Your muscles tense, your heart starts pounding against your chest, your breathing intensifies, and you start sweating. Anxiety has reared its noisy head for the third time today–and you're spiralling. You try talking yourself out of it… But it doesn't work. If this all sounds awfully familiar, you must be desperately searching for an effective way to manage your anxiety levels. And this article is here to help. Below, you'll find 3 coping techniques that'll help you overcome your anxiety.
Identify your trigger(s)
When you’re riding out the physical symptoms of anxiety (i.e. trembling, panting, and sweating), understanding what’s making you anxious can be challenging. Despite its difficulty, though, you need to try. Spend some time exploring your thoughts and feelings to identify your trigger(s). Sometimes triggers can be obvious, like stimulant usage–caffeine or smoking–and alcohol consumption. More often than not, though, triggers can be less obvious. These include long-term problems, such as work-related or financial situations.
Once you've identified your triggers, try to limit your exposure, if possible. For example, if caffeine is your trigger, try cutting down on your intake; maybe drink 2 cups instead of your usual 4? If avoiding your triggers (e.g. your boss' nasty attitude) is impossible, then the following coping tips may help.
Ask yourself, "Is this helpful?"
Ruminating over something that’s making you anxious isn’t useful–in fact, it can even send you deeper into an anxiety spiral. What you can do, however, is to push your thought process toward a more helpful manner by forcing yourself to think ahead. For example, if you keep worrying that you made a mistake at work, ask yourself if worrying about it is helpful. You'll likely conclude that it's not.
So–the next logical step would be in thinking about what happens next. Maybe you send an email to your boss, ask if you've indeed made a mistake and, if you have, what you can do to rectify it. Eventually, your thought process should lead you to reasonable solutions, which gives you a sense of control over your situation. And that helps you make your way out of the anxiety rabbit hole.
Write down 2 things you’re grateful for
The best way to break free of a vicious anxiety-inducing negative thought pattern is to hit pause and think of 2 or 3 positive things going on in your life at this moment. Anything at all. It can be a hobby that brings you joy, something you’re proud of, and even someone who loves you. You'll soon find that the simple act of practising gratitude can help reduce a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and–of course–anxiety. Better yet, research shows that gratitude can help improve mental strength. Recognising everything positive in your life, and being grateful for them, fosters resilience. That means you’d be less prone to anxiety attacks in the future. What could be better?
Cultivating gratitude can feel strange the first time you’re doing it. But it gets easier over time! And if you still need some help, consider getting yourself The Daily Routine Journal, which comes complete with reminders to practice gratitude–daily. Check out what others say about it here.