For many years, I accepted the fact that my severe levels of anxiety would just always plague me. I tried counselling, medications, meditation, becoming a hermit, as well as other pieces of advice and tips over the years. It wasn’t until I stopped actively searching for solutions to anxiety and started thinking more about living mindfully that I found the one strategy that’s actually worked for me.
Now, I’m not saying that I don’t have anxiety these days — I definitely do. What I am saying is that there are specific strategies that do work when it comes to quelling anxiety when it arises.
If you suffer from severe anxiety, you probably get anxious about feeling anxious. This can send you off into a million different directions and make you feel like you need to prepare in advance for anything and that you absolutely need to know every possible scenario you might face in any situation ahead of time (Phew — need to take a breather after that one).
Luckily, getting anxious about getting anxious can be avoided when you know that you have a strategy in place to help you deal with those tense times.
Think about your current situation. If you are reading this, you may have something in mind that is causing you anxiety — be it slight or overwhelming.
Maybe you are starting a new job, have a test or presentation coming up, or are feeling unsure about a decision. Maybe it’s completely unrelated to any of those things. The first step is to identify what is causing the anxiety and why. It’s likely that the anxiety is rooted in some kind of insecurity.
The most important thing to remember is that anxiety (beyond a certain minimum level) won’t help your situation. Going over scenarios in your head is fine, but it will never truly prepare you for what’s about to come. The thing that will prepare you is identifying the time you have right now, being present in the moment, and using that time as a tool.
How things turn out down the line rely on what you do right now. So, you can spend your time thinking and feeling anxious, or you can do the most effective thing and do some work. Review your new job duties and make sure you understand them all. Practice your presentation over and over again until you feel comfortable with it. Read about news and current events before the party so that you can chime in on conversations even when you’re feeling shy and uncomfortable.
Knowing that the result is directly related to what you do now will help you put the anxiety aside and be productive. We can spend so much time living in our heads that we forget that the time we have now is a tool that we can use to change the future. After all, the future and past only exist in our memories and expectations. What we do have is right now.
To Put It Simply
If all that’s too rambly for you, here’s how to break it down.
– When you are feeling anxious, get a sheet of paper and write down what is causing your anxiety.
– Now, make a list of things you can do to solve, prepare for, or change whatever that anxiety is caused by.
– Focus on improving yourself and the situation RIGHT NOW instead of running in circles in your head.
– Know that when whatever is causing your anxiety comes to a head, you’ve done all you can to improve the situation.