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Anxiety is a pervasive emotion with very real consequences on our physical, psychological, and social well-being. Its effects can be overwhelming, causing us to feel powerless and unable to cope. Fortunately, there are tactics we can use to identify and manage our anxiety-producing thoughts and feelings. Let’s look at the different strategies we can use to overcome anxiety.
Understanding the Causes of Anxiety
Before we can understand how to manage our anxiety, we must first take a closer look at the causes. Anxiety can be triggered by a wide range of events, including stress, traumatic experiences, feeling overwhelmed, or even being faced with unfamiliar situations. At its core, anxiety is an emotional response to perceived danger or threat.
Exploring Ways to Manage Anxiety-Inducing Thoughts
Once we understand the root causes of our anxiety, we can explore ways to manage its emotional effects. It can help to be aware of the initial physical signs of anxiety such as rapid heart rate and shortness of breath. These can be indicators that we need to take a few moments to pause and assess the situation. We can also use techniques such as deep breathing and mindfulness to help settle our bodies and minds.
Strategies to Combat Unwanted Feelings
In addition to the physical techniques, we can also use cognitive strategies to identify and manage our anxiety-producing thoughts. This includes being aware of our thought patterns and gently challenging unhelpful or irrational beliefs. It can be helpful to ask ourselves questions such as What is the evidence for this thought? or Are there any other ways of looking at this situation?. This helps us to take control of our thoughts and combat any unwanted feelings.
Developing Healthy Coping Mechanisms
In order to overcome anxiety, it is important to develop healthy coping mechanisms. This may include regulating our emotions, building self-esteem, or finding ways to relax. Additionally, making time for ourselves and engaging in activities that bring us joy can help us to stay grounded and present. It is also beneficial to participate in activities that bring us into contact with nature or involve mindful activities such as yoga or meditation.
Unlocking Your Resilience to Stress and Anxiety
When we build a strong foundation of self-care, we can begin to unlock our own resilience to stress and anxiety. This process involves setting boundaries and taking time to unplug and recharge. Additionally, it can help to remind ourselves that we are not alone and that we have the power to take control of our thoughts and feelings. By understanding the strategies we can use to identify and manage our anxiety-producing thoughts and feelings, we can equip ourselves with the tools we need to live a more fulfilling and anxiety-free life.
Anxiety can be an overwhelming emotion, but it is possible to manage its physical and psychological effects. Through a combination of physical and cognitive strategies, we can develop an understanding of our own bodies and minds in order to identify and manage our anxiety-producing thoughts and feelings. By developing healthy coping mechanisms, setting boundaries, and unlocking our own resilience, we can become more equipped to handle the challenges of living with anxiety.
- Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. New Harbinger Publications, 2013.
- Linehan, Marsha M. Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder. Guilford Press, 2015.
- Seligman, Martin E.P. Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. Vintage, 2007.