Anxiety is difficult to deal with, especially when it comes on without any warning. It can be triggered by situations happening in the present, as well as things that bring up memories from your past. To get a handle on how to deal with it, the following may prove helpful. Of course, there can be deep-rooted causes, and working with a therapist, counselor, or another healthcare professional is advised.
1. Focus on the sensations that are coming up. Do you have tightness of breath, are you feeling sweaty–whatever it is, become of aware of your sensations. You want to get in touch with what is going on in your body.
2. Watch what you are telling yourself. Actually, listen to your inner dialogue. What is your fear telling you? Note if that is making you feel better or worse–more than likely it’s making you feel worse. Awareness of what is actually going on will help.
3. Now, make a decision to do a few things to help ease the anxiety.
- If you are feeling a tightness of breath, for example, start to breathe as deeply as you can.
- If your mind is overthinking and leading you nowhere, just STOP.
- Physically, sit down if you are standing. Call a friend or someone you trust, explain what’s happening and ask them to just listen. Then, together, isolate the thoughts, one by one, and affirm the truth, not what your “fear” is telling you will happen.
- For example, Terror Talk: “I have never done this, I am going to fail, and will be so embarrassed.”
Affirming Talk: “I haven’t done this, and although I am scared, I can reach out to several people, who can help me complete it successfully.”
4. Remember the past. Think of several times when you felt a similar way, and you were able to alleviate the anxiety and go on with your day. What did you do, who helped you during these times, and how did you feel afterward? Bring these situations to mind and tell yourself, “I can do this.”