Anxiety has been a huge part of my life and in recent months I've really learnt how to combat it, how to cope in those real trigger situations and how to distract my mind from plummeting into panic mode.
It's not always possible to remove yourself from situations or avoid them completely, so in the event of anxiety setting in and that dreaded feeling of panic spreading through your body like wild fire, it's always good to be prepared and arm yourself with ways to turn things around.
I thought I'd share five different techniques in this article to help stop anxiety in it's tracks wherever you are. Just one of these can have a huge impact in a bad situation, but the more you can master, the better you will feel and the more in control of your mind and body you will feel too. Don't forget though that asking for help can show true strength, so reaching out to a counselor via a site like www.betterhelp.com can be a great starting point.
Slow down & be present
Slowing down and focusing on the now is so important. Focus on one thing that's going on right now, the sound of your footsteps, the cold air on your face, the rain on the window, anything, just one thing. Distract yourself from your thoughts by concentrating on that one, real thing that is happening right now.
Stopping and breathing is a huge factor in preventing a panic attack and easing anxiety. Bringing in deep slow breaths through your nose for a few seconds, then out through your mouth will help to bring our heart rate down, rejig our focus and tell your brain to relax our body. When we are having a bad episode of anxiety, we often feel that can't breathe, so it's important to concentrate on those deep breaths as soon as you feel things going downhill.
Listen to music
If you can do, plugging into some relaxing tunes or some of your favourite music can completely uplift your mood, relax your body and mind, bringing you back to the present whilst stopping your mind wandering. Music is truly magic, it has such a strong effect on our feelings and in the event of an anxiety attack, music can totally turn things round. Have a few songs saved to your phone for quick and easy access wherever you are.
Talk to someone
Phone a friend, talk to someone you are with or even distract your mind by striking up conversation with a stranger if you are out and about. Aside from the fact you may be worrying over nothing, or you may not even know why you feel worried, talking it through can bring instant relief, reassurance and make you feel less alone in the situation.
Stop Look & Listen
If all else fails, the stop look and listen technique is the one to remember. Stop what you are doing, wherever you are just pull yourself to one side and stop. Tell yourself to stop worrying and breathe. Have a look around, look at what is actually going on right now, taking in the colours, shapes, actions all around you instead of focusing on the negativity you're creating in your mind. Listen. Listen to your breathing, listen to yourself as you reassure yourself just as you would do to a friend in your position. Tell yourself you are OK, that you can do this and that there is nothing to worry about.
Anxiety is a horrible thing to live with, but we don't have to let it beat us or control our lives. Learning to control anxiety and panic attacks is one of the best things we can do to gain back that control and help us live the life we want.
Do you have any more tips for coping with anxiety?
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