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6 Smart Ways To Overcome Anxiety That You Probably Haven’t Tried

6 Smart Ways To Overcome Anxiety That You Probably Haven’t Tried

Everyone at one point or another suffers from anxiety. Anxiety is a physical and emotional response to perceived danger: We are human and therefore worry about everything, especially future outcomes and predictions. What triggers our anxiety are our own scary predictions of future events, which aren’t always real.

Anxiety does not necessarily have to be caused by great occurrences. It is often the little things that take us over the edge: not finding your keys where you remember putting them, the email you forgot to send, getting caught up in traffic jams, and so forth.

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It is easy to lose your cool because of anxiety, but with the following tips you can learn to beat anxiety and have fun while doing so.

Remember: these tips are to overcome mild, everyday anxiety. If a serious anxiety disorder prevails, it is essential you go to a specialist.

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1. Press pause and laugh

Literally, stop everything and take a break to tickle your funny bone. Laughing and smiling frequently have been proven by science to reduce your stress levels, making you less prone to anxiety. So the next time you feel stress building up, pause whatever you are doing to browse through the vine, YouTube, or any other web pages hosting funny videos and images.

2.  Indulge in color therapy

Although an ancient practice, color therapy can still be used as a means of treating anxiety. Incorporate an article of clothing or paint a wall with a cool color, such as shades of blue, purple or green. This therapy is easily practiced throughout the day by simply noticing which colors your eye is drawn to, and how the color makes you feel. Color therapy works if you have high self-awareness, so the more developed your awareness, the more you will realize how a color will make you feel.

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3. Listen to songs that you love

Listening to music each day can help overcome anxiety and improve overall health. Let your mood be the guide to your playlist: listening to certain favorites can leave you in the mood to bust a move. Coinciding with this tip, keep your earphones with you at all times. This way you don’t disturb others with your music and whenever you feel anxiety creeping up, just pop in your earphones to shut everything out.

4.  Completely disconnect

Unplug communication devices, pull up that chair, kick your feet up and do nothing. However, completely disconnect only when it is doable and make sure that people who rely on you know that you will be unreachable during that time. Spend the disconnection wisely: that means no TV, no phones, no tablets. Take a long, relaxing bath or indulge in some aroma therapy. Basil, anise, and chamomile are great choices; they reduce tension in the body and help increase mental clarity. This will resurrect you emotionally and physically so you can deal with stress.

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5. Meditate

Scientists have discovered that meditating increases gray matter in the brain, which makes it easy for us to cope with stress. Scientists have also carried out various studies on meditation’s effects on stress and anxiety disorders, with the outcome almost always positive. Take meditation a step further by enrolling in yoga classes or doing it at home daily. Yoga is a combination of physical exertion, meditation and breathing exercises that has helped anxiety patients and given them a new, brighter outlook on life.

6. More omega-3 and vitamin B, please!

Anxiety affects our entire mind and body; therefore, the recovery should be of both the mind and body. To give them the nutrients they need, try eating foods rich in omega-3 and vitamin B. Studies have linked vitamin B with good mental health, and omega-3s may help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Also, cut down on sugar, processed food and caffeine for a better, stronger mind that can cope with and fight stress, as these foods have been observed to increase symptoms of anxiety.

Featured photo credit: Anastazja Stanowska via flickr.com

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Tayyab Babar

Tayyab is a PR/Marketing consultant. He writes about work, productivity and tech tips at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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