Worrying has become the modern-day human condition. Sometimes we worry about circumstances that are right on top of us; things we have to deal with immediately such as a flat tire or notification of a health concern. However, the majority of worrying takes place as our brains occupy themselves on all of the potential unknown variables; all of the catastrophes and hardships that may, possibly occur no matter how likely or unlikely these variables may manifest in reality, we worry about them.
We think, "What if..." What if the car breaks down? What if I lose my job? What if the outcome is bad?
In fact, we can spend so much time worrying about the unknown that it literally makes us sick. Our stress levels climb, we ruminate on all of the negative potentials around us, and as stress hormones build we become distracted, and feelings of fear and panic can set in, physical symptoms can take hold such as headaches, upset stomach, neck and back pain and insomnia to name a few.
Making the matter worse, brains love to solve problems, so if you give it an opportunity to worry, no matter how unlikely the scenario is to actually take place, your brain is conditioned to grab hold of that and think about that problem for a very long time. Hence, busy brain can ensue. Those who suffer with anxiety disorders often experience this daily, and one fearful thought can quickly turn to panic and chronic stress. However, using a few techniques can help quiet those fearful thoughts, helping to prevent them from growing into all-out anxiety and panic.
Below are tips to prevent anxious thoughts before they take hold and become something worse:
Identify your feelings. Identify how you really feel and the corresponding thought leading to that feeling. Knowing how you feel and linking that to the thought that is causing the feeling can be a strong indicator for people to examine the validity of their feelings. When people worry about circumstances that haven't happened or likely will not happen, the emotional reaction to those thoughts may not be entirely rational. Take a step back and assess if the actual circumstances warrant your current feelings, particularly if you are feeling worried, anxious or panicked. If you are feeling fearful, your mind is often very willing to accept that this feeling is rational. But, if you consciously examine this link, you will be better able to determine if your feelings are truly based on a real, current threat.
Don't try to avoid fear. The opposite of what you might think is true. Trying to avoid your fearful feelings can make anxiety intensify. A much stronger approach is to face the fear openly and directly. A mindful approach is needed to identify and manage the thought/feeling dynamic and diffuse the harmful relationship. Avoidance can lead to deeper issues such as flashbacks and nightmares
Ask rational questions. Asking yourself rational questions can often help put fear in its place.Using logic can often diffuse the strength of fear and panic. Take stock of the evidence you have to evaluate the validity of your fears. What is actually dangerous or threatening about the situation? What would be the worst outcome for you? Do you have a plan to manage this situation should it take place? How likely is this scenario to actually happen?
Thinking logically about a perceived threat can interrupt the thought/feelings link and loosen the hold of the fear, provided the logical conclusion is that there is less to worry about, making the current status of fear irrational.
Small steps toward confronting fear. Seek out opportunities to take small bites in addressing fearful situations. For instance, if crowds cause you anxiety, consider going to a crowded restaurant or store with a couple of trusted friends or family members. That way, if the situation is overwhelming, you can easily step outside and remove yourself from the crowd versus being in a crowded amusement park or festival that would make escaping the crowd far more challenging if needed.
Mindfulness meditation. Spend a moment each day, preferably first thing in the morning, practicing mindful mediation. When we meditate, the mind and body connection are clearly linked, and through intentionally relaxing both we strengthen the cause and effect mechanism that will allow an easier transition into relaxation throughout the day whether we find physical relaxation easier to achieve or mental relaxation easier to achieve-one will have a significant automatic impact on the other.
In fact, there mere focus on breathing for five minutes will help link that connection with a state of relaxation, lessening the impact of anxiety.
Take a natural remedy. There are many natural stress remedies on the market. Sometimes it's just enough to take the edge off. Other times it helps us relax so much that we've stopped feeling any anxiety at all. Relax Already contains a combination of natural herbs that may help to reduce feelings of stress, tension and anxiety.
Practice for improved successes.Practicing each of these techniques individually or together will strengthen the effectiveness of the techniques. Teaching your mind and body to respond to these practices you'll find both a quicker and deeper response into a more normalized state to help you manage anxiety. At first, you may find that these practices only work on lesser states of anxiety, but eventually through practice these habits may help you manage even deep states of panic