Advertising
Advertising

Five Ways to Kill Anxiety

Five Ways to Kill Anxiety

Anxiety is a dark, negative mental prison which many individuals suffer from each day. Some have feelings of anxiety every once in a while, such as when faced with stressful situations, and others have the daunting, relentless feelings every single day. Known as chronic anxiety, sufferers feel trapped with feelings of worry, sadness, low self-worth, exhaustion, and difficulty in relationships. Fortunately, there is a sliver of hope for anxiety victims by adopting specific techniques to stop it before it festers in the mind and gets out of control.

1. This Too, Shall Pass

When something occurs that causes you to become overly anxious, or if anxiety creeps in for no apparent reason, stop what you are doing and focus on your mind. Breathe in and out, deeply and slowly. Then, immediately tell yourself (out loud if you have to) that it is only temporary. Repeat this over and over again as many times as you need to in order to calm down and convince yourself of this. Think about all of the times in your life that you have been anxious and reassure yourself that you have always been just fine in the end. Do not attempt to ignore the anxiety; acknowledge the feelings you are having and tell yourself that you are going to be okay.

Advertising

2. Focus on your Inner Being

Learn about anxiety and what it entails by asking your healthcare professional, counselor, or by researching credible sources. Doing so will greatly benefit you when anxiety begins to rear its ugly head. When you are suddenly faced with a circumstance that jolts your anxiety into high gear, you will be more prepared to deal with the physiological changes so they do not spiral out of control.  Knowing what to do when this happens beforehand will allow you to face an abrupt period of anxiety.  Learn about deep breathing methods, self-talk strategies, and other forms of immediate relief and see what works for you when anxious moments begin.

3. Self-Talk and Affirmations

Never underestimate the power of positive self-talk and affirmations. These are a few ways many people effectively deal with any anxiety issues they face. Reading positive affirmations and reciting positive self-talk, repeatedly, to yourself can work wonders. When adopted as a useful tool, they work instantaneously to bring a sense of calm in many situations. Finding quotes that pertain to specific situations and writing them down, downloading them through an app on your phone, or even by sticking Post-It notes in places where they are easily seen, will remind you of how to think about daily challenges. Life is hard for many people, and finding ways to deal with the stress is purely based on an individual level.

Advertising

One of the effective ways many people choose to deal with stress is to look into the meaning of the things that initially resulted in the rising stress level. At any given moment, you can choose to be stressed or you can choose to be empowered. You can allow stress to destroy you, or you can let it help you grow. You can choose to feel grateful, by first learning and understanding that you don’t need an excuse to feel good. As Tony Robbins says, “You can feel good for no reason“.

4. Get Healthy

Seemingly obvious, getting healthy is, for some people, also difficult to do.  Many people that have constant anxiety may have specific vices that may not be so healthy to help mask the problem. These may make anxiety worse or only help temporarily. Eating healthy foods, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising will go a long way in terms of controlling anxiety. Foods rich in vitamin B, such as beef, chicken, leafy greens, nuts, and citrus fruits can help keep anxiety at bay. Keeping yourself hydrated with plenty of fresh water each day can help as well.

Advertising

5. Get your Zzzzzzz’s

For many anxiety sufferers, getting a good night’s sleep may seem an impossible task. Many people who suffer from this illness tend to stay up late, thus allowing an overtired body and mind to become more susceptible to anxious thoughts the next day. With the many healthy sleep methods out there, as well as the plethora of strategies for good sleep that are available from your health professional, it can be a reality.  Being awake and alert throughout the day can ease anxiety and help you think much more clearly and realistically.

Anxiety can be debilitating for many, and educating yourself, finding what works for you, in keeping yourself armed with certain techniques can help you remain proactive and able to fight any unnecessary, negative feelings that creep into your mind. Empowering yourself with these methods can help you keep your anxiety under control and lead you to a more productive, healthy, and happy life.

