A lot of us don’t realize, but anxiety is something everyone experiences. Obviously, some experience it more severely than others, but it’s quite common. According to WebMD, about 40 million Americans live with an anxiety disorder, which is more than the occasional worry or fear.
To be more specific, an anxiety disorder can range from a generalized anxiety disorder to a panic disorder, according to the site. If you have one of these and have tried medication and seeing professionals, but nothing seems to work, don’t worry. It takes a lot of conscious effort to get to a healthy state of mind. You’ll get there!
Believe it or not, there are certain exercises that you can do to train your brain to stop worrying about things that you simply can’t control. There are various strategies that can help you to not only manage but potentially reduce as a whole.
Understanding anxiety. There are a lot of professional and medical opinions on whether or not anxiety is the result of a chemical imbalance. Though that may be part of the problem, your surroundings also play a major role in how you feel. According to Calm Clinic, when you feel anxious about things, it could be logical, it could be emotional or it could be just the way your brain responds to its natural chemical processes.
Observe what your body and mind react to. Calm Clinic recommends that you get in tune with yourself and your mind, and figure out why your body is reacting to threats the way it does. This can help you develop a way to stop anxiety from escalating because you’ll become more mindful of yourself and your surroundings. It could work for some more than others!
Calm Clinic recommends that if you assume that a chemical imbalance is what causes your anxiety, regardless of what treatment you get, you still need to learn coping tools that can help overcome your anxiety. If you learn how to control the extent that anxiety affects you, you’d make a positive change to your chemical imbalance.
Challenge difficult thoughts. The Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health & Addiction lists the second step that you can do to train your brain to stop worrying about things that you simply can’t control. That is, challenging the thoughts that you’re worried about. The site notes that sometimes it helps to ask a friend or a family member’s opinion about the situation. So for example, if you have anxiety about someone talking negatively about you, ask the person about it first before you start panicking about it.
The reality is is that there’s no point in panicking about something that might not even exist in the first place. Then, if the situation does in fact exist, the next thing that might help is to see how others would react to it if they were in your shoes. The site notes that even imagining how most people would react to a worrying thought will help you come up with a more fair and realistic way of thinking!
Train your brain. Verywell Mind says that when you find yourself in a stressful situation, you have to train your brain into doing calm thinking. There’s no way that it’ll happen on its own. Just like giving advice to your friends when they are worrying about things, you have to tell yourself how to look at the situation in a positive way. Essentially, if excessive worrying occurs, talk back to it.
Of course, this is easier said than done. I mean, if there have been so many times that your mind has been distorted, it’s hard to see the truth. I get it. But you can’t feed into the worrying thoughts. That’ll just make it worse. For example, if you ask yourself “what if I keep getting worse?” or “What if she tells this person everything I just told her”, then you are feeding into the anxiety. Try to keep away from that and instead feed your brain with more realistic thoughts.
I get that all this stuff may be easier said than done, and no one truly understands the anxiety that you go through unless they are in your shoes. But the reality is is that you can take all the medication in the world to help your anxiety, which of course works, but trying some of these coping skills can help you in the long run.