When Anxiety Attacks
Everyone goes through periods in life where they feel anxious or worried about what the future holds. After all, it’s a natural human experience. Whether you experience occasional bouts of anxiety or you need to actively manage excessive worries, doubts, and fears on a daily basis, having tools to support you in the pursuit of consciously calming your mind can significantly reduce both the intensity and duration in which you experience these emotions.
In this article, we’ll explore various strategies that can help ease your mind, reduce your anxiety, and help you regain control of your thoughts.
Recognise the Connection Between Anxiety and Depression
Understanding the connection between anxiety and depression can help you determine if what you’re navigating through is temporary or a sign of something that can affect your wellbeing long-term.
Anxiety and depression are in fact intertwined and frequently exacerbate each other. Part of the reason is because the same neurochemicals are implicated in both conditions. Decreased serotonin levels is a primary contributor of both anxiety and depression so it is likely for someone who is experiencing depression to also feel the effects of anxiety simultaneously.
If you are showing signs of anxiety or depression, it’s vital to acknowledge the feelings as they arise and communicate their implications on your life with a mental health professional, particularly if you’ve been diagnosed with depression in the past or don’t completely understand what it is you are experiencing.
Acknowledge Your Anxiety
Acknowledging when you feel anxious brings you back to the present moment. It allows you to take steps and work through the impending thoughts to ease the symptoms. When doing this, the first step is to put things into perspective by accepting that you cannot control everything. When you have a niggling thought that feels as though it won’t ever go away, ask yourself: “Is this thought really as bad as I think?”. Nurture yourself through the process by breaking down the thought. If you still answer yes, ask yourself the following:
- How do I know the thought is true (what is the evidence)?
- Can I reframe the thought into a more positive or realistic scenario?
- What is the possibility the thing I’m worried about will actually happen?
- What is the worst possible outcome? How bad is this, and can I handle it?
This is a particularly helpful exercise for people who deal with chronic or persistent anxiety. Give it a try next time you experience anxiety, you might be surprised.
Schedule An Anxiety Break
It may sound counterintuitive when adopting strategies to help you relieve anxiety, but allowing yourself a window of time each day specifically to feel the emotions of anxiety can free up your energy and allow you to focus on the task at hand. Of course, how you set this up depends on your routine. One suggestion is to write down any worries or anxieties that may potentially creep up first thing in the morning and give yourself permission to deal with them later in the day. Then, in the afternoon, carve out fifteen minutes and set a timer. Use this time specifically to observe any thoughts that are still causing worry and cross off any that don’t seem concerning or important to you anymore. Not only is this a fantastic way to offload and manage those thoughts but it grants you the time and energy to go about your day whilst still acknowledging your internal state.
Interrupt Your Thoughts
When negative thoughts transpire, it can often feel as though there is no way out. Interrupting your anxious thoughts by distracting yourself with a positive activity is an extremely empowering strategy. While it might not work every time, you may find that taking a break from overthinking can lead to fewer intrusive thoughts during the day. Here are some recommended techniques to try:
- Focus on deep breathing
- Practise a mindfulness meditation
- Move your body
- Engage in an activity that inspires joy or creativity
- Connect with a friend or loved one
- Immerse yourself in the great outdoors
- Keep your hands busy by drawing, journalling, doing a puzzle, or building something
Practise Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation and diaphragmatic breathing exercises have a profound effect on calming your mind and body. The good news? It only takes a few minutes each day to feel a difference. Use this time to connect to what’s going on in your mind and body. To help you get started, listen to one of our guided meditations. Once you feel comfortable and familiar with our Empowerment Series, you will find you experience more focus and awareness throughout the day.
Do One Thing Each Day That Brings You Happiness
When you’re feeling uneasy and want to take your mind off the stressor, make the time to do the things you love, whether that is going for a bike ride, getting lost in a novel, cooking a new recipe or simply venturing to your favourite spot to watch the sun set.
Finding that thing that provides a sense of contentment will not only make you feel better equipped to think clearly and logically, but you’ll find yourself naturally looking at the bigger picture.
Making time to do what you love can help you ease your stress, lift your mood, and expand your social circle which all contributes to a better quality of life.
Consider What Your Anxiety Is Communicating To You
Whilst a negative stigma around anxiety still exists, feeling anxious isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, anxious thoughts could be your body’s way of telling you something important. Perhaps you are overworked and need to slow down? Maybe you’re run down and the associated stress is telling you to take a break? The next time you feel worry, fear, stress, or overwhelming thoughts of dread, stop, and take a deep breath. Instead of defaulting to “this is my anxiety talking”, try to reframe how you view the situation. Ask yourself if your body is in fact trying to tell you something and go from there.
Have you explored the world of mindfulness meditation? We invite you to take the first step towards regaining control over your anxiety and living your best life yet. Explore our ancient practices with a modern approach to develop your healthiest mind. Start your wellness journey today with over 60+ Empowerment practices using meditation, mindfulness, positive psychology, subliminal strategies & more - available to you 24/7 from the comfort of your phone, tablet or computer. There’s no time like the present to step into your true power.