Sunday, 28 June 2015

Ten ways to beat worry and anxiety

anxiety, worry
Worrying, is just a natural part of life that everyone has to put up and worrying does have its purpose. It’s worrying that makes us cautious when we need to be and it’s worrying that sometimes makes us think twice. Sometimes, though, worrying can become almost a way a life for people and it prevents them achieving all that they could. In its most extreme forms, worrying can turn into an anxiety disorder that can get so bad that a person is scared to go out on their own, or talk to other people at all.

For me, it was a long period of everything going wrong around me that brought on over-worrying and anxiety attacks. For a long time, I used alcohol to overcome my anxiety which, of course, just makes things worse and, when you come off the alcohol; boy do you get to know anxiety then!

Personally, I think that what happens is that worrying becomes such an ingrained habit that you start to worry about everything. I would worry about the big problems that I had, and that was only to be expected, but, I would also become anxious about even the smallest things. The phone ringing would mean some kind of disaster was about to befall me, I would think that people looked at me in a “funny way”, I even had to work up courage to talk my own children on the telephone , because I feared that they might have bad news for me.

I still suffer from mild anxiety sometimes, but it’s now under control and I have learned to fight off any major panic attacks. It did take some time though to break the worrying habit. If you are a persistent worrier, then have a read of these ten tips on how to go about defeating worrying and anxiety. I hope that you find it useful.

1. Remember that People are less interested in you than you think
When I say that people are not as interested in you as you think, I don’t mean the kind-hearted people that want to help you, I mean all the people that you think have it for you. In my case, that meant people that I thought I’d let down. People I owed money to, and complete strangers too. You do find, in time, that actually, these people don’t give two hoots about you really. The people that chase you for money are just computers, the people you let down have forgiven or forgotten all about it and strangers couldn’t care less about you anyway. When you do work up the courage to talk people who you think have it for you, you find that they are human beings after all and that are not entirely uncaring either.

2. Give yourself a set time to worry
Create a time in the day when you will allow yourself to worry and times that you won’t. Beating yourself up about your worrying won’t instantly stop it, but you can control when you will worry. If you can tell yourself: “No! I’m not worrying about that now; I’ll worry about it at the prescribed time!” That way, you can give yourself a break from the anxiety and stress. I found this particularly useful in the evenings, when I was trying to get to sleep. I banned myself from worrying or even thinking about any problems I had until the morning.

3. Think about how many times your fears have never materialised
You know all those annoying people who tell you “It’s probably not as bad as you think”? Well, actually, they have a point. When you get into an anxious state of mind, then you do always assume that the worst will happen. One way to get those fears back into perspective is to remember how many times you have been wrong about similar situations in the past, and your fears were completely unfounded.

4. Get busy with your hands
Don’t sit there daydreaming because you know where your mind will end up wandering to. Do something that occupies you fully and keeps both your hands and your mind busy. Watching TV or listening to a radio doesn’t work, because you will still find your mind wandering, but if you do something that you really have to concentrate on, it will help take your mind of your worrying. For me, it was writing that gave me the release that I needed, but it could be craft-work, working in the garden or even redecorating the house.

anxiety, worry
Get busy with your hands
5. Learn to accept what you can’t control
When you become an expert worrier, you also become a bit of a control freak. Don’t try and control what you can’t and learn to accept the uncertainty of life. If things have gone wrong in the past then try and accept that because, the past is certainly one thing that you control. You can’t control what other people will do or say, any more than you can control whether or not the sun will shine or not today, so, don’t waste your time worrying about either of them.

6. Write down a list of the things that are worrying you
One of the worst things that can happen when you become a worrier is that all your concerns start to tumble out of control in your mind. They hit you, one after the other; bang, bang’ bang. Making a written list of your concerns might get you into a bit of a sweat when you do it, but, once you have finished, you begin to feel a little bit more in control. It will also give you a starting point from which to begin to tackle those concerns.

worry, anxiety, anxiety attacks
Forget it all and go for walk
7. Forget it all and go out for a walk!
I expect that, in more formal advice on anxiety, the title would read; ‘get some exercise’. However, as I am neither one for jogging and you wouldn’t ever get me in a gym, I found a brisk(ish) walk does the trick just as well. Getting out in the fresh air for a while, especially if you can get to some green space, is very therapeutic and calming. Also, the exercise will make your body release hormones that will put you in a better frame of mind.

8. Help someone else with their problems
A great way to divert your attention from your own problems is to help someone else. Volunteer to work in a home for the elderly or help out at a centre for the homeless. It’s another cliché that everyone loves to use, but it is a fact that there are always other people who are worse off than you are and helping them will help you by putting your worries back into perspective.

9. Expose yourself gradually to your fears
The biggest fear of all is the fear of the unknown. You are probably assuming that bad things will happen, so you would rather bury your head in the sand. Tackle the things that are worrying you slowly, one by one and you will find that your fears are most likely unfounded. For a long time, I avoided talking to people, because I thought they would judge me and I was wrong. I also, completely irrationally, avoided dealing with my debt problem and I was wrong about that too. Once I started to tackle my problems, in my own time, each and every one of them began to become less important than I had imagined.

anxiety, worry, stress
Live for today
10. Live in the here and now
My final piece of advice on how to beat worrying and anxiety is to live for today. Enjoy what is around you now and try and put the problems out of your mind. There is so much in a single today that you can be grateful for. Your worrying, though, is probably blinding you to those things. I know how difficult it is to think about today, when you are convinced that tomorrow will bring some new calamity, but there really is more to life than stressing over what could happen. What is happening, right now, is far more important.

Anxiety management help
Severe anxiety causes a lot more than just a lack of sleep. You can also suffer from physical symptoms such as sweating, dizziness and hyperventilation. If you are suffering from severe anxiety and frequent panic attacks, then do seek help from your doctor. Your doctor can refer you to anxiety management courses and, or, counselling. I attended both and found them to be extremely useful and, I promise you, anxiety can be beaten. There is also some useful information here at the Anxiety UK website.


Take care


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