How to Overcome Anxiety

Overcoming Anxiety

How to Overcome Anxiety

Do you pay attention to everything your mind tells you? Our minds can take us on a wild goose ride with all the "What ifs" and "I should haves." The mind is the main cause of the "Worrier" in us and is the culprit for our automatic tendency to "beat ourselves up" at the first sign of problems.

Psychologists believe we have between 60,Guest Posting000-70,000 thoughts a day and approximately 80% of those thoughts are negative or self-damaging. Negative thoughts have been developing in our subconscious for years, often stemming from incidences in our lives when we were "put down" or criticized.

In fact, until you actively try to identify these negative thoughts, you're probably not even aware they're there. Negative thinking starts from childhood. It's hard to realize how negative self-talk can be detrimental to your self-esteem, self-concept, and confidence when it's so automatic.

For instance, if something happens that doesn't turn out the way you expected, the automatic negative thoughts could be, "I'm so stupid. I should have known better."

Habitually thinking negatively or "beating yourself up" results in the real belief that you're "not good enough," stupid, or can't do anything right. With negative thinking, you've probably settled for less and compromised your integrity more times than you prefer to remember. Unfortunately, it's impossible to feel confident and successful when you're constantly "beating yourself down."

A good way to stop thinking negatively is to consciously identify your negative thoughts, then actively replace negative thinking with realistic thinking or self-soothing thoughts by reminding yourself that "Everything's going to be ok- I can do this" or "I can get through this." Try to remember specific situations in the past when you did make it through difficulties times, despite feeling like it was impossible at the time. Doing this will build your confidence and self-esteem and is a great tool to counter negative thinking.

Once you have identified your negative thoughts, write them down. Seeing them in black and white can really be "an eye opener" and bring new found awareness to how damaging negative thinking really is.

Erase the negatives. Take a black marker and draw a thick line through all the negative self-talk you've written down.

Replace the negative self-talk with a positive version. For example, if your negative thought was "I am hopeless at managing my employees" write the exact opposite, "I'm really good at managing my employees."

If you believe your positive self-talk just isn't true, remember that your negative self-talk probably wasn't true either. Negative self-talk became so powerful because you automatically thought negatively so many times throughout your life, consciously or subconsciously, that you came to believe the negativity a little more everyday.

The same principle applies to your new positive self-talk. Positive affirmations like, "Everyday, I'm becoming a better person in every way" can have a strong impact on building your self-esteem.
How to Overcome Anxiety


Repeat your positive-self talk daily. Write your affirmations on index cards or post-it notes and stick them to your keyboard, computer monitor, refrigerator, mirrors, bedside table- anywhere and everywhere you can. The more you see them, the more you'll say them to yourself, and the more they'll become ingrained in your mind. The negativity and tendency to "beat yourself up" will be less and less likely... until one day, you really will feel confident about who you are.

Janna Chin, M.A. is a Self-Esteem Life Coach for Women helping women globally to discover their inner sparkle and achieve their personal & professional dreams! She 

uses a holistic- mind, body, spirit approach to help women boost confidence and foster healthy relationships.

Janna founded Fill Your Cup Up, Inc. to help women all over the world live happier, healthier, more peaceful, spiritually-centered, fulfilling lives. She provides self-esteem education and support through self-help articles, personal coaching, and membership programs.

Janna is married and lives in Sacramento, CA with her "girly girl" dog, Niki rama, and her precious little cat, Mohana. She is a vegetarian and practices an Ayurvedic lifestyle. She enjoys nature, healthy living, martial arts, and biking. In her spare time, she volunteers as a yoga teacher serving the community at large.

Note- The information provided on this page is for general purposes only and should not be taken as professional advice. All the content provided on this page is my own creativity.

Anxiety is something that everyone experiences from time to time, but for some people, it can become pervasive and excessive. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent, excessive worry.

If the problem started and ended with a single worry, it might not be such a big deal. Instead, people with GAD get bogged down as one worry leads to another and another.1

7 Ways to Reduce Your Anxiety

What Causes Anxiety?

Some people tend to be more prone to anxiety, often due to upbringing or genetics, but there are also other factors at work that can contribute to the anxiety cycle. Such things include:

Avoidance: Anxiety can persist and even grow worse because of the ways people respond to their worries. Individuals with untreated anxiety problems tend to respond to their fears by trying to suppress the worry, seek reassurance that nothing bad will happen, or avoid situations that might trigger the fear.

2 These strategies can backfire and reinforce anxiety, creating a cycle.


Distorted or biased thinking: Some worries might persist because of biased thinking. This thinking could involve an overestimation of the likelihood of a bad outcome or an exaggeration of how bad the bad outcome will be.

3Negative thinking: 

Some worries are strengthened by negative thoughts about yourself, such as the belief that you would be unable to cope with uncertainty or an undesirable outcome.

Selective memory and attention: Worries can also persist because of how information in the environment is processed. A person with GAD may selectively tune into information that supports the worry and ignore evidence that refutes it. Memory can also be selective.

