We all deal with anxiety to some degree. And we’ve all heard of ways to manage anxiety, from deep breathing to nature walks. While these methods are helpful, sometimes managing your emotions can be counterintuitive.
Expose Yourself to Triggers
If you deal with anxiety frequently, chances are you’ve identified some triggers that tend to set it off or make it worse. So you should avoid those triggers to manage your anxiety, right? Actually, not always. While staying away from triggers can help if you’re in a particularly stressful time in your life, exposing yourself to triggers in small doses while staying mindful can be an excellent way to manage anxiety and lessen its influence over you. In fact, this is one of the key elements in certain forms of therapy, such as exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
The trick to managing anxiety through exposure is to take baby steps and remain mindful throughout the process. By exposing yourself to triggers gradually, you’re able to stay in control of your worries and by staying mindful of how you’re feeling in an panic-inducing situation, you can calm yourself down and show your anxiety that you have power over it. As you do this regularly, you’ll find that you’ll be able to do more while experiencing less anxiety.
Do Something Badly
Anxiety often starts to take over when you’re afraid of making a mistake. In fact, enough worrying about your imperfections can be paralyzing. The solution? Give yourself permission to mess up. More than that, plan on it.
If you’re having trouble getting started or continuing with something because of the fear of imperfection, tell yourself to go ahead and do it badly. Giving yourself permission to do something badly can be surprisingly liberating. When mistakes are no longer something to worry about, you’ll find that it’s much easier to get started on a task. And you may be surprised by how well you do it!
Allowing yourself to do something badly also gives you the freedom to try new things. Without worrying about whether you’ll be good at it or not. Trying new experiences can also reduce anxiety as you have fun, make connections, and learn new skills.
Make Time to Worry
For many people with anxiety, worry takes up a good chunk of their time. If this is you, you may be wondering how making time to worry can possibly be helpful in managing anxiety. The point of setting aside a specific time to worry is that it delays (and therefore lessens) the thoughts that cause you to become anxious.
Set aside ten minutes at a certain time each day, and when you find yourself starting to worry about something outside of that time, remind yourself that it’s not worry time just yet. You can even write the worry down if it makes you feel better. By telling yourself that you are going to worry, just not now, you allow your mind to calm down a little, knowing that the problem will be dealt with. When “worry time” rolls around, you may find that the problems that loomed so large earlier in the day have become less significant.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, try one of these unique ways to manage it. And if you feel that you need help, please contact a member of our team. We can assist you in determining what methods of managing anxiety would be best for you, and support you on your journey towards better mental health.