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5 Ways to Cope with Anxiety

5 Ways to Cope with Anxiety

Medically Reviewed by Chelsey Lahr, PMHNP-BC

For many people, anxiety is more than just a feeling of uncomfortable worry that hits every once in and awhile. It's a state of mind that keeps people up at night, torturing them endlessly and affecting every part of their life. 

Anxiety isn't this way for everyone. Anxiety, as it affects everyone, is a physical response meant to tell you that something is wrong and needs immediate action. Unfortunately, without outside intervention, it can be hard to manage the physical and mental discomfort that anxiety brings. The following are five tips to help those suffering from stress and anxiety cope and gain insight into their psyche. 


1. Challenge Anxious Thoughts

Those who experience anxiety have to deal with a lot of irrational and negative thoughts. You may assume that the worst will happen, and you'll convince yourself that your worry is based on reality. It may have become a habit to believe in the worst-case scenario, and any positive result may feel foreign to you. 

To fight these thoughts, you must actively think of them. Challenge them when they pop into your head. This will break your usual pattern of negative thinking. Ask yourself: Is this fear really based in reality? Is there a more realistic outcome to this event? If there is any positive outcome that may come from a situation, then will yourself to believe that that's the one that's going to happen. 


2. Recognize Your Negative Thinking Patterns 

It can be hard to challenge your negative thoughts if you can't recognize what they are when they occur. Remember, things are never just right or wrong, black or white, or should or shouldn't. There are shades of grey for every situation. Your anxiety will try to amplify the negatives and diminish the positives, but it's up to you to realize that an unfavorable outcome isn't the worst thing to happen. 

Try to recognize when you feel like the worst is about to happen. Challenge that notion and tell yourself that you can get through it successfully. No matter if your fear is being judged, criticized, or humiliated, you are capable of rising to the occasion and conquering that fear. 


3. Cultivate An Optimistic Outlook 

Anxiety transforms your way of thinking to only focus on the small situations at hand. Thinking optimistically works the same way. To change your thought process, take those small, specific moments that cause you stress and focus on all of the good things that will come from it. 

When you assess situations on their own, you realize how small they are in the greater scheme of life. This instance of stress, fear, or worry does not control your life because your life is bigger than any of these small instances will ever be. Focusing allows you to create a thinking strategy that will help you better plan stressful encounters. It transforms that helpless feeling you experience into something you have control over. It allows you to assess those situations that feel endless as changeable and temporary. 

Start by taking baby steps. These will lead you to find constructive solutions instead of leaving you stuck, overwhelmed, and defeated. 


4. Take Time for Yourself  

Your brain needs a break every once in a while. When you deal with anxiety regularly, you need an outlet that gives you a mental escape. Reading, a walk in nature, and mindful meditation all allow your mind to wander without worry. 

Leisure and relaxation are key to achieving a life that is full and balanced. This mental vacation shouldn't be one that you only take once a year or every few months. To fully benefit from a mental break, you have to work these activities into your weekly schedule. 

This can be foreign to those who have busy work schedules. However, even just a small bit of time listening to music or doing yoga can take you out of your head. It will stop the incessant worrying you feel and help you improve your overall well-being. Another way to reduce stress in your life is by making sure you're living a healthy lifestyle. Eat well, exercise daily, get enough sleep, and do whatever else you need to feel healthy. When you feel healthy, you are healthy, and it makes achieving mental peace so much easier. 


5. Create An Anti-Anxiety Toolbox 

The best way to deal with anxiety when you aren't going to therapy or taking needed medication is to use tools from the therapeutic toolbox. These tools are simple and easy to access when you find yourself in a stressful situation. 



Control Anxiety, Don't Let It Control You 

Anxiety can be debilitating, but it's completely within your power to take control and ensure that it doesn't negatively affect your life. These techniques will help you relieve your anxiety. But, if it persists or you're unsatisfied with the results, contact an experienced professional to help you through your problems. 



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