Before I tell you how you can overcome anxiety, please understand this: anxiety can happen to anyone. It can attack you seemingly out of the blue, leaving you feeling vulnerable and confused. So don’t fret; I know exactly what you are going through and I know you can overcome anxiety.
Not so long ago, I had my first experience with anxiety. I am someone who has a happy outlook on life. I believe that life is too short to be sad and that I should focus on enjoying my life. So when I woke up that day with anxiety, my world fell apart. My ability to relish the moment was overpowered by a feeling of dread and self-pity.
All I wanted to do was hide away at home and be by myself. If I was around others, I would feel completely distant from them and couldn’t find a way to reconnect. My happy-go-lucky attitude had completely vanished.
There was only one thing I could think to do and that was to research every possibility to overcome anxiety. Through intensive research and testing theories, I was finally able to overpower it. Below I will share with you the best ways that you can overcome your anxiety today:
1. Realize it’s all in your head
This article was the first piece of advice that helped me to overcome anxiety. This article truly explains what anxiety is. Anxiety is when something is going on internally, usually as a result of a traumatic or painful event. You then carry forward this negativity and when this negativity is ignored, anxiety comes to life.
This is why anxiety gives you physical symptoms. Your inner voice is trying to tell you that you are hurt, that you need to stop and heal. When you aren’t listening to it, it uses physical symptoms to get your attention.
Does it scare you when you feel like you cannot breathe? Or perhaps you feel like you are going to vomit any minute? The thing to remember is it’s not real. No matter how real it feels, it is actually your mind playing tricks on you.
One of my symptoms was my heart racing. I felt like my heart was racing so fast I would have a heart attack (and that line of thinking was not helping). But when I realized that it wasn’t real, I started to remind myself of this. When it started happening, I put a hand on my heart, only to find my heart wasn’t racing that fast at all.
So the next time an anxiety attack comes on, remember that this is just a trick from your inner consciousness. Allow yourself to pause, close your eyes and remind yourself, “I’m OK.”
2. Ask yourself what the message is
As mentioned in my previous point, anxiety is your inner consciousness trying to tell you that you are hurting. To overcome anxiety you need to find out what your inner consciousness is trying to tell you. You need to find out what the message is.
The next time you are having an anxiety attack, stop and listen. Just close your eyes, breathe and ask yourself kindly, “What’s the message?”
What is it you need to learn from this? Because this is what anxiety is, a message. A message to teach you to realize a better way of thinking, or a better attitude you can apply.
For me, I was choosing to ignore my emotions at a deeper level. I was getting on with my everyday life, ignoring the fact that I was not happy with my job, nor my home life. I wrongly chose to ignore the fact I was hurting; that I wanted a different job and that I was struggling living with my partner’s brother. With my partner’s brother being at our home all the time, I struggled to face my emotions. I felt I had no time to face them and just needed to carry on with my everyday life. I would face things when he was gone and I had my space back.
Of course, that was the wrong decision to make, because bottling up my emotions was the worst thing I could do. So when the anxiety attacks started happening more and more, I started to replace my thoughts of, “Stop, go away, I don’t have time for this,” with, “What’s the message?”
Because that is the key. You need to focus on you, to look deep inside and ask yourself, “What is it that upsets me? What is the message I am trying to tell myself?”
3. Embrace the anxiety
You heard me right, embrace the anxiety. This might seem like a daunting task, but when you panic during an attack it only feeds the anxiety. To overcome anxiety, you must learn to embrace it.
When you have an attack, choose to be loving towards yourself. Do not start saying, “Why does this have to happen to me?” or “Leave me alone, I don’t have time for this.” Instead, be kind to yourself and say, “It’s OK, I’m listening.”
Embrace the anxiety with love and show yourself that you are there to listen. Treat yourself the same way you’d want to be treated by someone else, with love and care. Anxiety is your inner voice shouting to you, asking that you address the issues you are facing. Once you start embracing the anxiety, you will start to feel the panic fade away.
4. Take time for yourself
Now that you know what anxiety is, you need to start addressing the cause. This means that you need to take the time for yourself: to be with yourself and focus on thinking about what is going on deep inside.
This is an excellent time to use meditation to help overcome these issues. Meditation is a great method to use because it looks deeper into your soul, not just at the surface layer.
If you haven’t meditated before, you can start off with just five minutes. Set a timer, then close your eyes. Focus on taking long, deep breaths — from your stomach and not through your lungs (this deep breathing is great for coping with panic attacks). As you take deep breaths, feel your body parts relax one by one with each breath. Allow your mind to wander. Imagine you are looking at a blue sky. As your mind wanders, let the thoughts run through your mind. Imagine that each thought is drifting across the sky. Let each one drift by, but do not interact with it. Allow your mind to wander with each thought, just listening to what it says.
The important thing is to listen to your thoughts without judgment or letting your fears take them over. When I started using meditation to overcome anxiety, I allowed my mind to start asking questions regarding my anxiety. I would kindly ask myself questions like, “What triggered my last anxiety attack?” and “What was it that scared me?” By asking these questions, I was able to follow my thoughts deeper and deeper, pinpointing the cause.
5. Force yourself out there
One of the struggles I had with anxiety was interacting with others. Being around others panicked me as I often felt disconnected from conversation, which frustrated me greatly. This meant I wanted to spend more time alone, to avoid facing these issues.
Although it is helpful in the early stages to take time for yourself, there comes a point when you need to interact again. The longer you leave it, the worse it will be.
If you find that it is a struggle to leave your home, start off small. Start by going to visit a close friend or family. Prove to yourself that you will be OK if you go out, that your fear is overrated. Once you start going out more and more, you’ll soon begin to realize that it is OK.
Additional tip: A great way to cope with anxiety attacks is to distract your mouth. Focus on sipping a drink or suck on a hard-boiled sweet. I found that this helped me calm down.
6. Talk to someone
It’s always good to talk to someone about your anxiety, as voicing it aloud can help make more sense. Talk to a close friend or family member about what you are going through.
I found that talking to my partner about it eased my mind a little. He was able to provide me with some ideas I hadn’t thought about, whilst helping me feel supported.
And even if you don’t feel like there is anyone you can talk to, there is still plenty of support online. Just do a search for anxiety support and you’ll find many useful forums and online chats. There you can speak to many others who know what you are going through.
7. Find inspiration to overcome anxiety
My final bit of advice is to find inspiration. For me, I love Katy Perry. I love her attitude that you should enjoy life and love every moment. I love that she is always so happy and always pushes through her problems. She is a role model to me.
I used Katy Perry as my inspiration. I listened to her music, which helped lift my spirits and motivate me in overcoming my anxiety. It would help remind me that I could get through it and live a happy life again.
So find someone inspires or motivates you and use that. Use their attitude, or their music, or stories of their own struggles, and see that you can become better too.
If you don’t have someone that inspires you, then look online. Simply do a Google image search for positivity quotes and you’ll find tons of inspiring quotes. Or do a search on Lifehack for quotes and you’ll be overwhelmed with the amount of powerful quotes at hand.
Now you know what anxiety is and what you can do to overcome it, you are well on your way. Remember that you aren’t alone, there are many people out there dealing with anxiety too.
I truly believe you can overcome anxiety. You are stronger than you may think!
Featured photo credit: Jaque via freeimages.com