How To Manage Anxiety

Anxiety in Life can be Managed

Have you ever been in a situation that made your heart pound, gave you sweaty palms and maybe even shortness of breath? You have, well; you were probably experiencing an anxiety attack.

People from all over the world, from all walks of life, experience anxiety in some form or another. Anxiety is characterized by feelings of fear, dread and apprehension, the physical feelings that you experience give you heightened senses and a rush of adrenaline that can help save your life. This is the FIGHT or FLIGHT syndrome.

Frequent anxiety is normally fear of the results of a particular situation and not the situation itself. It could be an interview with a new employer, or getting stuck in traffic and being late for work, it could be giving a presentation to a boardroom full of executives; these situations can send you in to a panic manifesting all sorts of physical conditions in the body.

A coping mechanism

It’s important to note, that not all situations that bring about anxiety are dangerous or life threatening, it’s probably a very stressful situation that has brought about the anxiety to help cope with the situation; anxiety of this type if left unchecked can lead to discouragement and depression.

When the anxiety that we are experiencing about a particular outcome, doesn’t manifest, the anxiety normally stops and goes away, however, people who suffer with chronic anxiety do not experience the same freedom, and that may cause serious life threatening conditions.

If you suffer from anxiety attacks on occasion or on a more frequent basis, there are some steps that you can take to help keep the anxiety under control and improve your responses to the stressors in a given situation.

Take control of anxiety

Learning to manage anxiety is normally the first step in controlling it. Here are 7  key points to help you take control of anxiety.

  1. See a professional. This is one of the most important steps to take, as any self-diagnosis maybe unwise and lead to greater physical mental health issues. A doctor in psychiatry will be able to help you understand it a little better, and if necessary, prescribe medication or other effective techniques to help you better deal with the anxiety.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep. Most people need about eight hours of sleep; however this may vary from person to person. Deep sleep, especially during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage, your body repairs itself and goes through a restorative process.
  3. Regular exercise. Consistent exercise, especially cardiovascular work increases blood flow in the body, thus increasing the oxygen to the brain. You are also more focused and creative during this time, which can aid in finding solutions to situations that might be stressful.
  4. Have quite time. Setting time aside for meditation involves quietening the mind, controlling your breathing and focusing on the more positive things in life. Taking just five minutes a day to quieten the mind will do wonders in the fight against anxiety.
  5. Manage worry. When you feel your heart starting to speed up, just try relaxing and count back from ten. Visualizing a calm image like being at the ocean or out in nature, may also help in reducing the level of anxiety. As you do this think about the situation you are in and resist the urge to create any negative ideas from it.
  6. Listen to music. Calming music such as music for meditation, classics etc have a natural calming effect on the mind which starts to permeate the physical body, calming the mind, slowing the heart and creating a more relaxed atmosphere. With today’s advancement in technology, you can even carry music in your pocket and listen to it anytime you like without anyone really noticing.
  7. Do NOT DRINK ALCOHOL. You may think a small glass of wine will relax your tension and help you deal with the
    anxiety, but alcohol is a depressant. During anxious situations, you may continue to use alcohol as a coping mechanism; this could possibly turn into another problem that would need to be dealt with. PLEASE DO NOT USE ALCOHOL TO TRY AND ALLEVIATE PROBLEMS!
  8. Get a hobby. Find an activity that will help you relax and de-stress. Anxiety and stress rob you of your energy as it is used to create a Fight or Flight response, so it can be quite tiring. Do something you enjoy on a regular basis like painting, sketching, reading, listening to music or writing a journal.

Final word on controlling anxiety

Anxiety happens to everyone at some time or another; it can come into your life without any warning. This is a normal part of life, but, having a consistent exercise program, eating the right foods, taking time out, getting a good night’s rest as well as dealing with any negative self-talk you may have about yourself, life, people or your work, will go a long way in helping reduce the intensity and duration of your anxiety.

NB: When the anxiety becomes more frequent, or you feel the anxiety is taking over your life, or causing other problems, you could be at risk of more serious conditions. You need to seek professional help as soon as possible; there is no need to suffer in silence.

Mark Csabai

Mark Csabai is an NLP Life Coach in Bloemfontein, South Africa. He works with clients in and around the Free State to help them achieve more, manage stress, build self-worth, increase confidence, overcome fears and help maintain a better life-balance.