Advertising
Advertising

5 Simple Steps to Overcoming Anxiety

5 Simple Steps to Overcoming Anxiety

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

More by this author

6 Tips to Successfully Make the Most Of Your Day 6 Tips to Successfully Make the Most of Your Day 7 Common Mistakes Every Writer Makes Living in the Moment 30 Life Lessons to Learn Before You’re 30 5 Simple Ways to Overcome Anxiety 5 Simple Steps to Overcoming Anxiety

Trending in Communication

1 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way 2 How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good 3 15 Simple Things You Can Do to Boost Your Daily Motivation 4 How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often 5 Feeling Super Stressed? Do This Daily Routine Every Day

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

Advertising

2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

Advertising

Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

Advertising

12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

Read Next