General Self-Help Strategies
Anxiety can be both a blessing and a curse. A little bit of anxiety can give us a nudge, elbowing us forward to accomplish our goals. Too much anxiety can be debilitating, paralyzing progress, inciting panic and forcing individuals to focus on a flurry of negative, doom-filled thoughts. And it becomes a cycle of thoughts, panic and anxiety.
There are some common techniques that anyone can use to help handle their stress. Although it is always a wise decision to search for expert help if you have a panic, especially in more serious situations, help is not always easily obtainable. Even if you do choose to search for help, there are still unique that you can do on your own to better handle your stress. Although there are specific strategies aimed at helping people cope with different types of anxiety problems, these are some general strategies that can help anyone who is experiencing problematic anxiety:-
- Learning about anxiety-This is a very important first step because it helps you understand what is happening to you when you experience anxiety. Remember that knowledge is power, and just knowing why you are feeling anxious is a good step toward managing your anxiety.
- Learning to relax-The second step involves learning to relax. Two strategies can be particularly helpful calm breathing and muscle relaxation.
- Challenging anxious or worrisome thoughts-When we are anxious, we tend to see the world as very threatening and dangerous. However, this way of thinking can be overly negative and unrealistic. One strategy for helping you to manage anxiety involves replacing “anxious” or “worried” thinking with realistic or balanced thinking. This strategy involves learning to see things in a clear and fair way, without being overly negative or focusing only on the bad. However, it takes time to shift anxious thinking, so be patient and consistently practice these skills.
- Facing fears-The final and most important step in managing your anxiety involves facing your fears; this is called exposure. If you have been avoiding certain situations, places, or objects out of fear, it will be important for you to start exposing yourself to those things so that you can get over your fears in the long run. However, it is usually easier to start with something that is not too scary and then work up to the things that cause a great deal of anxiety. Start by making a list of feared situations, places, or objects, such as saying “hi” to a co-worker, entering a crowded grocery store, riding the bus, or anything else that you are avoiding. Once you have made a list, try and arrange them from the least scary to the scariest. Starting with the situations that cause the least anxiety, repeatedly enter that situation and remain there until you notice your anxiety start to come down. Once you can enter that situation without experiencing much anxiety, you can move on to the next thing on the list.