Even though chronic anxiety is a disorder that requires professional care, feelings of anxiety are not always bad. Anxiety, or strong worry, is a normal response to stressful situations in life and call your attention towards on an issue you are facing. Anxiety causes fear, but it is important to accept this fear instead of running away from it. Below are six different ways to handle anxiety and use it productively to improve your life.
Do not fear your anxiety, embrace it
Whenever the nerves hit us before a big meeting or presentation or an unfamiliar situation, our first instinct is usually to hide our ignore our anxiety. Doing this, however, does not help and can actually worsen anxiety. Learn to embrace the anxiety you feel and view it as a signal towards an issue that you need to work on. Channel your anxiety productively by using it to practice a speech before a presentation, for example. This will allow you to use your anxiety effectively by allowing you to focus on the issue at hand instead of running away from it.
Label it and shift the focus towards others
The first thing you want to do is to acknowledge your nervousness and try to figure out where it comes from, whether it may be a fear of upsetting someone or a fear of not being prepared enough. Once you do this, redefine your anxiety and shift the focus away from yourself and towards others. Anxiety makes you turn inwards and ignore others around you. This means that fighting anxiety will involve shifting this focus away from yourself. Instead of worrying about upsetting someone, focus instead on caring for them and remind yourself that this other person may also have their own insecurities and fears.
Break a sweat
It is a well-known fact that exercise releases endorphins and calms the nerves. Go on a jog, hit the gym, play soccer, practice yoga, or perform some simple stretching exercises between work. Make time in your daily schedule for exercise.
In addition to exercise, take up meditation and create a meditative space yourself, even if for only 5 minutes. Install an iPhone or Android app like Headspace, which offers guided meditation based on your needs and schedule. Meditation will empower you by helping you take control over the small issues you face everyday with mindful breathing and reflection.
Ask for help
Learn to not always keep your nerves to yourself and learn to reach out to others for help or even company. Maintain a positive support system of friends and family, and don’t be afraid to reach out to a therapist to ask for advice or unload your thoughts and emotions.
Reflect on what you need and what you don’t need
To fight anxiety, learn to say ‘no’. Fighting your anxiety by fighting your FOMO (fear of missing out) or urge to take on every single task at work. Reflect on your day-to-day life and figure out which activities or tasks are meaningful to you and which tasks are unnecessary and take up your time. Clean your room or house and sort through your belongings. Keep your valuable belongings and donate non-essential belongings. These are a few ways to figure out what you need what you don’t need in your life.
call attention towards - make you focus
nerves hitting - getting nervous
acknowledge - accept
empower - make you feel stronger
belongings - possessions, things
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yuri Nesen is a student at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. studying Global Business, Diplomatic Studies, and Arabic. He enjoys watching animated movies, running and exploring new places, and he is a complete dessert fanatic.