Tight chest, shortness of breath, racing thoughts, do any of these feelings sound familiar to you? Believe it or not 40 million Americans suffer from a mental illness, including anxiety.

Everyone encounters stress at one point or another in their lives, dealing with anxiety, however, is a completely different story. I have personally struggled with this issue for the better part of my adult life. I have learned many techniques to overcome this issue and I am happy to walk you through the 5 simple ways for you to overcome anxiety.

1. The Foundation

Lets start with the basics, why are you feeling anxious? I want you to grab a paper and pen, and I want you to write down a list of everything that makes you anxious in your life. Is work a main cause? Family, or money? Write all of these down and read them over 10 times. I want you to feel anxious, have your mind fully process those trigger points so that you can understand where the anxiety is coming from, and when you can expect it to happen.

2. Understanding

Understanding your anxiety is one of the most important steps to getting better. Remember that list I had you make? Take a look at it again and start from the top. I want you to understand what key points about your anxiety create the problems. Are you feeling stressed about something coming up at work? Maybe a promotion that you are competing for? That can definitely cause some unsettling feelings and nervousness. Understand that what you are feeling, 40 million people are also feeling too, and that you are not just a number in a statistic. Understand that this issue in your life will pass and you will beat it.

3. Tackling Anxiety

Now let’s get to the best part, tacking anxiety. We are going to confront our issues head on. The best way you can achieve this is to pick one daily occurrence where you feel anxiety the most. The moment where you know you are about to freak out. When this moment happens I want you to take a minute, step back, look over the situation as if you were above your own body, and ask yourself this one important question “will I remember this in a week, a month or a year from now?” Really take a look at why you are feeling the way you are, does this moment of panic really matter? I mean there are better things to worry about than this right? If you agree to all of this, than you are almost there my friend.

4. Acceptance

Now that you have managed to complete 3 steps to overcoming anxiety, you are now ready to move on to step 4, acceptance. Anxiety is unfortunately something that will affect you for the rest of your life, because you are human. Living with this illness is nothing to be ashamed about, but something you can look back on one day and feel proud that you overcame it. When a situation approaches you in a moment of stress, take a breath, accept that you have anxiety, don’t ignore it, and try to deal with the situation as rationally as you can. Trust me you will feel a world of a difference once you can manage your emotions.

5. Keeping Busy

Now that you have understood the 4 steps to overcoming anxiety, it’s time for a closure to this article. So without further adieu, my most important tip of the post, keeping busy. That’s right, I said it, keep busy. Take up a hobby, learn to write, try out for a sports team, learn to draw, take up a new course at a school anything to tap into your inner self. Distracting your mind is half the battle, and if you are doing something to replace the negative thinking you are well on your way.

I overcame my anxiety by completing the above 5 steps. I really put myself in awkward situations, situations where I know I did not want to be, I stepped out of my comfort zone and I achieved some amazing goals along the way.

The ride was certainly not easy, and everyday is always going to be a struggle, but by following these 5 steps and really taking yourself into consideration first is the key to overcoming anxiety.

So much of our time has been kidnapped by this illness called anxiety and it’s time we put a stop to it. Just by clicking on this post you have made a step in the right direction so for that I am proud.

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