I don’t know anyone who enjoys worrying and being anxious. But I’ve coached many who want to overcome it. My clients seem surprised when I tell them it’s a mental habit that can be broken—with a plan and some determination. That is, a plan to find the best anxiety relief methods that work for them and the determination to practice those methods until it becomes their new habit to manage their anxiety.
“Worry is like blood pressure: you need a certain level to live, but too much can kill you.” – Unknown.
4 HARMFUL MYTHS ABOUT WORRY
Adverse events do occur in our lives. However, if we are honest with ourselves, we have to acknowledge that the events we often worry about end up not affecting us as much or for as long as we fear. Even when our fears materialize, we also need to realize that worrying is never the best anxiety relief method to cope with them in a healthy way. In fact, it does the opposite and wears us down. So, now that I say that, let’s move on to look at the myths regarding worry.
1. You can control your problems by worrying.
Worrying does not solve problems, plain and simple. When you worry excessively, you keep your emotions in turmoil, making it harder to find an acceptable solution to your problem.
2. If you worry enough, you can prevent something bad from happening.
Oh, if only it were so! But unfortunately, worry by itself has never prevented anything from happening. The problem with this behavior is that each time you worry and nothing terrible happens, your mind makes a connection that if you worry, it prevents bad things from happening, and it keeps the cycle going.
3. If you can worry about all the possible things that could happen, you will be prepared for anything.
Well, other than being untrue, once your mind starts down the rabbit hole of endless “what ifs,” you are only setting yourself up for undue stress for scenarios that most likely are never going to happen.
4. You’re just a born worrier.
Let me enlighten you here. No, you were not born that way. It’s more likely that you began to believe that worrying was beneficial somewhere along the line, even though it caused you stress. But here’s the good news, worrying is a learned behavior, so that means you can also learn how not to live anxiously.
Here are some anxiety relief methods to try:
1. Give Your Body Some TLC
Some people take better care of their belongings than they do of their bodies. Yet, an essential anxiety-management strategy is simple self-care basics that address your physical, emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual needs so you can be at your best, which helps build up your resilience (ability to bounce back) to stress. These strategies can include:
- Eating a healthy balanced diet (limit alcohol, nicotine, sugar, and caffeine)
- Regular exercise
- Treating yourself to soothing activities (massages, Mani/Pedi, hot bath, fun shopping trips)
- Taking time to relax
- Getting enough quality sleep
- Maintaining a healthy support network with friends and family
- Making time for pleasurable activities, you like to do
2. Focus On Your Breathing
When you’re anxious, the muscles that help you breathe tighten. This causes you to breathe more shallowly and faster than usual, leading to you feeling like you’re not getting enough air. And you know what that leads to– panic, which makes you breathe even shallower.
There are so many different breathing techniques that are helpful to alleviate symptoms of stress and make you feel better. However, the key is to practice them before becoming anxious, so it will already be an ingrained habit when you need them the most.
3. Stay in the present
“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” — Amit Ray.
Many anxious people, when they worry, are either thinking forward about what could go wrong or mulling over what has already gone wrong in the past. Continually diverting your attention to the past, which is out of your hands, or to the future, which isn’t yet in your grasp, could be a source of your anxiety. You can stop this “time travel” and permit yourself to tune into what is actually around you at the moment. In other words, keep your head where your feet are.
4. Have some fun
Who says playing has to only be for kids? Many activities like those listed below are creative outlets that can be positive ways to relieve anxiety caused by stressful situations. So, release the inner child, lift your spirits, live in the moment, and reduce your anxiety. Consider some of these activities:
- Going to the zoo
- Gardening (I personally don’t get this one, but, Hey, I know people who use this to calm down)
- Read a good book
- Do some crafts
- Watch a funny movie
- Take a day trip somewhere
- Play some games
- Have a pillow “fight” with your kids or grandkids
There are so many strategies and techniques that can help manage anxiety. By trial and error, finding the best anxiety relief method that works for you will give you a lasting sense of your own power to work on your symptoms and manage anxiety through your own efforts.
When you find out what works for you, the main thing is to keep practicing those methods to the best of your ability. Don’t get discouraged along the way. I believe you will find that consistent and effective effort will lead to success. Also know, that if you would like someone to come along beside you to help, working with an anxiety coach through breakthrough coaching is a great way to go.
Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. The easiest way to start taking control of your anxiety is to take the FREE 5-Day Anxiety Detox Challenge. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or make an appointment online. I’d love the opportunity to cheer you on as you discover and master anxiety relief techniques as you train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more balanced and less fearful perspective.