It all starts very subtly. At first, it’s the shallow breathing, then, an eerie tension grips the gut. The heart begins to thump rapidly and before you know it, you are experiencing a full-blown panic attack. These are the common results of anxiety. The mind is a powerful tool. Some researchers posit that the mind is more powerful than the physical body. An anxious mind causes low confidence, poor productivity, failed relationships, and impedes one’s ability to enjoy life and live a high-quality life.
Anxious thoughts can overwhelm the mind thus making decision making difficult and hampering the ability to take action. Such thoughts only exacerbate fear thus causing a vicious cycle of panic. Worrying about things is helpful because it inspires people to take action. However, if a person begins to become pre-occupied with worst-case scenarios and what-ifs, worry metamorphoses into paralyzing fear. It is possible to train the mind to stay calm and approach life from a balanced, realistic, and rational perspective. This article delves into powerful strategies to help relax the mind.
Here are 5 effective ways to deal with an anxious mind:
In many cases, people react to thoughts. Research studies recommend that it is beneficial to continuously monitor one’s thoughts. Reacting to thoughts instantaneously can be detrimental to the stability of the mind. Negative thoughts can adversely affect reality. Untangle yourself from negative thoughts and understand that the thoughts are not real as far as the current events are concerned.
The mind can make up false stories about one’s sense of safety and likeability, particularly due to negative past experiences or negative assumptions. Therefore, thoughts often interfere with the experiences of the present moment. The mind treats things that can happen, and things that are actually happening, as the same. Consequently, being self-conscious can help you realize that the two aspects are not the same. Just because something happened in the past does not mean it can happen in the present.
Panic occurs when a person is exposed to certain triggers of fear. In the modern day, there are different types of triggers such as losing a job, strained relationships and marriages, feelings of inadequacy, fear of failure, and many other common stressors. Exposure therapy is an effective strategy to retrain the amygdala (a region of the brain associated with fear). In the exposure therapy technique, an individual first lists all things that trigger anxiety.
Subsequently, one ranks the triggers in order, beginning with the least unsettling to the most unsettling. Instead of avoiding such situations, the person begins exposing themselves to the least unsettling trigger. Upon mastering how to be comfortable around such triggers, the person begins to work their way to the other triggers and in the process unlearns the response of fear.
Failure to face one’s fears keeps the amygdala in an overstimulated state. Further, there are situations which are unavoidable in life. For example, if a person lives in fear of their boss and has to make presentations as part of the job requirement, then it is only prudent to master how to overcome such fear or risk losing their job.
Avoiding Obsession with Analysis of Issues
Over-analyzing issues is a major cause of stress. In the contemporary society, it is easy to fall into the trap of relentlessly sweating the small stuff. Worrying too much about things you have no control over achieves counterproductive results in the quest to deal with anxious mind. Obsessing over issues that one cannot control is counterproductive. If there is nothing you can do about an issue and if you have given something your best, then worrying will not change a thing. In fact, it impedes your ability to devise solutions.
Meditation is a technique used to switch one’s focus from worries or past negative experiences to the events happening in the present. Being focused on the present moment can disrupt the loop of negative thoughts. Research shows that regular meditation boosts the level of activity in the left side of the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for feelings of joy as well as serenity.
Subsequently, regular meditation helps relieve fear and gives an individual control over their anxious thoughts. Also, meditation has been shown to shrink the size of the amygdala, which is a region in the brain that registers emotional responses. Shrinking of the region enables the brain to think rationally.
Getting Enough Sleep
The mind and the body need enough sleep to rest and rejuvenate. Sleep deprivation is a hazardous precursor to anxiety. Lack of sleep is associated with numerous adverse consequences. Research shows that the average person needs at least seven to eight hours of sleep every day to work at optimum capacity. A sleep-deprived brain is hardly able to respond to emotional events effectively. Research recommends that one should go to bed early to sustain a healthy mind. This is the reason that power naps of 15 to 20 minutes tend to rejuvenate the mind in an incredible way.
Frequently, the odds of beating an anxious mind might seem insurmountable. Across the world, people are increasingly succumbing to feelings of fear and looking for quick fixes in the name of pills and medications. While it might seem like a daunting task to overcome an anxious mind, it is not as difficult as it seems.
There are various powerful techniques one can apply to relax the mind. The strategies discussed in this article work on the premise of using your mind to conquer its own weaknesses. The mind responds well to positive action and thoughts. Re tuning the mind is an effective way to deal with anxious mind. The old adage, “a positive thought is a hundred times stronger than a negative thought” truly applies in real life.