Tips for Dealing with anxiety
Updated: Aug 24, 2021
So what is anxiety then? It’s a word that’s thrown around a lot but really it’s just your body’s way of letting you know you’re scared. This is a normal sensation, especially for experiences such as interviews, performing or a first date. However, Anxiety is becoming a debilitating feeling for many of us, and increasingly stands in the way of our goals and enjoying our experiences. And unfortunately, the more anxiety takes over, the less resilient we become.
People throw around suggestions and strategies for coping but many people struggle to apply these. Remember, when you don’t see the point in something, you won’t make changes, and the anxiety won’t disappear. We don't always find the time to sit down and look at what the problem or fear actually is, or find people who can take the time to listen? With increased pressure coming from all directions including social media, work or family, do you have someone to ‘vent’ to? I have designated ‘vent buddies’ who are happy to vent to me, and I am comfortable with opening up and venting to them without judgement. You need to feel comfortable with the person you are confiding in, to open up and explore what you can realistically change about your circumstance. Until you can do this, you’re unlikely to find the right strategies that could actually benefit you. Remember, for things to improve, while it is important to reflect and offload, change won’t occur until we decide to tackle our problems.
Some fears are legitimate, it’s normal to be scared sometimes, I have a fear of sharks, but I wouldn’t say this holds me back. If I was a lifeguard, this might be something I would address.
There has to be a reason why you want to make a change. For example, if you are someone who experiences social anxiety, your ‘why’ might be that you feel intense loneliness, meaning you want to tackle your fear of going to social gatherings.
So what is your ‘why’?
I have a fear of talking on the phone. My ‘why’ is that I like to call my long-distance friends, but how can I build these connections if I let my fear hold me back from this basic task? What are my fears around this phone call? If something goes wrong really what’s the worst thing that can happen? I sometimes worry that I will stumble on my words. For work calls I write out a script, the person on the other end of the phone can’t see my script, and this helps me to sound professional. And I always remember to congratulate myself for making that call.
Not to be too cheesy, like any strong flower, its resilience really begins at the roots. Our healthy relationships and helpful habits, thoughts and beliefs provide us with the resilience we need to fight our fears.
When the anxiety occurs. Try and narrow down what the fear is, once you know the fear your next challenge is to work out what would happen if the fear were to come true, then to work out all your options for what you would do if this situation occurs.
A big help for me is my 'anchor'. What’s the activity you do that can pull you out of your low or anxious mood? My anchor is running. I’m a keen runner so when I’m feeling overwhelmed, it’s an activity to help calm my mind.
Gratitude is one of the most helpful things to practice. There is always something you are good at. Remember, you can’t be good at everything, you need to be bad at things to make the space to be extra good at other things!
Work on your assertiveness! Remember, it’s ok to say no sometimes. Like my shark fear, sometimes things just don’t need tackling, let someone else sort that problem out. There is a lot of helpful books and resources that can help us to be more assertive, and this will help our anxiety.
Each time I make a call it becomes slightly less scary. Because hiding from the phone all my life is not going to help me, and like the rest of you I don't want to let my fears get in my way, and nor should you!