“Being anxious is the worst feeling in the world.” – Enrique Iglesias
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]nxiety, stress, and worry rob your soul of its energy. When not controlled, anxiety can be paralyzing. Your productivity can suffer, your health can deteriorate, and your creativity will go into hiding.
Recognizing when you have anxious is the first step in helping to manage anxiety, so it doesn’t have such a huge impact on your life.
Try these seven things to help transform anxiety and worry into positive energy.
Use Your Breath
During times of anxiety and stress, our breathing patterns change. The normal pattern of breathing is slow and from our lower lungs. In times of stress, we begin to breathe from our upper lungs rapidly and shallowly. It may be even hard to catch your breath.
When you feel yourself tensing up or notice your breathing pattern change, try calming your breath.
Start by taking a long, slow breath. Breath in through your nose and concentrate on filling your lungs filling the lower lungs first (breathing into your stomach), then the upper.
Hold your breath for just a moment, then slowly exhale through the mouth. While you exhale, focus on relaxing the muscles where you carry your tension.
According to the Mayo Clinic, when you practice relaxation techniques like breathing, “you’ll become more aware of muscle tension and other physical sensations of stress. Once you know what the stress response feels like, you can make a conscious effort to practice a relaxation technique the moment you start to feel stress symptoms. It can prevent stress from spiraling out of control.”
Question The Situation
It is important to put the situation into perspective, especially in times of stress. The best way to do that is to ask yourself questions. Asking questions leads to clarity and will help you focus on what you need to understand and plan for action.
Learning to question effectively is an art form. Ask yourself open-ended questions, like “What?” or “How?” to make sure you can get the answers you need, not the ones you think you want.
Keep questioning until the situation is clear, and the challenge is put in the proper perspective. Always end by asking the question, “What is the worst that can happen?” This question alone helps you realize that the problem or the situation probably isn’t as bad as it seems.
When you feel like you have a handle on the situation, you become more empowered and in control and it helps to alleviate a lot of stress and emotion around the situation.
Stop Resisting and Start Accepting
Stuff happens, and it is our response to this “stuff” that determines our level of stress or anxiety. Realizing life isn’t perfect and knowing “stuff” will happen will help you accept it when it does.
By accepting challenging situations as they occur as just another thing to work through, you will be better equipped to handle anything that comes your way.
Brainstorm All Possible Options
One of the biggest problems in times of stress is the feeling that we aren’t in control. One of the best ways to start to feel in control again is to brainstorm solutions.
Just transitioning your thoughts from the “Why me?” mentality to one focused on solutions, gives back a feeling of control necessary to move through the stressful situation.
Doing something towards a possible solution is necessary to relieve anxiety and stress. Without taking action and trying to move out of the challenge, it is too easy to remain in the negative space.
Once you brainstorm a list of possible options, it is time to take action. Based on all of your brainstorming and other information, choose a solution and do it.
Be Comfortable with Your Decisions
The hardest part about taking action is the fear of failure. Trust that you made the best decision at the time based on all of the information you had.
It is easy to look backward and see things differently but looking backward won’t help. Once you make a decision, be comfortable with it, no matter the outcome.
Trust That It Will Work Out as It Should
You have done your due diligence if you have questioned, brainstormed and taken action. When you work through challenges with the best possible intentions, the best outcome will be realized.
Even if it isn’t the outcome you had hoped, it is the outcome that was meant to be. Regardless of the outcome, there is a lesson to learn. Find it, master it and then continue forward on the journey.
There is no need to succumb to the effects of anxiety, stress, and worry. Once you begin to recognize it, you can begin to do things to help alleviate it. The goal is to do something, anything, so the anxiety and worry doesn’t paralyze you. And a great place to start is with your breath.