Do you feel anxious when the pressure’s on? Do you struggle to calm your nerves in the midst of stressful situations? These are very normal feelings. Sometimes, however, these worries can become overwhelming even in your day-to-day routines.
Extreme anxiety can inhibit your everyday life. Anxiety about a particular situation can cause you to feel worried about everything else. Anxiety can run your life if you let it, but you can take control and learn to thrive in situations that challenge your resolve.
Learning to deal effectively with anxiety is a powerful skill that will benefit you in many ways. Your relationships with others will be impacted in a positive way. You’ll go after your dreams instead of giving up easily. And your self-confidence will grow as you develop the habit of effectively responding to situations despite the fears inside of you.
If you begin to use these four strategies today, you’ll notice the difference immediately. These ideas are simple, but they have the power to revolutionize your life.
These techniques can help you cope with your anxious feelings:
1. Practice deep breathing.
One of the most effective ways to cope with anxiety is deep breathing. Deep breaths get much-needed oxygen to your brain and throughout your body, relaxing your muscles.The increased air to your body and mind helps you calm down in times when you would normally become stressed out. They also calm down your nervous system.
- When you notice that you’re beginning to get nervous, pay attention to your breathing. For a few days, practice deep breathing in a relaxed, private, comfortable environment where you’re not rushed. Put your hand on your belly, and make your hand rise and fall with each breath. Be sure to take in a slow, full breath. Exhale slowly.
- If you practice this deep breathing exercise before the moment of truth, you’ll be equipped to control your breathing when a stressful situation occurs. When the pressure is on, and you notice your heartbeat beginning to rise, simply pay attention to your breathing and do what you’ve practiced.
- You can also say words silently to yourself when doing deep breathing. Examples: “I am becoming calm.” “I can handle this.” “I am going to be okay.”
An often-overlooked way to beat anxiety is to make sure that your body is properly fueled for the challenges it must face. Eat plenty of healthy fats. Many people cut fat out of their diets thinking it is more healthy, but in fact, the opposite is true: See The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz. Keep track of what you’re eating in a daily log so that you can begin to notice patterns that sabotage your health.
- When your body is fueled properly, the daily anxieties you experience will be less overwhelming.
Your body is made to move. If you sit at a desk all day, you’ll likely face greater challenges with worry and stress than someone who’s always on the move. Exercise provides tremendous stress relief, an outlet for frustration and a boost to your overall self-confidence. All of these contribute to a peaceful feeling and less anxiety on a daily basis.
- In the book Spark by John Ratley, he covers how exercise is more effective for depression and anxiety as medication.
4. Face your fears.
If you worry constantly, you may not be leaving your comfort zone often enough. Seek opportunities to stretch your mental boundaries in ways that aren’t extremely stressful. As your mind and body become used to taking on challenges in dealing with your nerves, give yourself greater challenges to increase your ability to handle them.
- If you’re in the habit of shying away from things that stress you out, purposefully put yourself into situations that you aren’t sure about. As you handle things well, this will help you build confidence. The more steps you take outside of your comfort zone, the better equipped you’ll be when the real challenges of life cause you to feel anxious.
When to seek professional help.
Sometimes, the issues you face with anxiety may require you to seek counseling to overcome them. If you’ve tried many things without success, it is wise to consider seeing a mental health professional that is trained to help you overcome these challenges help you.
It’s normal to feel nervous when stressful situations occur. But without strategies to overcome those nerves, you can feel paralyzed and sabotage your chances of experiencing the success you deserve. Instead, start using these four strategies today to effectively cope with your feelings of anxiety and emerge triumphant over them.