Train Yourself to Manage Your Anxiety

12-Step Guide to Learning How to Get Rid of Your Anxiety

We are ALL anxious to a certain degree sometimes, but if your anxiety is affecting your personal life, your career, your job, and your happiness, it’s time to put a stop to it!

  1. Take 3 slow deep breaths, identify your feelings and describe them to yourself. "I'm feeling scared, but that's normal and it'll pass" or "I'm feeling anxious. No problem, I know what to do."

  2. Touch something near you (a table, a pen, your backpack), feel the material and describe it in your mind. "The table is smooth" or "The fabric on this chair is rough." This simple action will bring you back to the present and interrupt your escalating anxiety.

  3. Think, "What's the worst that can happen right now? I'll quickly excuse myself and walk out of the room. I can later say I was feeling faint, probably low blood sugar." If you can't get over the anxiety just yet, go to the bathroom, get a bunch of paper towels and run them under cold water and place them on the back of your neck as you breathe slowly and deeply until you feel calm.

  4. Once you've brought yourself back to the present moment, make yourself busy: do some work, clean out your closet, answer emails. Get your mind off the feeling of anxiety.

  5. If you're anxious about a task at work or school, sit down and make a plan for how you're going to deal with it, who you're going to ask for help, where you're going to research the topic. Anxiety comes from not knowing. Not knowing what's going to happen, not knowing what you're going to do. Once you have a plan in place, your anxiety will decrease considerably.

  6. Stop predicting the future. You're not a soothsayer. Think of all the scenarios you've imagined in your head that have never happened. What a waste of time and anxiety, huh?

  7. If someone's behavior is what triggered your anxiety, remember that you can't control how others act, but you can control how you react.

  8. Do something (work, homework, housework, any activity) SLOWLY and observe your movements, watch the way your hands move, feel your feet step firmly on the ground. Bringing yourself back to reality, back to the present takes your mind off the anxiety and reminds you that you're not being chased by lions, so the adrenaline and fear and unnecessary.

  9. If possible, get rid of your anxiety and excess adrenaline by going for a run or exercising.

  10. Think to yourself, "How will I feel about this situation in 6 months?"

  11. Write down 5 things you've been anxious about in the past that never happened.

  12. Face your fear. Remember when you were a kid and your parents would turn out the light at night and suddenly you were certain there was a ghost in the room? You'd be petrified all night, only to realize the next morning that it was the outline of your jacket hanging by the door. You would have avoided a night of horror if you'd just turned on the light and faced your fear. The same happens with anxiety which, as mentioned before, is the fear of the unknown. If you're afraid of talking to strangers because it makes you anxious, your hands sweat and your heart feels like it's going to beat out of your chest, FACE YOUR FEAR. Go to Starbucks, look the barista in the eye, smile and order something. The feeling of accomplishment is going to be amazing and every time you face a fear, that feeling of pride and accomplishment will get stronger and, in time, it'll replace the anxiety.

Grace HahnComment