As promised, i'm here today with the series about anxiety - with a certain delay, I confess. But not to suffer from anxiety and worries, I have been using one of the most important tips that soon I will list here: do one thing at a time and focus on what I'm doing now !!!
On the first post about the subject I mentioned that anxiety is, in most cases, related to concern. Once the concern is trigged, the anxiety will follow. Or, I can safely say that worrying is as a by-product of over processing anxious information. Consequently mixed feeling are generated on your concerns, they begin to bother you, going to manifest symptomatically, damaging, for example, sleep, concentration, power, humor.
Anxiety is a universal experience of mankind, which means that everyone feels anxious, even the most calm people we know. Anxiety can manifest in three ways:1) physiological, physical symptoms - which means we feel the anxiety in our body with some of the following symptoms: tachycardia, sweating, tremors, contractures, pressure, chills, numbness, among others; 2) cognitive symptoms - what we perceive passing on our own nervousness, apprehension, insecurity, difficulty concentrating, feelings of estrangement, catastrophic anticipation; 3) behavioral symptoms - what we do to reduce anxiety: flee or dodge in, we are paralyzed, suffered the famous "blackouts" - particularly during tests or speaking in public - we become restless, quiet, do not sleep, we are always in alert.
Some people are more anxious and worried that others, they respond to anything with anxiety, feel anxious all the time; in these cases it can be said that anxiety makes up a trace of its personality. These people can be summarized in the phrase: I AM anxious. Other people ARE anxious in specific situations. But one thing is certain: WE ALL FEEL ANXIOUS.
Our emotional reactions are influenced by the way we interpret situations. Our thoughts can trigger anxiety. If we interpret a situation as threatening, we tend to have emotional reactions according to this interpretation (anxiety), and not according to the "real" danger of the situation. For example, a person by doing physical exercise, feel the heart race and think that it's having a heart attack; it immediately becomes anxiety and tachycardia increases; to think that it can be really sick, the person gets to have a panic attack. Another person facing the same situation, would think: I am out of shape, which would be a sense of disappointment, without a trace of anxiety.
We all have a natural tendency to worry and get anxious, so it is difficult (I say almost impossible) ignore this habit. Mainly because, in a sense, we understand that our concerns can help us, for example, when you think:
* Maybe I'll find the solution to this problem
* I don't want to forget anything
* If I think a little longer, I might be able to resolve this issue
* I don't want to get surprised
* I want to be responsible
For the ones that worry the most, anxious thoughts are fed by the beliefs, both positive and negative, that maintain the mental imbalance. On the negative side, you may believe that your constant concern is harmful, it will drive you crazy and affect your health. Or you will lose control over your thoughts and will never be able to control your anxiety. On the positive side, you may believe that your concern will help prevent bad things, avoid problems, which prepares for the worst or leads to solutions. Negative beliefs, or worry about your concern, triggers even more anxiety and the cycle of worrisome thoughts. But positive beliefs about worry can be even more harmful. It's hard to break the habit of worries if you believe that it protects you or serves a positive purpose.Only after that the concern is the problem itself, not the solution, you can regain emotional balance and restructure mental patterns to a more positive and optimistic way of looking at life.
If the anxious thoughts are powered by positive and negative beliefs, what do you do to worry less?
Below are five strategic tips to relieve anxiety and concern, check it out:
TIP 1: ACCEPT THE UNCERTAINTY
The inability to tolerate the uncertainty plays a central role in increasing anxiety and worries. People suffering from chronic worries have a huge boost to clarify all your doubts and do not accept the unpredictability. They need to know with 100% certainty what will happen.
Worrying for these people (most of us, right?) is seen as as a way to predict what the future holds, a way to avoid unpleasant surprises and control the results. The problem is that, wondering about what will happen in the future and / or make sure that the feared things will not happen, just does not work.
To think of everything that can go wrong will not make life more predictable. Focusing on worst-case scenarios certainly won't prevent some bad things to happen, but it will certainly prevent you from enjoying the good things that are happening in the present moment.
So if you want to stop worrying and want to relieve anxiety, first solve your need for security and immediate answers. To threat your intolerance for uncertainty is certainly the key to relieve anxiety.
Ask yourself the following questions and make sure you can reach a conclusion about the disadvantages of being intolerant of uncertainty.
Is it possible to be sure of everything that will happen to me in life?
What are the pros and cons of wanting to know and be certain of everything?
Do you think that bad things will happen just because you are uncertain? Is this reasonable? What are the probablities of positive or neutro results?
Is it possible to live with a small chance of negative results, even if the chances are minimal?
TIP 2: CREATE TIME FOR CONCERN
It's hard to be productive and functional in your daily lives when anxiety and concern dominate your thoughts. And just try to stop worrying does not work, at least not for long.
Trying to ban your anxious thoughts, often makes them stronger and more incisive. But that does not mean there's nothing you can do to reduce or overcome your concern. Just apply a different approach: instead of trying to completely suppress an anxious thought, a strategy that has proven effective is to develop the habit of postponing the concern:
Create a "moment for your concern": choose a set time and a place to worry about it. Should be the same every day (for example, in the room, between 18:30 and 18:50). This period should be sufficiently far away from bedtime so that anxiety does not harm your sleep. During this "moment of concern", you are allowed to worry about what torments your mind, the rest of the day, however, is a zone free of worries.
Postpone your concern: a wishful thinking or concerns emerge in your mind during the day, take a short note on a pad of paper and postpone the processing of information for your "moment of concern." Remember that you will have time to think about it later, so no need to worry about that now. Save wishful thinking for later and continue with their activities.
Check your "worry list" only during the "moment of concern": think about the concerns you wrote the pad during the day only when it's time for the "moment of concern." If the thoughts are still bothering, only enable worry about them for the amount of time you specified for the "moment of concern". With this strategy, probably your concerns won't seem so important for you at that time, and you can delete them more easily. Moreover, you will have taken advantage of your day and you can sleep soundly ..
