Simple Mental Strategies To Help Ease Anxiety

I am naturally a very anxious person– things as small as going on stage to collect a badge or receiving my answer sheet back unleashes a thousand restless dragons in my stomach.

This obviously makes my day to day functioning a tad bit difficult, and if you’re anything like me, it could be extremely hard to manage.

But first: what is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, unease or worry that typically occurs in the absence of an imminent threat. It differs from fear, which is the body’s natural response to immediate danger.

“The biggest misconception about anxiety is that it’s to be feared and avoided at all costs,” says Noah Clyman, a licensed clinical social worker and director of NYC Cognitive.

The intensity of anxiety felt differs from person to person, and I highly recommend seeing a doctor if you believe that a general anxiety disorder is crippling your day-to-day life. This is merely how I deal with my mild anxiety.

 

Concentrate on your breathing. It sounds overused and possibly futile, but it actually helps a lot. Focusing on your breathing helps in taking away your focus from the stressor, which allows your body’s parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for bringing our body to its rest level after the undergoing changes in the preparation for a fight or flight situation, to do its job, thus allowing you to achieve a clear mind and tackle the problem with a stress free approach.

Exercise. Time and time again, science has shown a strong link between anxiety and exercise. Anxiety can strike an individual because of the amount of unused energy stored up in their body, increased stress hormones or immune system malfunction. This healthy alternative uses up energy, regulates the immune system, brings cortisol or stress hormones back to their regular levels and a major plus point here is a healthy and fit body, with a healthy and fit mind allowing you to tackle any problem like a boss.

Saying f*** it. You need to believe that this little bump is not the end of the world or the end of you. It may seem hard to believe, but you will get over it and it will pass. Exposure therapy is one of the most effective ways of treating anxiety, and exposing yourself increasingly to what gives you anxiety helps decrease the likelihood of feeling anxious towards that thing again.

Close your eyes. It’s true– life does get a little too much at times. So close your eyes and imagine yourself within the waves or whistling through the wind– anything that makes you feel calm and more importantly refreshed. This again allows your parasympathetic nervous system to work its magic and calm your nerves.

Do what you love. If you love singing, then you should sing as often as you can. If you like drawing or writing, then make your pencils sing their happiest notes. Doing what you love distracts you from the stressor, calming you throughly.

Focus on something and weave a tale. This is for all the times when you don’t have pen and paper and cannot randomly get up and start jogging. Look at something, anything and weave a tale. For example, a palm leaf may have bugs living on it, in their own world, in small houses. It is an easy, enjoyable, and convenient tactic.

Imagine. Picture scenarios, be it meeting your favorite celebrity or accidentally finding out the cure for an incurable disease. It feels good to have control over something, when you feel that the world is tumbling all wrong!

I can not guarantee you that these methods will work perfectly every time and for everyone, but it will most likely help in easing the weight a little.

Photo: Nicole Mason on Unsplash

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