Advertising

Featured photo credit: woman-happiness-sunrise-silhouette via pixabay.com

More by this author

Beth Hedrick

Freelance Writer

lady with camera 5 Common Photography Mistakes and How to Fix Them lady with camera on beach What to Look for When Choosing a Camera for Travel Man Playing Hang Drum Four Ways Listening to Hang Drums can Improve your Well-Being Golfing in Thailand Five Stunning Golf Courses in Thailand bus travel in Kerala 4 Dependable Ways to Get Around Kerala

Trending in Brain

1 7 Most Effective Problem Solving Techniques That Smart People Use 2 How Cognitive Bias Influences Our Decision Making 3 10 Natural Brain Boosters for Enhancing Memory, Energy and Focus 4 10 Brain Vitamins for Enhanced Brain Power 5 4 Steps of Cognitive Restructuring to Help You Think Clearly

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on May 26, 2020

7 Most Effective Problem Solving Techniques That Smart People Use

7 Most Effective Problem Solving Techniques That Smart People Use

Problems are, by their very nature, problematic. There are life problems, work problems, creative problems, and relationship problems. When we’re lucky, intuition takes over, and we solve a problem right away. When we’re not so lucky, we get stuck.

We might spend weeks or even months obsessing over how to write that term paper, get out of debt, or win back the love of our life. But instead of obsessing, let’s look at some effective problem solving techniques that people in the know rely on.

Ideation Vs Evaluation

It’s important to first understand and separate two stages of creativity before we look at effective problem solving techniques. Ideation is like brainstorming. It’s the stage of creativity where we’re looking for as many possible solutions as we can think of. There’s no judgment or evaluation of ideas at this stage. More is more.

After we’ve come up with as many solutions as possible, only then can we move onto the evaluation stage. This is when we analyze each possible solution and think about what works and what doesn’t. Here’s when all those good ideas from ideation rise to the top and the outlandish and impractical ones are abandoned.

7 Problem Solving Techniques That Work

Everyone has different ways of solving problems. Some are more creative, some are more organized. Some prefer to work on problems alone, others with a group. Check out the problem solving techniques below and find one that works for you.

1. Lean on Your Squad

The first of our seven problem solving techniques is to surround yourself with people you trust. Sometimes problems can be solved alone, but other times, you need some help.

There’s a concept called emergence that begins to explain why groups may be better for certain kinds of problem solving. Steven Johnson describes emergence as bottom up system organization.[1] My favorite example is an ant colony. Ants don’t have a president or boss telling them what to do. Instead, the complicated organization of the ant colony comes out of each individual ant just fulfilling their biological destiny.

Group creativity can also take on an emergent quality. When individuals really listen to, support, and add onto each other’s ideas, the sum of that group creativity can be much more than what any individual could have created on their own.

Advertising

Therefore, if you are struggling to solve a problem, you may want to find a group of people with whom you can collaborate, so you can start riffing with them about possible solutions.

2. Regulate Your Emotions

The next of the problem solving techniques is to be honest about how you’re feeling. We can’t solve problems as efficiently when we’re stressed out or upset, so starting with some emotional self-awareness goes a long way in helping us problem solve.

Dr. Daniel Siegel famously tells us to “Name it to tame it.” [2] He’s talking about naming our feelings, which offers us a better chance of regulating ourselves. I have to know that I’m stressed or upset if I want to calm down quickly in order to get back to a more optimal problem-solving state.

After you know how you’re feeling, you can take steps to regulate that feeling. If you’re feeling stressed out or upset, you can take a walk or try breathing exercises. Mindfulness exercises can also help you regain your sense of presence.

3. Listen

One thing that good problem solvers do is listen. They collect all the information they can and process it carefully before even attempting to solve the problem.

It’s tempting to jump right in and start problem solving before the scope of the problem is clear. But that’s a mistake.

Smart problem solvers listen carefully in order to get as many points of view and perspectives as possible. This allows them to gain a better understanding of the problem, which gives them a huge advantage in solving that problem.

4. Don’t Label Ideas as Bad…Yet

The fourth of the seven problem solving techniques is to gather as many possible solutions as you can. There are no bad ideas…yet.

Advertising

Think back to the two stages of creativity. When we are in the ideation stage, we shouldn’t be evaluating each other’s ideas, input, and possible solutions.

When we evaluate, judge, and criticize during the ideation stage, we inadvertently hamper creativity. One possible outcome of evaluating during ideation is creative suppression.[3]

When someone responds to someone else’s creative input with judgment or criticism, creative suppression can occur if the person who had the idea shuts down because of that judgment or criticism.

