How to Cope With Anxiety: Easy Techniques
To cope with anxiety, it’s not enough to use “quick” techniques to calm it down. It’s necessary to consider the causes of anxiety and find ways to reduce its impact on daily life. Let’s figure out how this can be done.
Let’s imagine that your anxiety is angina. Individual anxiety attacks are coughs. And quick ways to reduce anxiety are menthol candies.
Would candy canes help during an attack? Partly yes, they will take away the cough for a couple of hours or reduce its frequency for a while. Will they help with a sore throat? No, they are just lollipops.
The “here and now” self-help methods for anxiety help in the moment, but have no effect on how often, how much, or in what situations you are anxious. Moreover, the constant use of such methods can become your avoidance strategy and exacerbate your anxiety in familiar situations because what we don’t try to do in spite of our anxiety begins to seem even more frightening.
To cope with anxiety, even if it’s caused by winning an enormous jackpot at CasinoChan Canada, you need a comprehensive approach to the problem: to analyze the thoughts and beliefs, be willing to change behavior and go along with their experiences.
Next, we’ll share practices from cognitive behavioral therapy. You can do them yourself, but if you realize that the task is too difficult, don’t go to the next step without consulting a specialist. He will help you look at the situation from a different angle and sort out your thoughts.
Often people come to psychotherapy with the request “get rid of my anxiety” or “I don’t want to be anxious ever again.” It’s an understandable wish of a person plagued by anxiety that prevents them from riding the bus or speaking at a party. Alas, it’s completely unrealistic.
Anxiety is an important evolutionary mechanism of the body that has helped us survive. Anxiety about possible dangers (running out of food, being attacked by a predator, falling off a cliff) allowed us to watch out for them and stay alive. The life of modern man is more varied, complex and much safer, but anxiety continues to seek out threats in the world.
So getting rid of it completely is impossible, but you can learn to live with it more comfortably. There are two ways to do this:
- Reduce the intensity of anxiety. Through various thought techniques and experiments, we can show the brain (and ourselves) that we are exaggerating the danger and its consequences. By doing this, dysfunctional anxiety – not corresponding to real danger – can disappear altogether or become weak enough not to interfere with your life
- Reduce sensitivity to anxiety. Some psychotherapy approaches say that we don’t need to reduce the intensity of anxiety, but can learn to distance ourselves from it by becoming an observer. Act in spite of the anxiety, don’t let it take over.
Before we begin the exercise, it is worth accepting that the main goal is not to “take away anxiety,” but to “make life better.” Comfortably communicate with loved ones, don’t waste all your energy on intrusive thoughts, and drive calmly in transportation.
Motivation to Reduce Anxiety
Often there are “secondary benefits” behind our anxiety – Some kind of benefit that we derive from the situation. For example, a man might say that thanks to his anxiety, he is never late, because he arrives well in advance. Or a woman might say that she is a good mother if she worries about her daughter when she is not around.
Write down on paper all the pros and cons of your anxiety: what does it give you, and what does it take away, what does it say about you as a person?
Afterwards, look closely at the pluses. Do they really do you more good than harm? Undoubtedly, it’s good never to be late, but if it turns out to be 20-30 minutes of waiting every day (which is 3 hours a week), is it worth it?
If after this exercise you feel that anxiety is getting in the way and you’re willing to put in the effort to deal with it, you can move on to the next step.
Track Your Thoughts
Your thoughts are just thoughts. They don’t make you a good or a bad person, and you don’t have to get rid of them. In fact, if we ask you not to think about red-nosed dolphins, that’s probably all you’ll be thinking about for the next couple of paragraphs. You really have no reason to think about red-nosed dolphins.
It’s the same with disturbing thoughts: the harder you try not to think about them, the more often they pop up in your mind.
Test Your Hypotheses
If you are already familiar with your alarming predictions, they can be tested rather than trusted a priori. “I’m going to be late,” “My kids will faint at school if I don’t make them a comprehensive lunch,” “I won’t be able to handle this case,” “I’ll get fired.” Write out your negative predictions (and how much discomfort they cause you), and then go back and write down the situation that actually happened.