It is pretty much impossible to get rid of anxiety. In actual fact, we need some anxiety because it helps us react quickly in stressful situations. But too much can become a real issue so it's lucky that anxiety is controllable, with practice! Psychologist Ekaterina Kes explains what anxiety is, why it occurs and how to calm yourself.
Causes of Anxiety Disorders
Unexpectedness is one of the major causes of anxiety. If something that we are not prepared for happens and our normal picture of the world changes, it leads to a complete lack of understanding of how to act, which triggers both panic and anxiety. Which, by the way, are two different things and need to be distinguished from ech other. Anxiety is a state in which we suffer but control ourselves. Panic is the feeling when we lose control — everything around us is collapsing. Anxiety is always about the future. It arises because we think about what we will encounter and what it might lead to.
Why is It Impossible to Banish Anxiety Forever
It is impossible not to experience anxiety forever because humans need it. All feelings, states, emotions, which are given to us by nature, have a special meaning for us. And anxiety is not the exception. It helps us to become more alert and be prepared for action. Getting rid of it is impossible, but you can learn how to manage it. If you’re feeling anxious, ask yourself the questions: “Why do I feel it?”; “Is there anything I can do to affect the situation?”; “Is there something that depends on me?” They will help you see anxiety as your helper, trying to tell you something important.
How To Cope With Anxiety
The best and most effective way to get rid of anxiety is to try to feel what is happening here and now. As has been said before, anxiety often arises from our fantasies and attempts to create a fictional picture in our heads of what our future will look like. Mentally, we jump ahead and fall out of the present. At this time amazing things may be happening around us, though: the sun is shining outside the window, birds are singing, flower buds are opening on the windowsill.
Another effective technique is to connect all of your senses. What senses are there? We have ears that hear, so we need to try to catch every sound nearby. We have eyes that see, so we can focus on what's around us and name those things out loud: "I see sun glints on the wall, a cup of coffee on the table, a cat peacefully snoozing nearby." We also have a nose that sniffs, so we begin to inhale the air and try to smell things. We have skin that comes into contact with the outside world - try to feel every millimeter of it. Notice if your back is hunched over, if something hurts. This technique helps us to ground ourselves and bring our minds back to the present moment.
Start focusing all of your attention on your body. You can stretch a little, massage your face, neck, or your ears. A simple self-massage helps you connect with yourself. Remember that at this point it is important to pronounce all your actions. This is a necessary step because it forces us to stay in the present. Seize your own attention, ground and root yourself. All these simple actions will help you to see that there is no cause for anxiety in the here and now.
Notice your own breathing. Anxiety makes a person breathe quickly and shallowly. In this state, you should try to breathe in and out in deep and slow movements. Psychologists and psychotherapists recommend not to neglect this step: they say that breathing strongly influences the emotions and physiology. Proper techniques help to relax, calm down and feel inner confidence. It's a good idea to devote at least a few minutes a day to this kind of practice: take a seat and breathe. If there is no time, then practice while doing some mechanical actions. It's more difficult, but this way helps you concentrate better.
What do we usually say to ourselves when we are anxious? "What a nightmare! What's going to happen next? It's going to be worse!" These kinds of thoughts put us even further into an anxious state. Change your approach and say to yourself, "I'm okay. I'm strong. I can find the right solution. I have loved ones who are willing to help me. I can handle it." Use words that make you feel better.
Write everything that is bothering you on a piece of paper. Don't suppress your emotions - it's better to accept and live them. Sit down and write about all your worries. We are often overwhelmed by different feelings, but sometimes we have no one to discuss them with, so there is a lot of excitement and anxiety inside. Experts recommend keeping a daily diary of emotions. Try it: a similar technique plays a large psychotherapeutic role. If you get lost and don't know where to start, answer the basic questions: "How do I feel?"; "What do I most want?"; "What's bothering me right now?"; "What can I do to feel better?"