Anxiety can be a useful emotion – its job is to warn you of something dangerous or life threatening. The problem is, some of us feel anxiety when nothing truly dangerous is happening.
If you have a tendency to feel anxious, you’ll know how strongly and suddenly it can come on. In those moments it can be beneficial to have some tools to help you stop feeling overwhelmed and regain control. Take a look at the following tips to help you when you feel anxious.
Know that it will pass
That sinking feeling of anxiety is never nice, but try to remember that it will pass. If you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, remind yourself that you have had them before and have always been fine. Recognise the symptoms and try not to let your negative thoughts take over. Think about what new lessons and insights you’ll gain after this experience.
Don’t condemn yourself for feeling anxious
Sometimes being worried about worrying can be worse than the anxiety itself. Remember that worrying normally happens because you care about something or someone. Take that positive emotion and allow your feelings of anxiety to just be, rather than wishing them away.
Visualise the positive
A lot of anxiety comes from our belief that something is going to go wrong – a speech, a conversation, a performance etc. Instead of thinking about the worst case scenarios, try to think about what it would look like if everything went right. The principles of quantum physics tell us that our brains don’t actually know the difference between an event we experience for real and an event we imagine vividly. Use this to your advantage and give yourself a confidence boost by visualising the positive.
In some cases a simple distraction can help you overcome anxiety. Think of some tasks you can do when you start to feel anxious – do a crossword, watch a funny movie, call a friend. Anything that will take your mind off the thing that’s worrying you.
When you feel anxiety, try to flip it on its head and think about all the things you are grateful for instead. Writing a gratitude list will force your negative thinking to stop, which should help put your mind at ease.