National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
On any given day, we come into contact with folks who report that they are ‘stressed out’ or that their anxiety level is through the roof. In fact, most of us have been there ourselves; unable to concentrate on a project because we are so overwhelmed by the myriad things to accomplish. Or sleep seems just out of reach at night because we are unable to quell the racing thoughts. The beast of anxiety seems to leave no one untouched.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Sure, some level of stress and anxiety is inescapable in our daily lives. But by planning ahead and anticipating it, we can go a long way to reducing its effects upon us.
Below are some very effective tips for managing anxiety. In spite of their simplicity, good results can be obtained by placing even one of these into practice.
- Be prepared to give your mind a break
Take some time during a calm period to prepare a list of activities that you enjoy doing that are relatively mindless and can offer your mind a break when it’s in an anxious mode. Some examples may be gardening, playing a game of solitaire, taking a walk or even going to see a movie. Having the list ready to go when anxiety strikes is the key as it keeps from adding more ‘clutter’ to your mind as you deal with trying to mitigate the stress.
- Practice stress-reducing breathing techniques
Simple awareness of our breathing can go a long way to reducing anxiety. Practice taking long slow deep breaths as this oxygenates the blood and helps to clear the mental fog that contributes to anxiety. Much information abounds about specific breathing techniques for stress reduction. Research and practice what works for you so you will be ready when anxiety hits.
- Gain new perspective
Typically, when we are in a highly anxious mode, our imaginations get the best of us by offering all kinds of horrible scenarios. Take a moment to step back and ask whether those scenarios are rooted in rational thought or are simply our dramatic side in hyper drive. For me, it helps to remember that nothing, short of my own death, is the end of the world.
Anxiety is a fact of life in today’s society. However, we have the ability to recognize its presence and plan ahead so that we are not paralyzed when it makes itself apparent in our lives. Surprisingly, stress and anxiety can even serve as excellent motivators for change if we take the time to understand the root cause and address it.
The next time you find your self confronted by anxiety, take a moment to give your mind a break, practice some new breathing techniques or simply step back for a new perspective. You may find it’s all the help you need at combating the beast!