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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Beth Hedrick

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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