Tips to Help Reduce Anxiety
Here are 3 ways to make room for yourself when anxiety feels like it is taking over.
Tips to help reduce anxiety when it feels like it is taking over
Anxiety can feel paralysing, powerful and really erode our sense of who we are, what we are actually capable off and shut down our hopes, feelings and interesting ‘nonperfect’ parts of ourselves. The sense of dread, terror or foreboding feels so real and results in physical symptoms that reinforces fear. Struggling or fighting against anxiety in the moment can make it feel more powerful as it has such a sense of power.
We’ve put together 3 tips that can help you reduce your anxiety and make more room for yourself. Anxiety might be a part of your life, but it is not the whole story and by learning ways to manage your anxiety you can help reduce it’s power over time.
One approach that can help, is to aim for a ‘circuit breaker’ or a way to take the power out of the anxiety, to allow space for other parts of yourself to be heard. Circuit break anxiety by calming the nervous system – try these physical activities to release adrenalin and calm your nervous system so it feels that danger has passed.
Try these exercises:
- Try squeezing all of your muscles, hold for 10- 20 seconds and release and wriggle your toes, flop your arms – REPEAT
- Power walk for 20 minutes
- Try some yoga moves – we love Yoga with Adrienne which is free on You Tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1097wYhDOY
- Cooling down can be a highly effective way to help calm your emotions.
- Splashing water on your face can help to calm anxiety by diverting the brain’s attention, as well as helping to ground you in your body.
- Holding your breath, dip your face in a bowl of cold water;
Shift your thinking
Consider the feel, and, but.
Anxiety is there, but it is not the whole story and you are a complex and layered and interesting person that needs exploring!
Notice the experience of anxiety but add in ‘I feel’ and/or ‘b’ to see what else is there and to shift the ‘absolute,’ ‘all of nothing’ or ‘catastrophic thinking’ that anxiety can result in. This way of thinking can really affect our sense of our self.
What else is there about you and how you feel?
- I am a failure.
I am a failure.
- I feel like a failure but I tried hard, have been successful at things previously and I am hopeful.
- I am helpless.
I am helpless.
- I feel helpless but I am also capable, creative, funny, silly, brave, curious.
Tap into the other parts of your personality
Tap into other parts of your personality with some exercises that connect to feelings other than anxiety or are opposite to what the anxiety is telling you.
For example, this could be listening to music, writing, or even gardening – plant some flowers and get amongst nature.
Brainstorm positive ideas for your future
What would you be doing if anxiety wasn’t holding you back?
Really hear from yourself about these ideas! Create a vision board. This aims to really listen to your wishes, longings and desires that can be shut down – try and hear from your ‘gut’ or ‘wiser self’ about this not your first anxiety thoughts. We want to open up other parts of yourself which does push anxiety over a but overtimes takes the power of it away when it comes to moving forward in your life.
Remember to embrace imperfection
Embrace imperfection and messiness in your life and yourself.
The beauty of life, the world, our bonds and growth come from mistakes, messiness, our quirks, imperfections. Failures.
Japanese culture embraces this with the idea of Wabi Sabi and Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold — a metaphor for embracing your flaws and imperfections. Brene Brown also talks about this with the Power of Vulnerability
Seeking support for anxiety
For more help, register your interest in our support group ‘Managing Social Anxiety in Your Twenties’ register here
Or call us at the clinic for a free 20 minute consultation with Carolyn to chat about working with one of our experienced therapists.