Each year, around 40 million people deal with anxiety every year. It’s a natural reaction to stressful events. However, it can take over and overwhelm people with terrifying predictions of future scenarios. As a result, they might avoid situations even if it would benefit them. For example, they might dodge going to a job interview or starting a business.
Nevertheless, the left-over residue of the madness of 2020 might be affecting your mood. Feelings of uneasiness can show up at the worst times, like on a date or during a speech.
But, you’re not alone; anxiety is a normal reaction to concerns about your future. It’s certainly not something to be ashamed of; we all deal with arguments, illness, stress, unexpected issues, bills, and unpleasant bosses.
Not to mention you had to deal with the pandemic, so it would be odd if you weren’t stressed! But it’s all good, and things are getting better every day.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a preoccupation with potential future hardships. When you imagine that you’re doomed to forever be a victim, you’ll feel miserable even if your life is amazing at the time!
But you can change what you think about and replace harmful assumptions with more encouraging possibilities. It sounds easy, but it’ll take a little practice.
What causes anxiety?
Several possible factors can cause anxiety—for example, stress at work, critical milestones, new experiences, humiliation, or childhood traumas.
The following can cause or worsen things:
- Avoiding intimidating situations
- Making distressing predictions
- Remembering only the worst problems in life
- Pessimistic thinking and rejecting any optimism
- High levels of stress
Torturing yourself about unpredictable situations, such as work problems, deadlines, or major projects will leave your well-being in shambles.
The destructive effects of anxiety
“Calm mind brings inner strength and self-confidence, so that’s very important for good health.”
— Dalai Lama
If you allow this mindset to fester, over time, it can intensify and take over your life before you even realize it.
People who don’t treat their anxiety may deal with the following:
- Avoiding and missing out on opportunities
- An overwhelming phobia of certain situations
- Panic attacks
- Brain fog
- Problems with relationships
I’ve always been interested in how the mind works and in helping people conquer their problems. I’m not a psychologist; however, I’ve studied it in college and for years afterward.
So, it’s to your advantage to fix this problem. Also, it’s good to do some occasional maintenance because, as you know, anxiety can cause a plethora of issues.
According to WebMD:
- 43% of people will damage their health due to anxious thinking.
- Most trips to the doctor are caused by worrying too much and stress.
- More than half the time, an untreated disorder will last a lifetime. But luckily, you can treat it and get things under control.
When anxiety becomes a disorder
Anxiety can be an enormous hindrance, especially if you let it run wild and never seek treatment. Unfortunately, it can get much worse.
Here are a few types of anxiety disorders.
These people are tormented with the horror of getting embarrassed and judged harshly. What’s worse is this causes them to behave awkwardly. Thus, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy of their fears which fortifies itself.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder or “OCD” is repetitive irrational thoughts that cause the sufferer to do certain actions. A common behavior is excessive hand washing.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder or “PTSD” is caused by experiencing trauma like a horrible accident, sexual abuse, military combat, or a natural disaster. It can cause insomnia, isolation, and irritability.
The above are just a few examples of disorders from anxiety. If you feel you might have a disorder, don’t hesitate to call a psychiatrist. You’ve got to take care of your mind, so you can feel all the joy you deserve.
Hopefully, you’re ready to triumph over this annoyance and get back to a more carefree, happy life!
Let’s see how to handle feeling anxiety.
1. Manage your thoughts
“Don’t believe every worried thought you have. Worried thoughts are notoriously inaccurate.”
— Renee Jain
It’s good to check in with what you’re thinking about because otherwise, it’s easy to default to negativity, especially if that’s been a habit for you.
So, take some time to figure out what distressing thoughts keep popping up in your mind. After all, they are probably the reason you feel so worried. Often these imaginary situations can play on repeat, thus torturing you throughout the day.
- Name 5 things you’re thankful for in your life.
- Think of spectacular future events instead of disasters.
- Remind yourself that not all of your thoughts are true.
- Meditate for 5-15 minutes.
2. Take care of yourself
“There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.”
— Sylvia Plath
Put an end to endless worrying by distracting yourself with an enjoyable activity. Do something that requires you to actively think about what you’re doing and try not the let your mind wander back to distressing thoughts.
Try the following tips to get back on track:
- Declutter your home or workspace.
- Take a long bath
- Rewrite your budget.
- Banish the drama
- Do something creative like learn to draw, painting, playing an instrument, or journal. These hobbies can be very therapeutic.
- Fix problems you’ve neglected.
- Do something special for yourself.
- Give yourself a daily goal to keep your mind occupied. Plus, you’ll get a nice boost of confidence when you’re finished.
3. Challenge your anxiety
“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.”
— Norman Vincent Peale
It’s critical to confront fearful thoughts because usually, they’re just predictions that never happen. Ask yourself if they’re logical and based on facts; many times, you’ll find that they aren’t.
- Always remember that things never turn out as horrible as you imagined.
- Challenge any pessimism with opposite opinions to cancel them out, even if you don’t believe them yet.
How do you think your day will go if you start your morning thinking, “I wish I could stay home, work today is going to be horrible. Besides, I know everyone hates me, and I can’t do anything right.”
Your mindset will reshape how you act, and others will respond to you accordingly.
So, it won’t be a good day guaranteed.
What you think about will change how you feel. If you marinate your emotions in doom and gloom it’ll amplify any insecurity about the future.
4. Get going
“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.”
— Walter Anderson
Anxiety isn’t always harmful, sometimes it can be exactly what you needed to get into gear and resolve issues. Try using your nervous energy on something else like a goal and you might impress yourself!
- Do something that scares you once a week.
- Take a walk or jog in nature if possible. Exercise is a sure-fire way to eliminate your worries.
- Try to eat more healthy foods.
- Don’t fuel your tension with caffeine. Try some soothing tea instead.
- Go to bed at a set time and wake up earlier, so you start the day off in a calm mood.
5. Reach out to others
“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”
— Charles Spurgeon
We all need a helping hand sometimes, and it can really help to get support from a friend, relative, or therapist. They can show you why you might be blowing things out of proportion. Moreover, they might show you a more optimistic perspective of your situation.
“What else does anxiety about the future bring you but sorrow upon sorrow?”
— Thomas á Kempis
In short, anxiety is a part of being human, but if you hold on to it for too long, it can breed multiple issues that may hinder your progress or happiness. So, decide today to no longer let these worries control you or your life.
If the above tips didn’t ease your mind, please don’t hesitate to call a therapist or psychiatrist. Getting help with therapy and/or medication could be the answer for you to tame the anxiety. You can even chat with a therapist online. Reaching out doesn’t mean you’re defective because, in fact, you’re proactive enough to demolish whatever gets in your way.
To keep a calm mind, continue feeding your mind with encouragement from Motivated Progress. Sign up for free below!
Also, let me know in the comments what you think about anxiety!