The shortness of breath, the panic, the unease, the strangeness; anxiety is awful. Whether you’re a teen and you’ve been to a residential treatment facility or you’re an adult who’s lived with anxiety your whole life doesn’t matter. Anxiety is often misunderstood and stigmatized in everyday society. So what do you do about it?
First, it’s important to understand anxiety is natural and it’s unnatural to suppress anxiety. We’ve just been doing it for so long in modern society, it feels weird to let yourself feel anxiety. The reality is, you should feel anxiety. You should lean into anxiety when you feel that pit in your stomach or you begin worrying about the mole you’re convinced is skin cancer.
Next, you need to understand your anxiety and the tools you can use to accept it. You shouldn’t aim to get rid of anxiety because you can’t. Life is stressful and you’re going to worry. That’s how our brains work.
In this article, we’re discussing how you can use anxiety to your advantage. Continue reading to learn some tips.
Ways to Reframe Your Relationship with Anxiety
Identify the Physical Sensations
First, ask yourself what your whole body feels when you feel anxious. This can seem counterintuitive. But examine where you feel the shortness of breath. Is it at the top of your chest? What does your belly feel like? Are your hands tensing? Do you feel sick to your stomach? What does anxiety feel like and how is it different from other sensations?
Is that nausea connected to your shortness of breath? Do you only feel short of breath when you feel a certain way in your belly? The point here is that you should examine your anxiety.
Question the Thought Pattern
Anxiety often displays itself as physical emotion. But where are those sensations emanating from? Do they have a thought precedent? When you feel anxious, note your thoughts as thinking and note your emotions and sensations throughout your body as feeling. Doing so will help you define stress more clearly. And what you can define, generally won’t scare you.
Focus On Your Breath
We’re not suggesting you focus on how fast you breathe. However, mindfulness and breathing meditations can help you get more in touch with your breath to see how it behaves. When you perform breathing exercises every day, you start to notice the changes in breath you experience in the short term. Familiarizing yourself with the behavior of your breath is one of the best ways to eliminate the hyperventilation that often occurs with anxiety.
Part of the reason we feel so much stress in today’s society is that we aren’t in touch with our bodies or brains. We think and do without considering our thoughts or actions. We spend our entire day focusing on what other people think about our reactions rather than the reactions themselves and why we have them. Yoga gets you in touch with your breathing patterns during different movements. This connection will help you when your body reacts a certain way to a situation. You’ll feel it. And when you identify it, you can better understand why it’s happening rather than react to it.
Writing is one of the best ways to reveal what’s in your head. Often anxiety comes from not letting yourself experience thoughts. When you write your thoughts down, you realize how powerless thoughts truly are over what happens in the physical world. Perhaps you have a particularly negative thought. Write it down right now and watch what happens. If you’re by yourself, nothing will happen. Thoughts are as common as the air you breathe and you shouldn’t be afraid to breathe.