If you have an anxious personality and regularly find yourself combating the effects of stress, then you’ll likely find that this can have a profound impact on an incredibly broad range of areas of life. Anxiety impacts on your mood, it damages your productivity, it places a strain on your health and it makes you feel rotten. Combating anxiety would not only help you in all these areas but it would also make you happier, more confident, more healthy, more full of energy and more likely to succeed in your career and relationships.
Unfortunately, some of us are more prone to anxiety than others however and if you’re someone who struggles with this regularly then you probably won’t be able to just ‘turn it off’.
Thus you need to find ways of managing anxiety. This means recognizing your triggers, learning how to deal with it and also organizing your life in such a way as to reduce the incidence of anxiety in the first place.
To see how you can do this, read on and we’ll look at some of the most effective strategies.
The Best Methods of Managing Anxiety
Reduce Unnecessary Stressors
The first thing you can do to start effectively managing stress is to look at all the things that are currently contributing to your stress levels on a regular basis and what you can do to fight them.
One example of this is to close ‘open loops’. An open loop is anything ‘ongoing’ anxiety that you’re avoiding dealing with. For instance, if you’ve been invited out by your friends and you know you need to say no but you’ve put off responding then this can be an ‘open loop’. Likewise, you might need to respond to a message from your bank but find yourself putting it off.
While you might have chosen to deal with any of these things later, you will find that they still make themselves known by lurking in the back of our mind and causing you anxiety. The sooner you make a decision/deal with them, the sooner you will be able to genuinely forget about them.
This is really an example of stress management – of managing the things that are causing you stress in such a way as to reduce their impact on you. This means planning ahead, knowing yourself and remembering that a little discomfort now can save you a lot of restless nights going ahead.
Remove Small Irritations
Likewise, there are other small irritations that you might find impact on your ability to relax. These can include things like untidy rooms in your house or even things like a label digging into your back in your clothes.
You might not think that something as minor as a label in an item of clothing could possibly cause that much stress. In reality though, it’s crucial to remember that this niggling irritation and discomfort will be with you for the entirety of the day and during every other stressful event. The same might go for a dripping tap.
While some things might remain out of your control, the smaller factors can often be addressed relatively quickly, simply and effectively.
Learn How to Combat Stress
Sometimes anxiety isn’t going to go away and that’s why many stress management techniques involve combating the symptoms directly.
One of the most effective ways to combat anxiety is simply by taking deep breaths. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system associated with our ‘rest and digest’ mental state. If you can engage this through effective breathing exercises you will find that your heart rate immediately drops.
Likewise, you can also use cognitive behavioral therapy in order to reduce anxiety. Remember: anxiety isn’t actually caused by what happens around us as much as it is caused by our interpretation of what happens around us. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches us to re-evaluate what’s happening so that we can react in a more measured and constructive way.
Take Time Out
Sometimes the best form of stress management is simply to take a break. Many of us will resist taking time off due to stress because we would ‘rather deal with it’ or because we don’t want to be seen to be week. In fact though, taking time out is not only important for your health when you’re very stressed but can also increase your chances of being able to effectively problem solve when you return. The best ways to take time out include going on holiday or having short breaks, or even just getting a massage.
And really, every evening or weekend should provide you with a break from work related stress, so find ways to make your time off more relaxing and book yourself some extended leave when things get a bit much. This kind of stress management isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign that you’re taking a strategic approach to solving problem and will benefit you greatly in the long haul!