It’s a sad fact that most of us don’t live our lives nearly as fully as we are capable of doing. Something always seems to be holding us back from interacting better with people, pursuing the career we want, having the body we deserve and so on.
Why is it that we can’t simply go for it and do the things we know will bring us success and happiness? There are probably a thousand possible answers, ranging from low self-esteem to simple laziness. For many people, though, it simply comes down to fear.
While true anxiety disorders can be extremely debilitating, most people suffer from anxiety to some degree. In part, this is actually a good thing: being aware of things that might end up doing us harm allows us to plan better and avoid risks.
However, if feeling generally anxious about what life can bring us forces us to always choose the safe play, follow the beaten path and default to the conventional decision, anxiety is standing between us and our happiness.
There are a number of ways to reduce anxiety of any level, and following these strategies can help you live more freely, rather than existing in fear of bogeymen you’ll likely never meet.
When it comes to mental health, learning how to control and quiet your mind is one of the most important skills you can learn. Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness meditation can be just as effective as medication when treating issues such as anxiety and depression.
Meditation, though requiring a lot of practice to become good at it, is something anybody can do. It is also the ultimate form of me-time: slowing down your thoughts allows you to gain a clear perspective of whatever situations you may be facing and how you really feel about them.
Deliberately Leave Your Comfort Zones
Most people who have a problem with anxiety have certain triggers that cause them fear. You may feel uncomfortable on public transport, or hate public speaking with a passion.
Doing the things that scare us is the quickest, easiest way of showing your mind that there is actually little to be afraid of. Deviating from even a trivial habit, like ordering a different kind of sandwich for lunch, can make you feel amazingly powerful and ready to try further new things.
While there are certainly things that should scare us, from plane crashes to losing a job, most people are just really bad at estimating the risks these actually pose. Especially if persistent anxiety is a major feature in your life, counselling advice can have great benefits.
Talking over your negative feelings and the reasons for them with a qualified therapist is one of the most effective ways of determining what mental habits of yours are useful and valid, and which are only harming your ability to live happily.
Switch off the TV
Every day, we’re bombarded with hysterical messages. The economy will crash! Ebola will kill us all! There’s fluoride in the water!
Take a step back and really think about how likely any of this is, and how little it will probably affect you. Our brains aren’t really equipped to distinguish between events we physically witness and those that are just provided through a screen. The fact is that things aren’t really that bad and most of what we’re scared of is just irrational. If you are feeling anxious, try simply ignoring the news for a week.
Chronic anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health problems in the developed world, but it is certainly treatable. The first step is usually just to acknowledge that there’s a difference between genuine fear and general nervousness – truly understanding this concept will help put an end to your nervousness.