Are you someone who, like many, struggles with feeling anxious? If so, you are not alone. Feeling anxious is a natural human emotion that we all encounter at times. This feeling is not bad and, in fact, can help us think, plan, act, and do things to help ourselves in several positive ways. However, too much of anything can be problematic, and anxiety in excess or overdrive can become a challenge and difficult to manage. Thankfully, there are a number of ways we can effectively cope with and reduce feelings of anxiousness. Let’s start by looking at what anxiety actually feels like. Anxiety symptoms can look like:
- Feeling distressed or on edge
- Worrying in excess
- Difficulty stopping or controlling thoughts
- Panicking uncontrollably
- Feeling irritable
- Inability to relax
- Ruminating on things
- Feeling afraid as if something awful might happen
- Having intrusive or unwanted thoughts
- Not being able to sit still
If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, you are likely feeling anxious about one or more things. Anxiety can often create a feeling of intensity that is hard to navigate or feel a sense of control over. If you are feeling anxious, here are a few steps to help begin coping with and working through those feelings.
- Do not avoid it: Avoiding how we feel does not help address the feeling. Instead, we want to address the anxiety symptoms head-on. Start by acknowledging that you’re feeling anxious and identify what triggered you into feeling that way.
- Focus on what you can control: We often focus on things not within our control. Ask yourself, “Am I worrying about something I can or cannot change?” If it’s within your control, you can do something about it. If it’s not, try and let go. Shift your focus to what you can do.
- Ask yourself: Ask yourself, “What would make me feel better about this?” That could be accepting that it isn’t in your control, asking for help, talking to a friend about it, or focusing on positive outcomes.
- Stop “what if” thinking: We will not feel less anxious if we think about all possible worst-case scenarios. It does nothing to help us feel relaxed or calm. Instead, we want to challenge these thoughts with more helpful thinking habits. Try asking yourself, “What if this does work out?” or “What if everything comes back okay?” Give your mind and emotions a chance to think about all possible options, not just the negative ones you fear most. This is especially helpful because, more often than not, the events we fear don’t actually happen.
- Test different relaxation methods: Instead of allowing your mind to race and wonder, do something to distract yourself. This should be an activity that helps you feel calmer and more relaxed, such as going for a walk, meditating, reading, doing yoga, or breathing exercises.
If you are still feeling anxious after trying these coping tools, it may be helpful to reach out for more ongoing support. Therapy and counseling are great places to work through anxiety triggers, gain support, and learn hope to cope with your symptoms. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help you feel more in control of your thoughts and emotions.