Anxiety is a completely normal thing. It is what has kept us alive, quite literally, throughout time. Anxiety is about the anticipation of something bad happening. When we saw a lion, we anticipated that it would try to eat us, so we ran. That anxiety caused us to go into our fight or flight response so that we had extra energy necessary to get away and stay alive. It also taught us to avoid lions.
Luckily, we don’t encounter lions on a daily basis anymore. This is where anxiety can get in our way. Our bodies and minds may be responding as if there is a lion in the area when there isn’t. Of course, if there is a lion you want that fight or flight system to work so you can run. Here are some quick tips to help you manage your anxiety and remind yourself that there is no lion.
- Pick a mantra. A mantra is a word or phrase that you can focus on that reminds you that in this moment you are safe. One of mine is ” there is no lion”. Other people have shared ones that have been helpful to them such as: ” this will not last forever” or “I am OK”
- Look for patterns. Often times there are similarities in the event or time the triggers our anxiety. If we can notice those patterns, that can help us be better prepared the next time we are in a similar situation to remain calm so that our anxiety does not get the best of us. For example, speaking in front of large groups makes many people nervous. They worry about all of the things they could possibly do wrong. Because a person knows that that situation often triggers their anxiety, when they know they have an event coming up where they will need to speak in front of a group, they can take extra good care of themselves and use other skills to help them combat the anxiety before it even starts.
- Talk about it. Anxiety is a normal part of being a human. Sometimes when we are experiencing it, we think that no one will understand how we feel or that we are the only one experiencing it. Talking with others and being reminded that it is normal and that we are normal can have a huge effect on how we talk to ourselves when we notice we’re getting anxious. We might also learn something that someone else does to help manage their anxiety that we can also use.
- Get enough Sleep. What does sleep have to do with anxiety? Only everything! When our body has not had enough time to rest and recharge, we are more sensitive to stress and less able to effectively manage or control or anxiety without it taking control of us.
- See a therapist. If you have tried different ways to manage your anxiety and had limited success, or if the amount of anxiety you are experiencing regularly keeps you from doing things that you want or need to do, you may want to reach out to a professional. There is specific training and experience that can help you to gain more control over your anxiety and move towards being able to do the things that you want and need to do
Hopefully these hints are helpful. I’d love to hear your feedback about how they work for you. Remember, there is no lion