Anxiety affects more and more of the population each year. Some sectors of the population are more likely to be affected than others. For instance, parents – particularly new mothers – are prone to chronic anxiety. When you have kids, your world suddenly opens up, and a chasm of worries is staring up at you. What if you’re not a good mother? What if your kids don’t like you? What if you don’t have enough money to support your family?
All of these questions, and loads more, circle around inside your head every single day. It leads to sleepless nights and mini panic attacks as the anxiety builds up. Unfortunately, anxiety isn’t something you can magically cure overnight with some pills. It’s a mental health condition that needs to be managed. The good news is that there are ways to cope with it. Take a look at the tips below to see what can be done:
Rationalize your thoughts
Whenever you feel a bout of anxiety coming on, try to rationalize the way you’re thinking. What’s making you feel anxious and worried? Pinpoint this, and then consider whether it’s a rational train of thought or not.
Sometimes, this is all it takes for you to realize that you’re panicking and blowing things out of proportion. After stopping and rationalizing the situation, you know you’re worrying about something that’s out of your control and not really that important. It’s all about learning how to control your mind and understand how you think.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the best treatments you can get for anxiety. Places like Ottawa Counselling & Psychotherapy Centre offer this as a service specifically for anxious people. The idea behind CBT is that you’re trained to think differently and react in different ways to anxiety-inducing situations.
Effectively, it’s a way of helping you rationalize your thoughts, but it extends beyond that too. CBT enables you to understand what causes a lot of your anxiety and when you’re likely to get these negative thoughts. As a result, you learn how to adapt to these situations before the anxiety kicks in. Overall, it can help you have a more positive outlook on life.
That’s right; breathing is a fantastic way to cope with chronic anxiety. This sounds ridiculous, but it’s very true. When you get feelings of anxiety, your body starts to react in different ways. It triggers your natural fight or flight response, leading to an elevated heart rate and a general feeling of being on edge. In turn, this is what causes panic attacks. So, if you regularly have anxiety-fueled panic attacks, this is excellent advice.
Breathing in slowly and deeply will basically reset your heart rate. It calms your body down and stops the physical reactions to anxiety. As your heartbeat slows down, you begin to feel more relaxed and a lot calmer. Try this whenever you feel a panic coming along – close your eyes and take multiple deep breaths in and out. Focus on your breathing, and you’ll start to return to normal. It’s a quick way to calm anxiety, particularly if you’re about to freak out.
Make a note of your thoughts
As we have spoken about already, a lot of anxiety stems from the thoughts inside your head. Writing these thoughts down can help you make sense of your situation. Whenever you feel anxious, consider what’s causing it. Why are you currently feeling this way? Is it work-related? Does it have something to do with your finances? Whatever it is, make a note of it in a journal.
This is a technique that therapists use all the time when treating patients with anxiety. It’s sometimes called an anxiety journal, and the aim is to get the thoughts out of your head and into the world. Writing them down helps you look at them from a new perspective. Often, you see what you’ve written and find it much easier to go, “oh, why am I worried about that?”.
Talk to someone
Talking about your anxious thoughts is the number one best way of coping. Ideally, it would be best if you spoke to a professional. However, there’s nothing wrong with sitting down and chatting with friends or family. Again, getting your thoughts out there can weirdly free up space in your mind, which makes you feel less anxious.
Anxiety isn’t something that goes away quickly. Yes, there are tips and tricks to ease bouts of anxiety when they happen, but coping with it is a long-term thing. Hopefully, these ideas set you off on the right path.