Many of us struggle with anxiety at some point in time. This can be overwhelming at times – even just the thought of anxiety can send us in to fight, flight, or freeze.
There are proven ways to cope with anxiety. Below are some of the ways I like to approach anxiety.
1. Tolerating uncertainty – through being in the here and now. practicing breathing and mindful awareness, we can embrace the present moment and ground our bodies and emotions in our present experience. This can have the effect of stepping away from thinking.
2. Being aware of our “what if?”, thinking – these thoughts drive our anxieties. For example, what if I become ill, what if I lose my job, what if I become bankrupt, what if I am laughed at, what if I don’t know?
If we can instead, turn to, “then what’s”, and come up with a concrete plan and talk this over with a friend or family.
For example, what if I lose my job? Then, I will take stock of where I am and seek another one, and/or re-train to do somehing I have always wanted to do.
3. Task by Task – when we are overwhelmed, then we can break our tasks into bite-size chunks of task and time.
4. Be aware of, “If only”, thinking – I could have, I should have. This takes us into regret and into a past we can do nothing about, rendering us powerless. What can we take control of in the here and now by “choosing” our next steps?
5. Compassion – clear thinking and compassion can go off-line when we are in a crisis mode. Compassion is both an attitude and a practice and we need to practice this towards ourselves and towards others. It can be empowering if we adopt a stance of, “Who can I step out and help in a compassionate way”? Even more empowering is our capacity to extend compassion towards ourselves – especially the parts of ourselves that we are harsh towards.
If you experience anxiety and want to work with me then please get in touch using the box adjacent to this column.