We've all felt anxious at some point in life and it's an awful feeling. The butterflies in the tummy, the racing heart and feeling as if we can't breathe. Sound familiar?
Anxiety is caused by living in the future, you know all the what ifs.. what if they find out? What if they say..? What if this happens?
There is also a strong link between anger and anxiety.
We may not realise it but our anger could be causing our anxiety because we are subconsciously worrying about holding our temper and could will happen if we lose control. If we are prone to violent outbursts, we could be worrying about the damage we do with our words and our actions when we let rip.
The thing is, we have no way of knowing what will happen in the future and we certainly can't control most of it. The brain makes the fear of what might happen feel very real, which causes emotions to run riot in response and before you know it, you're in the throws of a full blown anxiety attack.
So how do you regain control and begin to ditch anxiety?
The first thing to do to help yourself is to move. Get out of bed, get up off the sofa, get away from your desk. Wherever you are, move. Staying there allowing the thoughts to run riot is not helping and moving helps distract the brain which helps you to stop the rise of panic..
2. Distract yourself.
While you're feeling anxious, it's difficult to think clearly. This is because the body has been flooded with adrenaline which causes those physical symptoms. To enable the body to produce adrenaline in large amounts, it needs to slow down or stop other body functions. Unfortunately for us, problem solving is one of the first to go.
So this is a great time to clean the kitchen, sort out the shoe cupboard and do those jobs that you have been putting off for ages and don't require much thought as they help distract us from what is worrying us. The distraction signifies to the brain that we are no longer in immediate danger and the production of adrenaline slows down. As the adrenaline lessens, our problem solving skills return and we begin to feel more in control.
3.Write it down.
Don't worry about full sentences or grammar, just get those thoughts out of your head and onto paper. They don't have to make sense to anyone but you and you can always destroy what you have written later but for now, allow your fears and thoughts to vomit out of your brain and make some space to think clearly. Once you can see them in front of you, they seem to have less power over you and you can start to work out what to do about them.
4. Come up with a plan.
Even though part of you knows that you can't control the future and you don't really know what's going to happen, it's good to work thorough what is worrying you and imagine what you will do if what you are worrying about happens and how you will respond. This way you'll feel prepared which will help you to feel more in control. This may also be when you realise that you need some support and you can start to look for people or organisations that can help you .
5. Question it.
By the time you have worked though the first 4 points, your brain will no longer be telling the body to produce adrenaline so the physical symptoms of anxiety will be fading. Your problem solving skills will have returned and you'll be starting to feel calmer and more in control again.
This is the time to look at where those worries are coming from and start to questioning them. Things like these:
Is it true?
Why do I worry about what they will say?
Why do I need them to approve of me?
Why am I giving them so much power over my life?
Why am I using all this energy worrying about something that might not happen?
What am I scared of?
What can I do in future to not create these situations again?
Do I need support?
Where can I find the help I need?
The answers may be uncomfortable but when you start to understand what you are scared of and why, you can do something about it. If you feel that you need to work on your decision making or problem solving skills, or you need to boost your self confidence and resilience then you can look for a coach or self help group in your area. If you are feeling overwhelmed, maybe you could reach out to family, friends or your employer to support you. If you don't have this support then again maybe a coach or self help group is the way forward for you.
Anxiety is a beast but it can be tamed.
Practising these 5 strategies regularly and by becoming more aware of your thoughts and beliefs can help you to manage your fear, take control of your thoughts and ditch anxiety for good.
If you would like to work with me on ditching your anxiety, please message me and we can have a chat.
Reaching out can be scary but I don't bite and you'll feel so relieved when you take the first step.