When anxiety gets its grubby little paws on you, it’s hard to it shake off.
Irrational ‘what if . . .’ thoughts take over and things spiral out of control.
These thoughts bounce around in your head and constant worry fuels the fear cycle. Before we know it, a bad day becomes a bad week, month, year, or even decade.
We’re all going to go through stressful and anxious times, so recognising this pattern is your first step to dealing with it better and stopping it in the future.
Here are five things you can do to instantly reduce your anxiety.
1. Keep moving
Do not sit still. Anxiety will grab hold of you if you stagnate. Get up and go do something. Go for a walk or run, get on your bike or go to the gym. The more active, the better – it will help you shake off the anxiety. If you’re rooted to the spot, don’t stay in silence. Put on your favourite comedian and watch some comedy. You might not feel like laughing, but that’s the point - you have to break the pattern and laughter is a quick reminder that another state of mind exists.
2. Live more in the present
So much of our anxiety is down to living in regret about the past and worrying about the future. The past is gone, and the future hasn’t happened yet. To ease our anxiety, we need to focus more on this present moment. When you think about it, this moment is the only thing that is real. Take five, close your eyes and remember that fact - it will instantly reduce your anxiety.
3. Learn to let go
The simple fact is we’re not going to control everything in life, so stop trying. Learn to let go when it’s called for, which is more often than not. There is a big difference between wanting to take charge of your life and expecting everything to go exactly as you have planned. If you expect to be able to control everything and everyone in your life, you’re heading for a fall. There is only one thing you can control, and that’s you.
4. Focus on what’s real
Your brain is tricking you. Don’t allow the ‘what if . . .’ thoughts to spiral out of control, and focus on what’s real. Is that irrational thought really accurate? The more you believe the tricks and lies the more they will consume you. Focus on a goal and the things that will move your life forward. Don’t get bogged down by what you can’t do and the excuses of why you can’t do them. Focus on what you can do and take action on that.
5. Remind yourself that life is a game
There’s something about viewing life as a game that takes the sting out of it. With a game you know you can lose and move on and things aren’t as bad as you thought. You know that you have another chance to win. You can learn from your losses and take it all as experience. Tomorrow is another day and another chance to play the game differently.
ABOUT CARL VERNON
Carl Vernon is a best-selling author & speaker, talking and writing about all things anxiety, stress, success & well-being.