Anxiety is terrifying and can seem insurmountable at times: the racing heart, the thoughts tumbling around, the feeling that you can’t catch your breath no matter what you do. Here are five quick ways to deal with anxiety you might never have thought of:
Read something positive.
Getting a positive thought going in your head can cast the world around you in a calmer, more relaxed light. Doing so improves your ability to react to it. Consider keeping an affirmation or an inspiring quote close by, something that you can turn to in order to relax your mind and keep those racing thoughts at bay. Having trouble finding something? Check out how to maintain a positive attitude.
Get physically active.
Some brisk walking, especially if you can do it away from your triggers (your office stairwell will suffice if you can’t get outside to walk around the block), can rechannel your anxiety into positive thoughts by engaging your body in a positive way and doing something that’s good for you. Additionally, exercise works as well as anti-depressants and anxiolytics to relieve stress, boost self-esteem, elevate mood, improve sleep and more, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America.
Use exit therapy.
If you are feeling anxious and are around people, excuse yourself for a few minutes. Anxiety can quickly bloom into social anxiety and can leave you feeling helpless and terrified in the most mundane of social situations. What’s worse, it can leave you feeling worried about future problems with social anxiety, which only reinforces the problem further. Take a few minutes away to clear your mind, take a few deep breaths, perhaps recite a calming mantra to yourself. If it doesn’t clear up, try calling a trusted friend to talk to about how you’re feeling. This will not only alleviate the anxiety, it will help lower the threshold of social anxiety in future situations by reinforcing that reaching out is a good and helpful thing to do.
Remember the past.
You have been in other situations that were challenging and resolved previously in your life, so focus on one of those. Simply realizing that “this, too, shall pass” as previous situations have can be incredibly affirming, even if it hasn’t happened yet.
You’re in a mode where you are thinking negatively about a situation or circumstance, so try turning that on its head. Consider asking yourself why you are thinking this way or what it is about your thinking that makes you believe it to be true? If you are having trouble with combating these thoughts, check out this sweet post on how to defuse negative thinking.
And here is my personal #6, just as a little extra bonus: try to be curious. I can be an incredibly high-strung, hand-wringing, easily-warped individual whose mind quickly goes to the negative and has had me petrified by anxiety in the past. Instead of dwelling there these days, when I get too engaged in negativity or bogged down by stress I try to be a little bit curious instead. Why am I feeling this way? What purpose does it serve? Is there something I could be doing differently that might be more helpful? For me, approaching these problems with a bit of gentleness, self-compassion and curiosity has been most beneficial in effectively combating anxiety.