Why would we want to lean on something that is very distressing like anxiety? Because what you resist, persists.
Leaning into your anxiety is one way to better manage and cope with anxiety. When we resist or fight our anxiety, what happens is that we make it worse. It is essential to avoid trying to make the anxiety go away or tensing up in reaction to it. Trying to withdraw or avoid anxiety is futile, so running away from anxiety symptoms is a way of telling yourself that you can’t handle it. This takes root in your mind, every time your anxiety resurfaces that there is something to be afraid of that you cannot handle.
An approach that works most effectively is to have a mindset that says, “Okay, here you are again, but okay, I can handle this.” “I can allow my body and mind to go through the symptoms of anxiety because I’ve done it before.”
Acceptance of symptoms is key to coping with the body’s distressing physiological reactions. This acceptance of anxiety even through difficulty will allow you to ride the wave, move through it, and ride it. Adrenaline is what causes anxiety and if you can just let it go, knowing that anxiety, while scary at times, will not kill or harm you.
The knowledge and acceptance of allowing your physical reactions to be there, whether it be heart palpitations, chest tightness, sweaty palms or armpits, tense jaw, dizziness, etc.
Not all individuals have the same reaction to anxiety and may have different symptoms. caused by this rush of adrenaline. It will pass soon if you can remember to let it be and endure it.
Often our released adrenaline is metabolized and reabsorbed within about 5 minutes. As soon as this happens, most people start to feel a little better and their anxiety subsides.
In minor cases, the anxiety will peak and eventually subside within a few minutes. Some anxiety may linger for a while longer, but the worst is over in a short time depending on how resilient the individual is. The more you allow it to be there without avoiding or withdrawing from the anxiety, the faster it will pass.
Our internal dialogue can also create a problem depending on what we say about anxiety. Being negative about it and using “what if” statements can aggravate it and prolong our suffering.
Know when to arm your defenses
When anxiety symptoms start, it’s essential, but then it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Anxiety and worry are states of mind where you can feel vulnerable, like you’re going crazy, or things are out of control or even frozen to do anything to change the situation. Standing by and doing nothing is not the answer, and may only serve to maintain or even increase it, leaving you feeling more like a victim. At the onset of anxiety, it is more constructive to always accept the anxiety and then realize that there are many things you can do to redirect the energy spent on anxiety into something more productive. In short, don’t fight or resist the anxiety, but don’t do anything either. Allowing it to just be there is one of the best things you can do about it.
What can you do to take action?
- When anxiety or worry starts, you can try the following:
- Relax your body through breathing exercises to offset acute anxiety. Slowing down your thinking and listening to your breath can reduce your anxiety.
- Relax your mind. Take 20-30 minutes to do a guided imagery or meditation.
- Face your fears by taking active steps.
- Take care of yourself by doing a better job of taking care of yourself. Doing pleasurable activities like talking with friends in person or on the phone, eating a tasty meal, taking a warm bubble bath, or getting a massage can help.
- Distract yourself from your worrying thoughts.
- To deal with anxiety, plan how to deal with worry effectively by having a plan of action.
There are other coping strategies beyond these that can also help deal with all levels of anxiety, from mild worry and apprehension to panic. The most popular strategies are listed below.
Talk to a healthy support person in person or on the phone. To get out of your mind and not focus so much on your body’s symptoms and thoughts, talking to someone on the phone can distract you.
Participate and participate in an activity or move. This physical activity may allow you to expend some of the excess energy or adrenaline that is created by this fight or flight response that can occur with acute anxiety. Move with the anxiety instead of resisting it and the physiological symptoms. If you are at work or in a meeting, try walking to and from the bathroom or walking outside while getting fresh air for 10 minutes or more.
When you’re home, you can do housework by cleaning out that junk drawer or mopping the floors. This physical activity can help you get out of your head by riding a stationary bike or jogging on a treadmill. Gardening is also very therapeutic and a great way to refocus your anxiety energy.
stay in the moment
People who feel the effects of anxiety often live in the past or think about the future. If we focus on what is happening at the moment and on specific concrete objects in your environment, it can help you land. Or if you’re at the grocery store, you can look at the cashiers, people around, or even various magazines by the cash registers.
If you are driving and struggling with your anxiety, you can focus on the other cars in front of you or other details of the surrounding environment. Staying in the moment and focusing on what you see can help minimize the attention you pay to some upsetting and stressful physical symptoms or catastrophic “what if” thoughts.
If there are objects nearby, you can try touching them to reinforce staying in the present moment. Another basic exercise to focus your thoughts is on your legs and feet. While standing or walking, pay close attention to your legs and feet and imagine that you are connected to the ground and have roots coming out of your feet into the ground.