Tips For Getting Rid Of Anxiety
One of the skills that I find most valuable is getting rid of anxiety.
Anxiety implies stress and reduces the quality of our lives.
The state of anxiety is created by our thoughts, and as such it can be changed, by changing our thoughts.
Hugh Prather states in the foreword of 'Love is letting go of fear':
"Anxiety -the only alternative to trusting what is happening- is a state of immobilization caused by our focusing on what we believe cannot be changed: on what is over, or on what has not occurred."
Some of the causes of anxiety are: fear for the future; guilt about the past; insecurity; low self-esteem; need for approval from a partner, parent or other figure; or fear of any kind, like phobias.
We also cause ourselves anxiety through negative self-talk; "I am not how I should be". Feelings of inadequacy create a great deal of anxiety, regardless the specific situation.
Different ways of getting rid of anxiety
There are many tools for getting rid of anxiety. You may find that some resonate with you and some don't.
This is because we are all different and are at a different point of our own evolution, thus we need different tools.
Below you will find a list of several techniques; pick the one or few ones that appeal to you the most, and try them next time that you feel anxious.
Do these tools guarantee that you will be able to avoid anxiety forever? Most likely not (though practice is mastery), but they will surely help you in becoming a more relaxed, stress-free person, while you learn to handle anxiety.
Overtime you may develop your unique approach to getting rid of anxiety and find the exact technique you need every time to remain calm.
Here are some techniques for getting rid of anxiety:
- Think rationally about the cause of your anxiety and look at it with an attitude of detachment.
Challenge your own thoughts by asking yourself this: Is this cause real? Am I having imaginary fears? Can I drop it altogether? If not, why not?
Perhaps you have old beliefs you need to discard. Perhaps you have fear of being free and being yourself fully. Reflecting upon your own anxiety may help you to see the real cause of it more clearly and regain calm.
- Escape from your own thoughts by coming back to the present. Pay attention to what surrounds you, or use a good thought-interruption technique.
Since most of the thoughts that create anxiety focus on the past or the future, we forget that we are actually in the now, and there is no problem in the now.
- Choose to meditate or 'sit' with your anxiety. This is a way to confront your own feelings and 'bear them' without trying to shut them off.
Simply sit quietly somewhere and feel your anxiety, breathing slowly and deeply. After a few uncomfortable minutes, you may be able to look at your anxiety with more calm and a more clear head, and this is already a great step.
- Positive affirmations work for most people. You could trade your anxiety for peace by choosing the best positive thinking affirmations that work for you and letting them change the object of your focus.
- Decide to let go of everything that makes you feel chained and anxious.
A great feeling of peace and relief follows when you realize that you cannot manipulate what provokes anxiety in you and you choose to let go and let happen whatever needs to happen. It is like a weight taken off you.
This is one of my favourite techniques for getting rid of anxiety, as I find that it works effectively and immediately.
- The game of boxes. As a means of making the anxiety more manageable, you could choose to imagine or visualize whatever causes the anxiety as an issue separated from the rest of the things of your life.
Imagine putting the issue into a box and closing the box. You can now choose whether you leave the box aside and deal with it later, or forget about it, or throw it away altogether.
- You can choose to face your anxiety. What would happen if you stood up with energy and faced what makes you anxious? What would be the worst thing that could happen?
How do you see yourself saying to your anxiety "And now, what"? Sometimes we make our problems appear much larger than they actually are.
- A friend shared with me this great tip for getting rid of anxiety which involves NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming).
This is a technique that you must practice at a time when you are feeling completely calm, so you build it as a strategy to deal with anxiety when it comes.
Pick one situation which makes you feel anxious. In a detached way, as if you were simply studying it, "dissect" the situation: what happens first, what is the trigger that makes you start feeling anxious, what happens next.
Then, act out that sequence of events but as if you were a cartoon character, exaggerating all gestures: if for instance you say a soft 'Oh!' as the first sign of feeling anxious, act it out in an operatic, over-the-top exclamation, 'OOOOHHHH!!!'
If you start biting your nails when you get anxious, act it out with overreacting gestures, almost as if you were eating your whole hand.
Have fun with the technique: as you act out the situation as if you were a cartoon, you'll find yourself actually laughing; do it in front of a mirror for maximum effect.
I applied this technique for a specific situation that used to make me feel very anxious. As a result, when the situation came around again I automatically remembered "the cartoon play" and I couldn't help but laugh.
I felt immediately more calm, truly getting rid of anxiety and able to deal with the situation from an empowering position, rather than from the position of a victim.
- You can also choose to direct your thoughts on a different path by turning to positive thinking. This means replacing the thoughts that you are having which make you feel bad for thoughts which make you feel good, one thought at a time.
For example, you could imagine how things would be if you wrote the script of your life. You could make use of any of these positive thinking ideas.
- Think about someone you admire. Imagine what they would do if they were in your circumstances. How would they behave? How could you copy their most useful behaviour?
You could think of a friend, your partner, or perhaps a famous person (I like thinking of Frida Kahlo as an example of strength).
A very powerful technique for getting rid of anxiety is to accept what is, or, at least, accept how you feel about it.
I have found anxiety in trying to deny my own anxiety about something - the circle created there can be endless; why not rather accept the anxiety in the first place?
This doesn't mean to comply to everything when you don't like it; it means that you choose to see that what is, just is, and then you go out and create the circumstances that you'd rather have.
There is no point in complaining about what is, or wasting energy fighting against it. You are much better off saying "All right" to it, and then turning around and make things happen as you want them. This is a quick way of getting rid of anxiety.
"All is well in my world."
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