Anxiety has a funny way of creeping up on us when we’re not wanting it to show up.  Usually when we’re about to try something new or we may be in a situation where we have to do something that we are not good at doing, like talking in front of a group.  Everyone experiences anxiety and gets butterflies in their stomach but some people seem to have bouts of anxiety on a regular basis. Some of these people can trace their anxiety to another relative who also tends to have the same issue.  Yes, anxiety is one of those things that tends to run in families. But, if you are a parent and have it, this doesn’t mean that all of your children will end up with anxiety.

Learning how to handle anxiety when it pops up is an important step towards feeling like you have more control over it instead of feeling like it is controlling you.  Coping skills for anxiety can also lead to unhealthy ones like: binge eating, abusing alcohol, or increased isolation. By learning and practicing new skills to handle anxiety you become better at coping with it which will reduce your overall anxiety levels greatly.

Here are 6 ways to handle your anxiety:

1. Exaggerate the worry in your head–  Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Why would I want to do that?”  One reason would be to burn yourself out over your worrying. The over-thinking would cause you to not want to worry over it any more since you’re too worn out from obsessing over it.  Another reason to exaggerate the worry in your mind could actually help you to see that it isn’t that big of a deal to begin with.

2. Flip or reverse the situation– Reverse or flip the situation in your head.  If your friend was worrying excessively over what you were going through, how would you coach them through it?  This is a wonderful little trick that I share with clients. By putting yourself into the driver’s seat, you are now in

control.  When you are racked by worry, most feel they have no control. So by reversing the situation, to help you look at things from a different perspective, may be the extra view that you need.  It will help you make better choices, too.

3. Recognize red flags and false alarms– When you get anxious, are you starting to think about all the “what if’s” that could possible go wrong?  Yes, you say? If so, have the “what if’s” ever really happened” No! Rarely ever do they happen. Remind yourself this when you’re starting to panic.  It’s actually wasted energy to go through all the “what if’s” and begin to worry about them. Stay in your logical mind and don’t let your emotions take over.

4. Set aside a time to worry– Set your smartphone timer for 15 to 30 minutes, push begin, start worrying.  When the timer goes off on your phone, stop worrying. This exercise forces you to set limits on your worrying so that it doesn’t bleed over into the rest of the day.  Another term for this in the counseling world is “containment.” This will also give you a sense of control over your worrying.

5. Make peace with time– In many situations, time is what is going to be needed before your problem is “fixed” or at least sorted out.  This means that you will be doing yourself a huge favor by making peace with time itself. Stop trying to speed things up.  This won’t be happening. Step back, relax, and let things unfold as they will. Know in advance that this is much easier said than done.

6. Don’t let your anxiety hold you back from living– Worries and anxiety can easily have emotional and physical consequences plus change the overall quality of our lives if we allow them to.  Don’t give them that power over you. Pull the reigns in on your anxiety and hold them tight. Your life is going to have plenty of other things going wrong that will cause you to worry and increase your anxiety.  Save the worrying for the *BIG* serious stuff, not the little things.

So let’s recap what we’ve talked about.  Anxiety is completely normal but some of us tend to do it more often and also have a family history of anxiety and “worriers” living among us.  Being aware of when you are starting to feel anxious is a first step. Keeping calm and staying in your logical mind is another important part of maintaining control over your anxiety.  Once you allow your emotions to take over, things can sour quickly and you can start feeling totally out-of-control.

Stay logical, don’t hold feelings inside, vent to someone else, journal about your feelings, even “sleeping on it” can help because the next day you may feel totally different and much more relaxed.  And remember, practice, practice, practice. Practice using these skills to help you feel empowered over your anxiety. You CAN do this!

We hope that you have found this post informative and helpful to you a family member, friend or colleague.  For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Psychotherapy Services Of Atlanta today.  404 330-4336