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How to Cope with Anxiety: The ultimate guide

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How to get your anxiety under control

If you’re feeling anxious, it can be hard to know how to cope with anxiety.

First step to cope with anxiety

Ok, let’s find out how I can start coping by identifying the different thoughts causing my anxiety. One common belief is that an event will go badly, or events that have happened in the past have gone badly.

Another common thought is that one cannot do something or would be better off if one were not working on this task. We also notice beliefs about what others think of us, for instance, feeling like everyone else is more intelligent than me and thinks I’m stupid because I procrastinated so much today.

The first step in coping is identifying what your thoughts are telling you will happen or didn’t happen or what others are thinking of you. It is essential to be as specific as possible with the ideas leading to your anxiety because it’s easier to change something if we know exactly what it’s going to change from.

Recognize thought patterns

In terms of recognizing patterns within the thoughts you have identified: sometimes we experience anxiety, and it feels like a big ball of emotions, and we can’t even begin to differentiate which thought caused what feeling and where else does this then lead us–out of control and into our head.

This is entirely normal and one I’ve experienced before. Sometimes I’ve had my therapist help me understand the pattern of my thoughts, so I can address each thought individually without getting overwhelmed by everything at once.

If you would like something that is a little further along in terms of your anxiety, then I suggest you go out and get yourself a copy of Dr. Patricia Farrell’s book “10 Days to Self Esteem”. It is one of the best self-help books I’ve read, and it has helped me keep my life on track.

Second Step to coping with anxiety

The second step in coping with your anxious thoughts is identifying what you are telling yourself about these thoughts. When we’re feeling anxious, we’re usually thinking several negative things about ourselves, which only reinforces the feelings of fear and dread that come from our minds.

Just changing how you address your thoughts can make a significant difference in how you feel about them afterward because even if the thought stays the same, you’ve changed the meaning behind it.

For instance, let’s say that someone is afraid of flying. This person might tell themselves that flying will crash and then die, or they are too stupid to fly safely, reinforcing their fears rather than reducing them.

Don’t argue with anxious thoughts

This brings me to my next point about these thoughts. It is useless to argue with anxious thoughts because it only makes us feel more isolated from others around us, makes us feel even less able or confident in ourselves, and reinforces our negative thinking.

So do not try to convince yourself that your thoughts are irrational because I assure you they are not simply related to fear and self-preservation instincts kicking in.

But now that we have identified what our thoughts are telling us to be anxious, let’s take the next step in coping with these thoughts, which is almost really just applying common sense to how we think about them. The first thing you’ll want to consider is why you believe this thought so intensely and what does it mean that you think this thought.

If you look at the example I gave before, for instance, one might feel like their fear of flying means they aren’t able to accomplish traveling like everyone else around them can. It would make much more sense if, instead of arguing with your thoughts, ask yourself whether or not there is evidence to support this thought as well as proof that refutes it.

Coping properly takes time

If someone feels like they are unable to accomplish something because of their fear (in this case, flying), it will make more sense to ask yourself what has caused you to feel this way and whether or not this is a rational fear.

It seems like a simple exercise within common sense, but I’ve created a list of examples below some commonly believed anxious thoughts along with my reactions to them:

So the next time you feel anxious about something, try to look at your thinking patterns and see if there isn’t anything that doesn’t quite add up.

If you’re able to identify what exactly you’re feeling anxious about and why then chances are the thought that was causing your anxiety in the first place can be replaced with more logical ones!

Common intrusive thoughts, and how to cope

1. “I can’t do anything right” or “I always screw everything up.”

You might not be able to do every single thing perfectly, but chances are you’ve completed many tasks in the past. Hence, it isn’t logical for you to think that something is fundamentally wrong with how you achieve them. Ask yourself what has caused you to feel this way and whether or not this feeling is based on reality.

2. “Something bad will happen today/to me today if I ___ (fill in the blank).”

If something terrible happens, that would be unfortunate, but just because an event hasn’t occurred yet doesn’t mean that it will happen no matter how much you wish it would. In fact, attributing adverse events to the past doesn’t make much sense when there is no evidence that they’ll happen in the future.

3. “I am a terrible/worthless person for feeling this way.”

This type of thinking only makes us feel worse about ourselves and, in turn, makes our insecurities even more evident. Everyone feels anxious, but you should focus on your positive traits rather than fixating on what you don’t like about yourself.

4. “This thought shouldn’t be happening.”

You might not fully understand what you’re feeling or why but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real, nor does it mean that you have to have complete control over how you think. It’s good that you’re trying to figure out what you’re thinking, but don’t beat yourself up for not being able to control your emotions just yet.

5. “What if this is something more serious?”

I think everyone at some point has thought about the worst-case scenario when they feel ill or have a significant health concern, but it doesn’t mean that fears of having a fatal illness can be completely ignored. But it is essential to try and reassure yourself with the evidence you know about how your body is feeling and whether or not there really is the reason for immediate concern.

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6. “This anxiety means that ___ (fill in the blank).”

This thinking only reinforces that we need to find a way to cope with our fears. If you’re able to determine what you’re anxious about and why it would be a lot easier for you to find out how to de-escalate your anxiety and hopefully cope more positively! I hope this post was helpful, and if anyone has any other experiences with their anxious thoughts or reactions, I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

There’s always a way out

Every once in a while, you might experience something within your life that makes you feel like there is no way out of it. Perhaps it’s when you make an embarrassing mistake at work or when someone says something hurtful towards you.

Life can definitely throw some curveballs, but when we try to avoid situations that cause us discomfort, we tend not to learn how to cope with such circumstances and hence, never grow as an individual.

