We can’t get rid of anxiety completely, but we can manage it.
1 – Attention – Do you ever notice how paying attention to anxiety makes it worse, you escalate until you can’t breathe!? Horrible isn’t it? Anxiety isn’t helpful and can mess with our lives. Putting the anxious thoughts down and distracting yourself is key. Find something that makes you feel better in that moment, to stop you spiralling into the what-ifs and keep yourself in the here and now. Think about what you DO want!
Try asking yourself – What can I think about instead? What can I do to ease my anxiety. A to-do list, a podcast episode on how to recognise anxiety, a good book.
2 – Understanding – Anxiety is not a disorder, controversial, we know. Anxiety is a product of evolution. The world has changed massively, but the way our bodies work hasn’t. Recognise that anxiety is a natural part of life and it’s ok, it doesn’t make you broken.
Many of the symptoms of anxiety are physical, pounding chest, rapid breathing, sweating etc. They’re a response to threat. Our body is preparing to run or fight something it thinks is scary. Usually (not always) this threat is not real. Steve explains why we get anxious using a simple ‘horse and rider’ analogy in the video below.
3 – Notice – Focus on the times where you feel better, where your anxiety has been less, especially in situations that would normally make you feel anxious. Think about what is different about those times, what you did differently, how you coped. What replaced the anxiety? Confidence, contentment?
Maybe you went to a meeting and you felt better because you had the agenda beforehand.
4 – Do more of what works – Once you’ve noticed the things that help you manage your anxiety, do more of it! Use those skills and strengths to build on your success (the times you kept anxiety at bay) and work towards what is wanted. These skills have kept you going so far so use them, they’re helpful!
5 – Take small steps – We all want to fix our problems instantly, most of the time we can’t and we end up feeling worse. Think about the small things that would tell you that your anxiety was becoming less of a problem and you were moving towards that goal of coping better.
Maybe you would be able to keep eye contact longer, make small talk, fidget less etc.
6- Celebrate! – This is important, celebrate those little wins. You managed to keep your anxiety at bay for 30 minutes while you went out shopping? That’s great! How did you do that? How did you celebrate that achievement?
Finally, this article explains why solution focused approaches are useful in relieving anxiety and then, if you think it could be good fit for you, send us a message