Everyone feels anxious at some point in their life. It’s a very common thing that many of us will have to deal with from time to time. It can appear as from nowhere, in the form of anxiety attacks, or just as a lingering feeling of anxiousness that doesn’t want to go away. We all know how awful anxiety can be, and how horrible it makes us feel.
We all experience a certain amount of anxiety every day. This is normal if it's in manageable doses. However, when anxiety takes over to the extent that we have trouble living an ordinary life, we have to do something about it.
I've had my share of anxiety and I know how frustrating it is when it just won't go away. During times when it is at its worst, I don't even feel like leaving my bed. But that is exactly what you need to do. You need to tackle it head on and don't let it stop you from going about your day. It's difficult - but it's the only thing that can make it easier to cope with.
Here are five ways I've discovered to help fight anxiety when it strikes you.
The first thing you need to do is to take a look at your schedule. Do you have anything special planned for today? Are there any specific projects going on that you absolutely need to work on, no matter how you feel? Let's say it's Wednesday and you really need to get that work done before the weekend kicks in. Well, then you need to get to work. You can't procrastinate just because you're feeling bad. It's very easy to fall for the trap that anxiety sets for you, but you need to be stronger than that. It can be really hard, but once you start working on something that needs to be done, really focusing on the task at hand, your anxiety level will drop because you're not paying any attention to it.
So get out of bed and do something productive with your day.
Step 1: Be productive.
The second thing you can do to make yourself feel a little bit better is to be active. Move your body. Go to the gym and work up a sweat - get those endorphins going. Take a walk in the park, the woods, or just stroll down the street in the city. Walk your dog. Go buy some groceries. The important thing is that you don't spend too much time dwelling at home all by yourself, letting the anxious thoughts get to you. Get some fresh air and activate the circulation of you blood. Maybe it won't kill the anxiety completely, but you will definitely feel a lot better for the time being.
Step 2: Be active.
The third thing you can try is being social. Being around other people, especially friends that you like hanging out with, can make you feel more at ease. If there's anything specific that you're anxious about, you can always talk to them about it. Get it out of your system. Complain about it and get some feedback. Maybe they can help you see things from a different perspective, or even come up with a solution to your problems.
If you don't know why you're feeling that way, laughing and just having a good time with the people you like most can get you in a better mood and out of the anxious state of mind for a while. Go watch a movie, grab some coffee, play games or just take it easy at a friend's place. It really has a great effect.
Step 3: Be social.
The fourth tip is to read something inspirational. This can be anything from a biography depicting the life of a successful entrepreneur, to a epic fantasy novel in which the hero overcomes the forces of evil (which can of course allegorically represent your anxiety). It doesn't really matter what it is, but it has to be something that makes you feel even the slightest that you're capable of overcoming anything - whatever life throws at you. Stories about going against all odds and winning after a long struggle are the most powerful for this purpose - for obvious reasons.
If you're not into reading books, you can always watch motivational videos online. Some thought-leaders in this particular field that I recommend is Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard and Gary Vaynerchuck. If you don't get pumped up by listening to them, I don't know what will. They have helped me through a lot of dark times during the years. Sometimes you really just need to hear some encouraging words from someone to have the strength to go on.
Step 4: Read something inspirational.
The final advice I have on this topic is a very simple one: relax. If you're into practices like meditation, I would really recommend it. You can do a simple mindfulness meditation by focusing on being aware of your surroundings - the sounds, the colors, the small details of everything around you. You can also try the opposite: sitting in a (preferably) dark, silent room, breathing deeply and slowly while trying your best to block out all incoming thoughts. If a thought pops up in your head, just ignore it and imagine it floating away to bother someone else. Empty your thoughts and just breathe.
If you're not into that kind of thing, I recommend trying it out, but if you're not interested there are other things you can do to relax. Take a hot bath or a long shower. Watch your favourite movie or Netflix series. Play that game you like. Treat yourself to a cup of tea or other hot beverage. Whatever makes you feel relaxed and at ease - do it. But don't just do that, because then you're just procrastinating and pushing your problems into the future.
We all need some rest once in a while, otherwise we will get burned out. Balance it with the other tips and you will have a good start at defeating anxiety.
Step 5: Relax.
How often do you experience anxiety? Do you have any other advice on how to battle it? Make sure to leave a comment to inspire others suffering from this common enemy of productivity and a happy life.