Anxiety isn’t something that can be fought or cured head on. If you start thinking about how to cure your anxiety or make it go away, it’s a losing battle. What you need to do instead is focus on certain things that if you master, the anxiety will go away by itself. Here are my 7 ways on how to fight anxiety the right way, focus on these tasks instead of the anxiety itself.
HOw to fight anxiety: 7 ways to stop worrying all the time
#1 – Understand What’s Happening
The first step on how to fight anxiety is understanding what the heck was going on. First the good news, anxiety and fear are healthy and normal.
It’s not weird that you’re feeling those emotions, it’s totally human.
Pyschology Today reminds us that fear is not a sign of weakness:
“Feeling fear is neither abnormal nor a sign of weakness: The capacity to be afraid is part of normal brain function. In fact, a lack of fear may be a sign of serious brain damage.” – Psychology Today
See, you’re normal!
Very normal in fact, 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety. That’s 5 million more people than the population of Canada!
The other good news is that the Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that “anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.” Ok the part about people not recieving treatment is not good news, but they said it’s highly treatable.
Fear kept our ancestors alive
Why do we feel anxiety when there’s no real danger?
MentalHealth.Org has our answer:
“Early humans needed the fast, powerful responses that fear causes, as they were often in situations of physical danger; however, we no longer face the same threats in modern-day living.
Despite this, our minds and bodies still work in the same way as our early ancestors, and we have the same reactions to our modern worries about bills, travel and social situations. But we can’t run away from or physically attack these problems!”
So back in our cave man days, the people who felt high anxiety and fear, and reacted to things quickly were the ones that stayed alive.
We are now living in a world where our physical well-being doesn’t get threatened as much (or ever?), so although anixety is normal it’s no longer necessary in order to stay alive. This is key. Understanding that you don’t have to feel this way all the time is going to help you overcome it.
#2 – Interrupt the Pattern
Our lives are filled with patterns and habits.
We like to do the same things over and over again because it feels comfortable and normal. If you’re used to feeling anxious because it’s a pattern you follow on a daily basis, your brain is going to naturally go there because that’s the path of least resistance.
So you just have to change your anxious thoughts and you’ll be good to go.
I wish it was that easy.
The truth is that the anxious thought patterns that you have developed over years and years are not just going to go away if you start thinking positively.
If you fight those thoughts, they will fight back even harder.
The key is to try and interrupt the pattern by using the 5 second rule.
Pssst…You might be interested in my FREE 10 Day Self Care Challenge. Click here to learn more.
#3 – Use the 5 Second Rule
Mel Robbins is a motivational speaker and speaks a lot about how to fight anxiety and panic attacks. She did research so that we don’t have to (yay!) and came up with the Five Second Rule as a way to break the anxious thought pattern. She explains the rule in this video but I’ll give you the cliff notes.
fear and excitement have the same physical symptoms
Have you ever been so excited about something that you felt butterflies in your stomach and had trouble sleeping the night before? I get this feeling when I’m about to go on a vacation and I’m heading to the airport. It’s a feeling of excitement that feels exactly like anxiety.
The sweaty hands.
If I was afraid of flying, my physical symptoms would be exactly the same as the feeling of excitment.
So if they feel the same physically, why does anxiety feel so awful and excitement feels so awesome?
YOUR BRAIN is the differenCE between excitement and anxiety
When you’re excited, your brain is saying “this is a good feeling, I like this” but when you’re anxious your brain says “this is an awful feeling, I don’t like this”.
So what you need to do here is trick your brain into thinking that your anxious physical symptoms are actually a good thing.
You do this with the 5 Second Rule, which has the following steps:
- Break the anxious thought pattern by quickly counting down 5,4,3,2,1.
- Replace any anxious thoughts with an “anchor thought”
The anchor thought
Mel Robbins explains that the anchor thought is a happy thought that you’re going to use to tell your brain why you’re feeling the physical symptoms of anxiety. If your brain thinks “oh she’s just excited” as a reason for the butterflies and sweaty palms, you will instantly start to relax and calm down.
The anchor thought is a happy thought that is related to the anxious thought.
For example: let’s say you are anxious about making a speech.
First, count 5,4,3,2,1 to interrupt the thought pattern.
Then immediately start thinking about how great you’re going to feel when the speech is over and you have that adrenaline rush of happiness. The feeling of accomplishment and that feeling of “yes I did it!”.
Those thoughts will trick your brain into thinking you’re excited about the speech, not nervous.
This trick works like magic!
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#4 – Stay In the Present
The 5 second rule that I described above is my favourite way on how to fight anxiety because I’m always thinking about the future. The 5 second rule allows me to change the future thoughts into something exciting so that helps me look forward to the future rather than fear it.
See that’s what anxiety is all about, it’s worrying about something that has not yet happened. It’s fear of the future.
So another way to help calm anxiety is to stay in the present/
Staying present is a way to help you stay grounded and keep you living in the moment. If you go for a walk, be mindful of every sensation that is happening around you. Think about your breathing. Look and your feet as they walk on the pavement. Feel how the temperature of the air is touching your skin. Listen to the wind, the cars, children playing.
You can be present in any location. Home, work, your car. It’s a quick way to interrupt an anxious thought pattern and replace it with thoughts about your environment.
#5 – Note Your Triggers
The only time in my life when I was having consistent panic attacks was when I was in an unhealthy relationship. The panic attacks always happened at home and when I was thinking about my relationship or fighting with my boyfriend.
My boyfriend at the time was a trigger. Once he was out of my life, the panic attacks stopped.
You’d be surprised at how many triggers you can actually remove from your life. Even with things that feel permanent like a stress inducing job. You can say that your workload is overbearing and that you need help, or you can get moved to another department or you can switch jobs all together.
There are often more solutions out there than we’re willing to accept.
Sometimes we are stuck in situations where they will trigger us no matter what we do. There are situations like this that we can’t control or remove from our lives but that’s ok.
Even just knowing your triggers is going to help you a lot. If you know that something triggers a panic attack or an anxious feeling, you can prepare yourself ahead of time. Also the more you face a situation that makes you feel anxious, the more comfortable you will start to feel and the easier it will be to get through.
#6 – Meditation
If there was a way to just turn off anxiety, meditation would be the way to do it. In fact, it really does act like a switch to turn off a racing brain if you practice it enough. Learning how to fight anxiety is something that involves learning multiple skills.
Meditation is one of the best ways to treat chronic anxiety because if you get really good at it, you can instantly turn your brain off and start meditating no matter what the situation. So you don’t have to sit down in a lotus pose on your meditation cushion and put on your meditation app. You can just close your eyes for a moment and start meditating to calm your nerves and avoid a panic attack. This can be done in a bathroom, coffee shop or at your desk.
This is a skill though so start slow and practice a little bit every day.
#7 – Self Care
There’s no way I could write a list about how to fight anxiety without including one of my favourite things! Self care is an essential part of life and you must be doing small acts of self care on a daily basis and bigger self care acts on a weekly or monthly basis.
If you are not taking the time to focus on relaxing your mind and doing things that make you happy, anything the world throws at you is going to hit you so much harder.
Remember the Millennialships concept shows that self care is the first step to a happy life. All the things that you do, say and think about have self care at the root of them. Lack of self care leads to negative actions, thoughts and words.
So make sure you have some self care activities that you do on a regular basis and establish a self care morning routine that starts every day on the right foot. I also have a FREE self care challenge that can help you get started on your self care journey. You can learn more about that here.
Thanks for checking out my post on how to fight anxiety. I hope that these tips will be helpful to you and that you use them in order to live your best life. Until next time friend!
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