Most of us, at different times of our lives, experience some anxiety. It often can be productive, such as anxiety before an important exam, which puts us into high alert, but does not immobilize us. Anxiety really only becomes a problem when it affects our quality of life.
Here are some tips to control your anxiety and not let it take over your life:
Start by making a list of situations that make you feel ill at ease and which you would prefer to avoid. Becoming aware of what is causing your anxiety is the first step to reducing it. Write down the bodily sensations that you experience during an anxious episode; e.g. racing heart, insomnia, etc.
Try to figure out what is really bothering you. Is it some kind of conflict that you are avoiding? Or do you have ridiculous expectations of yourself?
Once you have decided and focused on what is bothering you give yourself permission to feel anxious. Dwelling on not feeling anxious can make you feel worse.
Make a decision tree, using branches for the good and bad stuff. The situation may not look as scary as you imagine if you commit something to paper.
Use positive self-talk to move past anxiety. Go about whatever you are doing until it passes. Practicing Mindfulness helps. Other techniques to try to diminish anxiety are drawing, painting and varnishing furniture or colouring in for adults (a new craze) crocheting or needlework – these focus the mind, and calm the soul. If all else fails do something productive and utilize the increased energy while you have it. At least you will have some tidy drawers!
Try to see some humour in the situation – it will help you cope and may diminish the symptoms.