Impact of Anxiety

Anxiety can have a number of distressing effects on your health and well-being. Some of these include:

  • Avoidance of triggering situations
  • Fatigue
  • Fear
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Intrusive, unwanted thoughts
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks
  • Poor concentration
  • Restlessness4

Intrusive, anxious thoughts can create distress and make it difficult to cope. Take, for example, this worry: "My boyfriend is going to break up with me." This is an intrusive thought that is actually quite normal for a person to have. It might come up out of the blue or in response to a specific situation.

However, an overly anxious person would appraise this thought as very meaningful, review all the reasons why this thought might be true, try to reduce the anxiety in the short term (effectively strengthening it in the long term), and become very stressed by it.

As a result, the belief becomes even more significant and is experienced more frequently and more intensely than in someone without an anxiety problem.1

 To overcome anxiety, this vicious cycle needs to be broken.

 How to Deal With Crippling Anxiety

How to Overcome Anxiety

There are different ways that you may be able to overcome anxiety in order to enjoy better emotional wellness. The following are some strategies you might try to include.

Acceptance

One way to overcome anxiety is to learn to accept that not every intrusive thought is signaling a legitimate reason to worry. Simply put, not every thought is true. So it's often unhelpful to try to disprove the beliefs.

Try an acceptance-based approach instead, which includes:5

Identifying the thought
Labeling it ("worry" or "judgment," for example)
Being aware of the moment when the thought comes up
Being aware of the moment when the thought begins to recede from awareness
An acceptance-based approach means that you observe the thought you're having without the urgency you might normally feel to address it, fix it, argue with it, or believe it. You are letting it come and go without focusing on it.

 Best Online Anxiety Support Groups of 2021

Questioning

Cognitive restructuring is another strategy that can help you change the way you perceive situations and lessen your anxiety. This technique is a cornerstone of a treatment approach called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Cognitive restructuring offers a way to critically evaluate potentially distorted thoughts,6 like "He’s definitely going to break up with me." You ask a series of questions about the belief that can encourage a more balanced view.

For instance, "He's definitely going to break up with me," might turn into a more realistic belief such as, "Just because we had a small argument doesn't mean our relationship will end."

Cognitive Restructuring Tips

Exposure

The basic concept of exposure is to lean into anxiety by confronting, rather than avoiding, anxiety-provoking situations to learn by experience. You learn that nothing terrible will happen, or that bad outcomes are manageable (and might even have an upside).6

When facing a fear, it is critical to refrain from any safety behaviors that might "undo" learning; this is sometimes referred to as response prevention.

For instance, an exposure exercise could be intentionally disagreeing with a boyfriend or imagining what it would be like to get into a major argument. Repetition helps with exposure, so repeating an exposure until it all becomes more boring than anxiety-provoking can be important.6

The response prevention component would be to do these things and not ask whether or not your boyfriend is mad, so as to learn to live with uncertainty. While the cycle of anxiety is often vicious, breaking even one link can go a long way to diminishing worry and the anxiety to which it leads.

Nutrition

Research shows that anxiety levels can be impacted by the kinds of foods and drinks you consume. One study observed that participants who consumed more saturated fats and added sugars had higher anxiety levels than those who consumed fewer fats and less sugar.7

Eating fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and high-fiber foods—while limiting processed foods—is connected with improving mood and making it easier to manage psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression.8

Caffeine can also increase your anxiety levels.9 If you drink more than one cup of coffee per day, try scaling back or eliminate it altogether and note whether your anxiety improves. Caffeine is also in many teas, beverages, and foods (like chocolate) so make sure to read nutrition labels to monitor how much you're consuming.

Physical Exercise

Find a way to move your body that feels good—it doesn't have to be a long and arduous workout. Taking a walk for even 10 minutes can help improve your mood.10

Exercise can improve your concentration, your sleep, and lower your stress levels. Many doctors advise physical exercise alongside therapy and/or medication for people with anxiety and depression.

Mindfulness

Other coping strategies you can try to help ease anxiety include practicing techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation. One study, for example, found that people who practiced a technique known as mindfulness meditation experienced significant reductions in stress and anxiety.11

 Mindfulness Meditation Exercise for Anxiety
Connect With Nature
Connecting with nature is another way to improve your anxiety. Studies find that using any of the five senses to feel closer to nature—taking a walk in the woods or even listening to nature sounds—can boost your mood and puts you in a more relaxed state.12

Treatment
Beyond generalized anxiety disorder, anxiety can also be a symptom of a number of other disorders including phobias, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

It's important to recognize that you are not alone: Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health conditions in the U.S. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 19.1% of U.S. adults experienced some type of anxiety disorder during the past year and more than 30% of adults will have an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.13

If anxiety is causing distress and disruptions in your normal functioning, it is important to get help. Treatments for anxiety typically rely on psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of the two. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms in order to determine what approach to treatment might work best for you.


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