Some of us really have a hard time keeping things quiet upstairs. What is meant by that is this: as humans we overthink stuff. It is easy to get caught up in reactivity and let our minds race.
Here are some ways to slow down the hamster wheel of anxiety when it is spinning ever so fast in your mind.
The outside world doesn’t change just because we thought so in our minds. Sometimes anxiety is provoked by circumstances we can’t change. We may find with a little inner digging and dialoguing that it isn’t so much about what needs to be changed out there. When we truly accept something, our perspective changes. Even if something isn’t the way you want it right now, accept that you are where you are. Change may happen soon, but accept where you are in this moment. That’s a start.
REALIZE THAT BRAIN CHEMICALS GET IMBALANCED
Anxiety seems so real and so threatening. It can be insanely helpful (pun intended) to just take a step back, and realize that all is well. Remind yourself that you aren’t really that freaked out, you are just feeling the effects of a chemical imbalance in your brain. Obviously, if this is a major problem for you, consider getting some help from a healthcare professional. In the meantime, don’t take your thoughts too seriously. Not everything you think is real – it’s just energy and chemicals doing their dirty dance.
REWIRE CIRCUITRY IN YOUR BRAIN
Author Tara Brach is often heard quoting, “Whatever fires together wires together.” This may seem like a whole lot of gibberish, but let’s look at what that means. The brain responds to our anxiety similarly every time. Because that is what it’s used to. When we start to change the way it responds to situations, over time this will be its new natural reaction. So the next time you get anxiety, respond to it in a different way. Take a few deep breaths (focusing on the breath) and pay more attention to your breath than your anxiety.
Do this until the feeling in your chest goes away. If you do this enough, the neurons in your brain will rewire themselves. You will have a new response to anxiety when it crops up, and you may find that it crops up much less often.
KNOW THAT YOUR MIND ONLY THINKS THERE IS A THREAT
As humans, we have come quite a long way since the days of hunting and gathering. Our brains are wired with responses to our surroundings. In ancient times, we needed this wiring to alert us if there was a predator nearby that was going to eat us. Now – our brains send off these same signals if our best friend hasn’t texted us in four hours. Realize that we are wired with age old chemicals and that we don’t really have to be in “Fight or Flight” constantly.
We can take a step back and really see things for what they are instead of just reacting to the feelings we have. We can realize that our life is not at stake, and save that energy for a time that it actually may be.
You’re human, and we all get anxiety.
The key is to not let this anxiety be crippling and debilitating. If you find that after following these tips you are still suffering from this type of anxiety, it is never a bad idea to get a professional opinion. Your life is way more valuable than squandering it over anxiety that you’d be happier without.
By Derrick Ivey