TIP 3: CHALLENGE THE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
If you suffer from chronic anxiety and concerns, you are likely to look at the world in ways that make it more dangerous than it really is. For example, you can overestimate the possibility of things going wrong, immediately jumping to catastrophic scenarios, feeding every negative thought, as if it were a fact. You can also discredit your own ability to deal with life's problems, assuming everything can go wrong at the first sign of difficulty. These irrational thoughts and pessimistic attitudes are known as cognitive distortions.
Despite cognitive distortions are not based on reality, it is difficult to counteract and eliminate this type of reasoning, being part of a pattern of thought used throughout life.
In order to break these destructive and distorted thinking habits and stop the worry and anxiety that it originates, you should gain motivation to train your mind to new ways of thinking, establishing a positive and appropriate thought.
Start by identifying the disturbing thought, being as detailed as possible about what scares or worries. So instead of seeing their thoughts as facts, look at them as hypotheses, tests in order to verify that they meet what one wants. To examine and challenge your fears and worries you will develop a more balanced perspective, will develop emotional balance.
Stop worrying, questioning thought as follows:
What is the evidence that the thought is true? This is not true?
Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
What is the probability that what intimidates me will really happen?
If the probability is low, what are some of the most likely outcomes?
Is it a useful thought? How will worry about this help me or hurt me?
What would I say to a friend who has this concern?
Understand how cognitive distortions lead to anxiety and concern:
Thoughts of all or nothing: you look at things thinking of categorical and absolute manner, as if things had to be black or white, with no middle ground. "If I fall short of perfection, I'm a total failure."
Extreme generalization: you make generalizations from a single negative experience, hoping it always remains true. "I will not be hired for the job; I'll never get any job. " The mental filter focuses only on the negative aspects, while omitting all the positives. Realizing the only thing that went wrong, instead of all the things that worked out.
Devaluation of what is positive: no attention to the good things that happen to you. "I did well in the presentation, but that was pure luck".
Jumping to conclusions and make negative interpretations without concrete evidence: you act like someone who believes being able to read the minds of others. "I know that person hates me." Or like a fortune teller, "I just know that something terrible is about to happen."
Catastrophic thoughts: expect the worst case scenario will happen. "The pilot said we are in a turbulent hole. The plane will crash. "
Emotional reasoning: you believe the way you feel reflects reality. "I'm afraid now. That must mean I'm in real physical danger. "
Rigid rules of the type: "I have to ..." or "I never can ...". Arming is a strict list of what you should and should not do, punishing in advance if "break any of the rules."
Labelling: label yourself based on perceived mistakes and shortcomings. "I'm a failure, an idiot, a loser."
Customization: take responsibility (inflation of responsibility) for things that are out of your control. "My son had an accident, it's my fault. Should have warned him to drive carefully when it rains. "
TIP 4: LEARN HOW TO RELAX
Anxiety is more than just a feeling. It includes a response that is felt in the physical body, emitting a reaction of "fight or flight" to a perceived threat. Your heart beats faster, you breathe faster, your muscles tense and you feel dizzy in some situations.
When you are relaxed the opposite happens, your heart rate decreases, muscles relaxes and blood pressure stabilizes, relieving anxiety.
If you are a person suffering from chronic worry, relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing and meditation can help you. The secret is the regular practice: try to book at least 20 minutes of your day to practice and over time the relaxation response will be easier.
Some of the useful relaxation techniques to relieve anxiety includes:
Progressive muscle relaxation: When anxiety takes over, progressive muscle relaxation can help you to release muscle tension and reduce or dismiss your concerns. The technique involves systematically contract and then relax the different muscle groups in your body. As the body relaxes, your mind will focus on that feeling of well-being and automatically leave the anxious thoughts.
Deep breathing: When you are anxious, you tend to breathe faster. This hyperventilation causes symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, stiffness, tingling in hands and feet. These physical symptoms are scary, leading to more of an anxiety attack and panic. On the contrary, when breathing deeply from the diaphragm (breathing in through your nose and exhaling slowly through the mouth), you can reverse these symptoms and calm down.
Meditation: Many types of meditation have proven to be effective in reducing anxiety. The mindfulness or plenta attention, in particular, shows up as a very useful technique for the relief of anxiety. Research shows that this type of meditation can actually change some states of your brain. With regular practice, meditation enhances the feeling of serenity and joy.
TIP 5: TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH
A healthy and balanced lifestyle plays a big role in maintaining anxiety, fears and concerns at functional and appropriate levels.
The following are some ways you can use to relieve anxiety and concern taking care of yourself:
Look for support in friends, family or professional help. The anxiety and worry will get worse when you feel helpless and alone. Strive to build a strong support system. The more you are connected to other people, the less vulnerable you will feel. If you start to feel overwhelmed with concern, call a family member or trusted friend, talk about your concerns. Venting can make your problems seem less threatening.
Adopt healthy eating habits. Kick start your day with a good breakfast in the morning, and continue with small frequent meals throughout the day. Stay long without eating leads to reduction in blood sugar levels, which can make you feel anxious and angry. Eat carbohydrates, such as brown rice; fruits and vegetables.
Practice leisure activities. Look for practice activities that bring you satisfaction, joy and relaxation. Do activities that allow you to stay involved and emerged, which makes you lose track of time.
Practice exercise. Do some type of physical activity, preferably aerobic exercise such as walking, low-level races, or some kind of collective game.
The next post will be about how to deal with the anxiety disorders such as panic, phobia and obsessive compulsive disorder. Also, do not miss it because the Blog MS for Dummies will have a special draw to end the series on anxiety!