With so many people in today’s world feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, we need collective relief now more than ever. The world continues to move at an increasingly fast pace, which would give even the calmest person a bit of anxiety. It happens to the best of us, but sometimes, the anxiety can feel debilitating. When will it end? When will we find the answers inside ourselves we so desperately seek?
Of course, we can all take preventive measures to keep our anxiety in check, but it can creep up on us when we least expect it. Anxiety weakens our defense mechanisms and keeps us on high alert at all times, even if we don’t sense an immediate threat to our survival. Although anxiety can feel very real, it absolutely begins in the mind. In order to correct and heal our anxiety, we must first work on calming our brains and teaching them to look at the world in a different light.
If you are one of the millions of people worldwide who struggle with anxiety, then keep reading, because this article is for you.
5 Things to Tell Yourself When Anxiety Attacks
1. “I love you”
Many people feel incapable of being loved due to their anxiety, and hate themselves for something out of their control. Doesn’t this seem silly, when you truly think about it – to hate yourself for having a mental disorder that runs itself like a perfectly programmed machine? Anxiety seems indestructible and everlasting, and conquering it can feel like a constant uphill battle. However, to truly learn how to heal, or at least manage, your anxiety, you have to love yourself fully, anxiety and all. You can’t dismiss any part of yourself that you feel is unworthy of love, because anxiety makes up your being, at least partially.
It doesn’t have to rule or own you, but it’s there. So, accept this and learn to love the person inside. As they say, the first step to recovery always begins with acceptance and understanding of the problem.
2. “In this moment, is there truly anything that can hurt me?”
Oftentimes, people with anxiety have entirely different brains that those who don’t suffer from the disorder. In fact, a study published in the journal Current Biology shows that people with anxiety have less of an ability to distinguish between a genuine threat and a “safe” stimuli. Why? Well, for the sake of brevity, people with anxiety basically have different wiring in their brain than “normal” people, resulting in a more anxious perception of the world. Their amygdala, or the region of the brain responsible for regulating emotions, essentially tells the mind to feel fear and sends that signal out to the other parts of the brain that help process emotions.
Despite this evolutionary response that seems stronger in those with anxiety, you CAN actually reprogram your brain through mindfulness meditation and other practices that help to calm and relax the mind. We all have synapses in our brains, which are gaps between two nerve cells that send impulses to the rest of the body. Although genetics do matter in regard to the likelihood of having anxiety, you can learn to manage it by looking at your environment objectively. Ask yourself if anything can truly hurt you in the moment that should make you feel anxious. If not, take a few deep breaths, center yourself, and try to respond to the stimuli as mindfully and calmly as possible. Our brains change based on habits and learned behaviors, so give it a try yourself.
3. “Take deep breaths.”
Many times, those with anxiety have simply forgotten how to breathe. Something that seems so simple in childhood can easily be forgotten in our fast-paced, hectic lives. We don’t spend enough time relaxing, and therefore, our breath has become shaky and hurried. When you feel an anxiety attack, take a few moments to relax into slow, deep breathing. This will help you to react in a calm manner, and not let your anxiety win.
4. “You CAN do this!”
Do you find yourself doubting and questioning yourself frequently? If so, this can greatly exacerbate anxiety, and may even cause it, in some cases. The next time you feel an anxiety attack and you start to lose faith in yourself, say this powerful mantra in your mind. Many people with anxiety also suffer from low self-esteem due to the effects of their disorder, and they also tend to have high levels of sensitivity. So, boosting your own confidence can help you to combat anxiety and stand up to the demons in your mind.
Believe in yourself, and anxiety will shrink in the process.
5. “Why am I feeling this way right now?”
Unfortunately, many of us have become out of touch with ourselves and our emotions. We don’t tune in enough to our innermost thoughts and feelings, instead tending to everything outside ourselves that demands our attention. Each day, remind yourself to slow down and pay attention to how you feel. If you find yourself feeling anxious, ask yourself why. Is something in your environment making you stressed? Can you change this situation so you can eliminate the source of the anxiety? Simply becoming mindful of the way your mind works can do wonders in helping you treat your anxiety naturally.