to try some solutions. So I’ve listed out a few ways that I deal with anxiety that have really helped me.
As you go through these, I want you to keep an open mind and really try these suggestions. Don’t let excuses like, “that won’t work for me” or “I’ve already tried something like that” stop you.
It’s excuses and limiting beliefs about yourself get in the way of what you can do!
1) ACCEPT THAT THE WORST CAN HAPPEN
I know, it seems crazy to have the first tip on how to deal with anxiety as think about the worst.
But I really believe your imagination is A LOT worse than what can (and will) actually happen to you. Just like when you can’t have your foot off the bed because your imagination says a monster under your bed is going to grab it. You know logically that there is no monster, but that doesn’t stop the image of one popping up in your mind.
A similar thing happens when we’re imagining the future.
- “I’m not making enough money to save for the future, I’m wont be able to pay my mortgage and then I’m going to end up homeless…”
- “If I don’t find someone to marry soon, I’ll be too old to find someone and I’ll be alone for the rest of my life…”
Do any of these sound familiar? Or some variation that sounds like this? YOU’RE NOT ALONE!
While most of the worst situations won’t happen for you, accept that sometimes it can. But instead of stopping at the worst, come up with a plan!
For each answer, come up with multiple ways to overcome
Now that you have accepted and realized the absolute worst can happen, come up with a plan of action. No matter how crazy or out impossible it seems.
For each one of the major concerns that may keep you up at night, list out as many solutions as you can come up with.
Let’s take the example of “If I don’t find someone to marry, I’ll end up alone forever”. Here’s a few things I would list:
- Sign up for dating apps (bumble, match.com, etc)
- Say yes to every friend when they invite you out
- Sign up for event sites like Meetup to meet people with similar interests as you
- Let your friends and family know you’re ready and willing to accept dates they set for you
- Commit to smile and say hi to every person I come across (like in coffee shops, gas stations, and other everyday kind of places. You never know when you’ll meet someone that knows someone!)
There are plenty more that you could list out, but the point is that you want to get all the options out there. You may even go back through your list and think to yourself, “never in a million years could I do that”.
Don’t let this limiting belief stop you!
I encourage you to stay open. Sometimes changing your thinking or changing up what you would normally do will lead you straight to the solution to what you’re anxious about.
2) EXPLORE YOUR ANXIOUS THOUGHTS
I know you probably don’t want to read anything about breathing as a solution, but here’s the thing…
YES take some deep breaths if you’re falling down the rabbit hole of anxious feelings.
Instead of just breathing, though, take yourself out of the downward spiral of thoughts and ask questions as you would ask a friend.
Here’s an example…
Ask yourself, “why am I thinking this?” and “what (if anything) can I learn from this?”
Sometimes being able to identify what triggered you, will help you be able to understand why it’s happening.
Let’s use that example of being alone again…
If you feel anxiety and you take deep breaths and answer the earlier questions, you might find your parents are the reason you’re feeling these thoughts.
Pretending what set you off was them mentioning for what seems like the millionth time, “When are you finally getting married?” Your next step would be to talk to them about how they’re making you feel anxious.
You may be thinking that they are doing this to you on purpose, or they know how asking this makes you feel. But let me ask you this, what if they don’t?
Having a conversation with them may be exactly what you need to stop falling down the rabbit hole. What if having this conversation, stopped them from asking you this?
Sometimes solutions can be more simple than you may realize. So, even if a solution seems silly, try that option anyway.
3) REMIND YOURSELF THAT YOU’RE MORE THAN THESE THOUGHTS
I want you to remember, YOU have power over your thoughts. Accept your thought for what it is, and let it go.
I know, I know. Seeing “Let it go” can be the most frustrating thing when you’re drowning in anxious thoughts. But sometimes seeing a reminder that you can only change the things within your control can be a release.
So here’s your reminder… Change what you can, and release what you can’t! 😊
Staying up at night thinking about your big upcoming decisions, or worrying about the future isn’t going to do you ANY good! It’s only going to make you more tired and unable to find a solution.
One of my favorite quotes about this is..
Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.Marie Forleo
The best way to power through these intrusive anxious thoughts is to take action! Once you start planning and actively working on a solution, it’s like your brain can’t think about intangible anxious thoughts at the same time.
If after you do these steps, and you’re not ready to let it go, revisit step one. Go down the “what’s the actual worst thing that can happen” road and try again. Some solutions can take a few repetitions in order to appear.
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IT’S YOUR TURN!
How are you going to deal with your anxiety? Let me know in the comments below!
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