4 things to do when you’re feeling anxious
Anxiety is a general feeling of unease, fear or nervousness that everyone experiences from time to time. Physical sensations can be very strong and include tension, nausea and a tightness in the chest. Mentally and emotionally, anxiety can affect the way you think about things, with everyday situations feeling frightening and dangerous.
Severe anxiety can take many different forms – from generalised anxiety to specific phobias, anxiety attacks and panic attacks – that can be successfully treated with professional therapy, so please don’t feel you have to suffer alone.
Here at KlearMinds, we offer Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as a highly effective treatment for anxiety. How many sessions of CBT for anxiety you need will depend on its severity, the length of time you’ve been suffering, the degree of change you wish to achieve and your level of self-confidence, among others. Why not make an appointment in confidence today?
Here are 5 tips to help you cope with anxiety:
1 – Take deep breaths
Feeling anxious activates our body’s ‘fight or flight’ response system; it’s our natural way to protect ourselves from a threatening situation. The bodily response includes the release of adrenaline and an increase in heart rate, all designed to help you become stronger and move faster in the face of an attack, except no attack is actually taking place.
Simply taking deep breaths can help your body to calm down and settle to its more natural equilibrium. Imagine you are blowing up a balloon of your favourite colour, taking deep breaths in and notice your stomach rising as you inhale to fill your lungs with maximum air, then exhale slowly. Repeat three times and notice how much calmer you feel.
Here are some exercises you can try. Above is a video with some breathing exercises for you to practise.
2 – Question your negative thinking
It’s easy for your mind to play tricks on you when you’re feeling anxious and your thinking can become unbalanced. Imagine the situation in which a friend has failed to respond to your email or text message. Are they not talking to you? Could you have offended them in some way?
It is this king of negative thinking that can easily fuel your anxiety. Before you accept any type of negative thought, challenge whether it is based on fact or opinion. Unless there is any factual evidence to support the thought, you may be getting anxious for no reason at all.
3 – Test your negative predictions
Sometimes, anxiety can lead you to jump to unhealthy conclusions about what you think will happen. Have you decided not to go to that business networking event because you are convinced no-one will talk to you?
Rather than make a negative prediction that then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, make like a scientist and test it out. Put your best foot forward and you may well find out that you were entirely wrong in your prediction.
4 – Face, don’t avoid, your fear
Anxiety is a highly uncomfortable emotion that no-one wants to experience, and it’s tempting to avoid the situation that brings about your fears. Take driving, for example. You may avoid getting behind the wheel of a car for fear of having an accident. How can you deal with this?
Facing your fear repeatedly, perhaps by breaking it down into small steps, your body will adjust and your anxiety will eventually reduce. Try taking short drives to begin with, then build up to longer car journeys over time.