One of the curses of being able to think and reason is the ability to feel fear and anxiety, even when neither are warranted. Fear and anxiety can serve as helpful cues that there may be a situation that deserves caution, but after this is accomplished, they actually cause more harm than good.
You create your own fear and anxiety. You can also create your own peace and serenity.
Choose to minimize the effects of fear and anxiety in your life:
- Breathing is the fastest way to derail fear and anxiety. When faced with fearful thoughts or situations, we begin breathing quickly and shallowly. This begins a cascade of physiological events that result in feelings of fear and anxiety. It’s possible to circumvent this process by breathing deeply and slowly. *Try breathing quickly and shallowly for 60 seconds and see how you feel. Now try breathing slower and deeper. Notice the differences.
- Act normally. Continue behaving as you would if there were nothing to fear. You can communicate to the fearful part of yourself that everything is okay. If you can act as if everything is fine, your brain will begin to believe it.
- Spend time with supportive friends and family. A night on the town can work wonders to relieve stress and anxiety. A long, meaningful talk over a cup of coffee can be very beneficial.
- Have positive expectations. Fear and anxiety are the result of expecting the worst. When you expect the best, you can’t feel afraid. You’ll feel excited instead.
- Start small. Afraid of spiders? Look at photos of small, harmless spiders until you feel calm and relaxed.
- Let it go. It’s common for fear and anxiety in one part of your life to bleed over into other parts of your life. A rough morning meeting with the boss could ruin the rest of your day if you let it. Once the event is over, decide to let it go and move on.
- Sweat. The chemicals that your body releases during times of fear and anxiety can last quite a while. One easy way to get rid of them is to exercise. Work up a sweat and watch your fear and anxiety melt away. This is also a much healthier way to deal with unpleasant feelings than drugs, alcohol, or overeating.
- Reward yourself. After dealing successfully with a challenging situation, celebrate. This will help teach your brain that these stressful situations have a positive outcome. Buy yourself something small or do something enjoyable. Anything that puts you in a good mood is a good choice.
- Take action. If you’re worried, do something to resolve the source of your worry. By taking action, you’re taking responsibility. You also become more focused on your plan, which takes your mind away from your worries. The more you do to resolve the situation, the less fear and anxiety you’ll feel.
- Distract yourself. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do about the situation. In those cases, distractions can provide relief. Ensure that your distractions are positive, such as reading something beneficial or getting some exercise. At the very least, avoid distractions that are unhealthy or lead to additional challenges.
- Use positive affirmations. Keep your mind focused on positive thoughts by saying positive things to yourself. How you talk to yourself affects your mood and experience.
Fear and anxiety can be crippling if allowed to go too far. There are many techniques for minimizing these negative emotions. Those that feel fear and anxiety on a regular basis are experts at generating these feelings.
Become an expert at generating feelings of peace and comfort, instead. It just takes practice.