Everyone feels anxious at some point. It’s a natural response that helps us stay safe, but it can also get in the way of managing our lives and achieving what we want. Here are 7 tips for managing your anxiety so you can live life more fully.
1) Evaluate your anxiety
A lot of people think managing anxiety is about managing the symptoms. It’s not. Managing your anxiety means managing your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
It takes a lot of practice to change old habits that are keeping you anxious, but it will be worth it. You’ll feel more in control and less overwhelmed by worry or stress. Evaluating what’s happening inside you can help you identify which strategies work best for managing your anxiety-related symptoms so that they don’t get out of hand again soon after treatment has ended. One way to do this is to keep an “anxiety diary.” This is a journal where each day you write down how much time you spent worrying or feeling stressed during the day as well as any other factors that might have influenced your anxiety levels. Over time, you can learn a lot about managing your symptoms by looking back on this diary.
You’ll see what situations tend to trigger or worsen your symptoms and then use that knowledge to help prevent future flare-ups. Sometimes the people closest to you may be able to provide insight into managing your anxiety because they can see when you’re managing your symptoms well or poorly.
2) Write down the things you have control over right now
It is a well-known fact that managing anxiety can be difficult. However, there are things you can do on the spot to help yourself feel better. One of these ideas is writing down the things you have control over right now. When managing anxiety, it’s often hard to think straight and focus on anything else but what has been causing your stress or worries in the first place. By writing down all of your current responsibilities and obligations, you will be able to get a more clear picture of how much time and energy you have available for other tasks going forward. This list might also include any commitments that may not seem urgent at this moment but still need attention later on – such as paying bills or taking care of family members who depend on you. By managing your anxiety, you will be able to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
3) Make a list of your worries
Don’t worry! Sure managing your worries can be tough, but there are tons of ways you can do it. For one, try making a list of your worries and doing something about them. It’s a classic way to take action on what’s really bothering you in the moment.
If that doesn’t work for you, try setting small goals for a day or a week – this will help with managing anxiety because it’ll give you an achievable goal to accomplish without feeling dread over the bigger picture if that may be adding to feelings of stress or anxiety. You could also talk to someone about how they manage their concerns without judgement – like checking out self-help books on managing moods and emotions (or joining our mission.
4) Take three deep breaths from the diaphragm to calm yourself when experiencing an intense panic attack.
When you experience a panic attack, the best thing you can do to calm yourself is to take three deep breaths from your diaphragm. This will increase oxygen levels in your blood and reduce the feeling of anxiety.
This technique has been proven effective by many doctors and therapists, and it’s also relatively easy to do: just inhale for four seconds through your nose while counting slowly up to seven; then exhale for six seconds through your mouth while counting back down from eight. Repeat these steps until you feel calmer, but remember not to hyperventilate!
5) Practice accepting uncertainty
It is often said that “uncertainty” is the one thing we can be certain of in life. No matter how hard we try, there are always some things about which we will never know with certainty.
That’s why managing anxiety starts with managing uncertainty – and practice makes perfect. If you want to get better at managing your anxious thoughts, fears and worries, then you need to practice managing uncertainty more frequently and effectively each day. You’ll also need to do it under less-than-ideal conditions (e.g., when you’re tired or hungry). That way, when an uncertain situation arises in real life, you’ll have a greater sense of mastery over it than if you’d only practiced on easy days or while feeling healthy and well-rested.
To practice managing uncertainty, start by thinking about a situation in which you typically find yourself uncertain (e.g., whether or not your boss will be pleased with the work product coming from your team). Then list all of the possible scenarios for how this uncertain situation could play out. For example, with your boss, you might list: a. She praises our work product b. She takes issue with one of the pieces c. She says she needs more time to review your team’s work etc…
Next, write down what kinds of thoughts and feelings you experience when you think about each possible outcome from step 3 above. For example, with the list above about your boss, you might list:
a. “I think that she will praise our work product because I did a good job on it.” b. “She may like some parts of the work product but not others.” c. “Even if she says something critical, maybe she’s actually trying to prepare me for positive feedback.”
Finally, come up with 2-3 strategies for managing each kind of uncertainty you listed above.
6) Use positive self-talk
Self-talk is an important part of managing anxiety.
Self-talk can be either positive or negative and it impacts how we feel about ourselves, the world around us, and our ability to cope with stressful situations. Negative self-talk leads to more negative feelings which in turn lead to more anxiety. Positive self-talk on the other hand leads to better feelings and less anxiety. It’s easier said than done but studies have shown that managing your thoughts by changing them from negative to positive has a significant impact on managing symptoms of depression and anxiety. Here are some helpful tips:
1) Replace “I can’t” with “I will try.”
2) Replace “Why do I always…?” with “I may not be perfect but…”
3) Replace “This is never going to work out.” with “It’s hard right now, but it may get better.”
4) Instead of thinking “I can’t believe I made such a mistake!” try saying: “Everyone makes mistakes sometimes and it’s okay to be human.”
5) Instead of thinking “I can’t handle this, it’s just too much!” try saying: “I may not be able to handle everything, but I can definitely tackle one thing at a time.”
6) Instead of thinking “This is unbearable!” try saying “This is uncomfortable, but I can manage it.”
7) Instead of thinking “I have to do this perfectly.” try saying: “I will do my very best and that’s good enough for me.”
8) Replace “This is just a tiny problem.” with “It’s okay that I’m feeling anxious about this problem. Problems are called problems because they aren’t easy to solve. I’m going to take a deep breath and tackle this problem one step at a time.”
9) Instead of saying “I just can’t do this.” try saying: “It’s hard, but I know that with help from my therapist or doctor I can get better.”
10) Instead of thinking “I’m a failure.” try saying: “It’s okay to make mistakes – we all learn from them, and I can do better next time.”
7) Watch what you drink
If managing your anxiety is important to you, then it’s worth taking a look at how much alcohol you drink. Many people don’t realize that drinking alcohol can worsen anxiety symptoms and lead to panic attacks. There are many reasons why this happens, but the short version is that when you drink alcohol, it disrupts the balance of chemicals in your brain and leads to mental fog or even outright blackouts.
Plus, if you’re already feeling anxious about something before you start drinking, alcohol will make those feelings worse rather than better because it makes them harder for us to control our emotions. It also lowers our inhibitions which means we might act on things like anger or sadness without considering the consequences first – all of which can be very bad news for managing anxiety. If you’re finding it hard to stop drinking, and managing your anxiety is important to you, then maybe talking to somebody about your issues with alcohol will help.
If managing anxiety is a challenge for you, we encourage you to try the following 7 tips we have mentioned above. From managing your breathing and thoughts, to staying active and managing stress levels, these are some practical things that can help reduce symptoms of anxiety from returning. What do you find most helpful in managing your own symptoms? Let us know! We always enjoy hearing about what works well for others as it helps motivate our team members when they come across new strategies themselves.