Imagine you’re at a meeting brainstorming ways to boost your sales numbers. You suggest hiring a new team member, but your colleague rolls their eyes and says that can’t happen since the numbers are already down.

Now, your colleague may be 100% correct. However, their comment might make you shut down for the rest of the meeting, which means your team won’t be getting any more possible solutions from you.

If your colleague had waited to evaluate the merits of your idea until after the brainstorming session, your team could have come up with more possible solutions to their current problem.

During the ideation stage, more is more. We want as many ideas as possible, so reserve the evaluation until there’s no more ideating left to do.

Another trick for better ideating is to “Yes And” each other’s ideas[4] In improvisation, there’s a principle known as “Yes And.” It means that one improviser should agree with the other’s idea for the scene and then add a new detail onto that reality.

Advertising

For example, if someone says, “I can’t hear over your loud music,” the other person needs to go along with that idea and then add onto it. They might say, “Sorry, I’ll turn it down, but I don’t think everyone else here at the club will appreciate it.”

Now the scene is getting interesting. We’re in a club, and the DJ is going to turn the music down. Playing “Yes And” with each other made the scene better by filling in details about who and where the improvisers are.

Yes Anding also works well during ideation sessions. Since we’ve already established that we shouldn’t be evaluating each other’s ideas yet, Yes Anding gives us something we can do. We can see the merits of each other’s ideas and try to build on them. This will make all of our possible solutions more fully realized than a simple laundry list.

5. Approach Problems With Playfulness

Approaching problem solving too seriously can exacerbate the problem. Sometimes we get too fixated on finding solutions and lose a sense of playfulness and fun.

It makes sense. When there are deadlines and people counting on us, we can try to force solutions, but stepping back and approaching problems from a more playful perspective can lead to more innovative solutions.

Think about how children approach problem solving. They don’t have the wealth of wisdom that decades on this planet give. Instead, they play around and try out imaginative and sometimes unpractical approaches.

That’s great for problem solving. Instead of limiting ourselves to how things have always been done, a sense of play and playfulness can lead us to truly innovative, out-of-the-box solutions.

6. Let the Unconscious Mind Roam

This may seem counterintuitive, but another technique to try when you become too fixated on a problem is to take a break to let the unconscious mind take over for a bit.

Advertising

Our conscious brain can only handle a limited amount of information at a time. Plus, it’s energetically exhausting to use our conscious brain for problem solving. Think about a time when you were studying for a test. It’s draining.[5]

But we’re in luck. There’s another part of our brain that isn’t draining and can integrate tons more information at a time—our unconscious.

This is why you come up with your best ideas in the shower or on your way to work or while you’re jogging. When you give your conscious brain a break, your unconscious has a chance to sift through mounds of information to arrive at solutions.

It’s how I write my articles. With my conscious brain, I think about which article I’m going to write. My problem is how to write it, so once I think carefully about the topic, I take a break. Then, the structure, sources, content, and sometimes phrasing happens in fits and starts while I’m not thinking about the article at all. It happens when I’m lying in bed, showering, and walking in the woods.

The key is to get in the habit of practicing this alternation between conscious and unconscious problem solving and to absolutely not force solutions. Sometimes, you just need to take a little break.

7. Be Candid

The last of the problem solving techniques happens during the evaluation stage. If we’re going to land on the best possible solution to our problems, we have to be able to openly and honestly evaluate ideas.

During the evaluating stage, criticism and feedback need to be delivered honestly and respectfully. If an idea doesn’t work, that needs to be made clear. The goal is that everyone should care about and challenge each other. This creates an environment where people take risks and collaborate because they trust that everyone has their best interest in mind and isn’t going to pull any punches.

Final Thoughts

In order to come up with the best solutions for problems, ideation and evaluation have to be two distinct steps in the creative process. Then, you should tap into some of the above techniques to get your ideas organized and your problems solved.

Hopefully, these seven problem solving techniques will help your problems be less…problematic.

More Tips for Problem Solving

Featured photo credit: Daria Nepriakhina via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Steven Johnson: Emergence
[2] Dr. Dan Siegel: The whole-brain child
[3] American Psychological Association: Creative mortification
[4] Play Your Way Sane: And What?: Yes And
[5] Daniel Kahneman: Thinking, Fast and Slow

Read Next