I know that it seems like the scenario above would be easy enough to get through. Still, I think it’s important to try and understand what exactly we’re feeling anxious about instead of trying to ignore our emotions or pretend they don’t exist.

Breakdowns happen

There are many ways in which people go about their lives without having anxiety problems. Still, if you feel incredibly overwhelmed by your thoughts, perhaps there might be something for you to learn from reflecting on your feelings further.

This doesn’t mean that you have to break down every time something goes wrong wholly, but we need to acknowledge all of our emotions, including those that make us uncomfortable! Reflecting on them could be the first step to understanding what you’re anxious about and how you can learn to deal with them more positively.

I know that it’s pretty ironic for me to talk about this topic since I’ve personally had trouble dealing with my anxiety in the past. Still, through personal reflection, I’ve come to realize certain things about myself (and my emotions) that will hopefully make me feel like there’s no way out of my problems.

More intrusive thought examples

1. “Why am I feeling this way?”

It might seem like an obvious question, but when we get caught up in our thoughts or feelings, sometimes we forget that it isn’t normal for us always to feel awful. Many factors cause people to become stressed/unhappy/anxious, from past experiences to current circumstances.

The point here is that there isn’t always one particular reason for why you’re feeling the way that you are and if there was, it definitely wouldn’t be helping you cope with your anxiety!

2. “What am I thinking right now?”

This might seem like an obvious question, but what you say to yourself after something goes wrong can significantly impact how you feel about it. If you tell yourself things like ‘I’m so stupid, ‘Why is this happening to me?’, or ‘There’s no hope for me…it’s over, then chances are, these aren’t thoughts that will lead to positive coping skills later on.

It’s essential to try and remember that you are not your thoughts – they are just there to provide comfort, but it’s up to you whether or not you choose to listen to them!

3. “What do I want?”

This question may seem pretty ambiguous, but please bear with me! When people are anxious/upset, I have noticed that they tend to only think about the bad things that could happen rather than focusing on what they want. It’s like we’re so afraid of what we might lose that we stop ourselves from getting something in its place.

For example: not going out with friends because of a fear of rejection, giving up on doing something special for yourself because you’re too scared of embarrassing yourself, or ignoring your friend who needs a shoulder to cry on because you’re afraid of being judged.

4. “Am I really in control?”

When we feel like we have no control over a situation or ourselves, we tend to worry more and become caught up in our thoughts, making matters worse. It is understandable for us to fear what has happened in the past and what might happen in the future, but there is little hope to grow when we continuously think about such things without moving forward.

We can’t change what has happened or predict the future, but we can do our best to live in the present moment and learn from it simultaneously!

5. “What if…?”

This statement tends to be quite destructive since it usually goes along with thoughts such as ‘Right now, I’m nothing,’ ‘If only I were someone else,’ or ‘I don’t want this. It’s okay to sometimes fantasize about how things could be different because people often do it as a coping mechanism.

Still, when these fantasies become our reality, they usually never work out in the end. The most important thing to remember is that we control how we choose to live, which means we always have a choice (even if it doesn’t seem like it).

6. “I don’t need anything.”

This one might sound strange at first, but I think we all know what it’s like for us to want something so wrong and then when we get it, wish for something else in its place. It’s almost as if we feel like we need something specific for us to be happy, and when we get it, we find ourselves feeling empty or unfulfilled.

I know that sometimes when people say things such as ‘ deserve better, ‘There is something wrong with me,’ or ‘I’m not/never will be good enough, it’s just their insecurities speaking up.

7. “What do I have right now?”

This one might seem like an obvious question, but when our anxiety kicks in, most of us aren’t thinking about what we’ve got – instead, it’s all about what we don’t and what we fear losing.

I know how hard it is to be mindful when we’re worried about the future, but trying to appreciate what you currently have in your life rather than focusing on what’s missing can help us manage our anxiety and improve our moods. If nothing else, try to take a quick mental note of all the things around you (i.e., friends, family, clothes) and remember that it could always be worse.

8. “Will this go away?”

We often feel alone and scared at moments like these because there isn’t anything or anyone around to help. We might blame ourselves for not being able to control our anxiety/panic attacks/depression, which only makes us feel worse until it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

However, even though it can be hard to remember during those days/weeks/months, I think it’s always best for us to try our most challenging and never give up because things WILL get better!

9. “Will I always feel like this?”

This question is related to #8, but how long we will continue feeling this way. We all wish that we could snap a finger and make ourselves feel happy again, but sometimes life has other plans for us.

It might seem as if we’re stuck in a dark place with no way out but one thing that helps me through rough times is remembering that nothing lasts forever. Even when you think about your future years, you will not have the same problems you’re going through now, which means it’ll be easier for you to deal with them.

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10. “Why is this happening to me?”

This question is very similar to #8 as well as it’s related to how long we’ll feel like this; however, I think it’s essential for us always to remember that there isn’t a single reason why we feel like this and experience anxiety/panic attacks/depression.

Sometimes it seems as if everything has built up, and our minds seem like they could explode at any moment, but even though we might not know what triggers our emotions, we should never blame ourselves because random things every day, every day, and in life happen all the time.

11.” I’m so lucky!”

It’s normal for us to think about how bad our lives are, but when things get tough, it becomes even more important to reflect on what we have rather than what we want. Yes, there are times when life seems unfair, but remember that something along the way can always go right, even during the worst moments.

While you might not know it yet, there is a silver lining in everything, which means that even if it doesn’t seem like your life could get any better at this point, hold on because you’re almost to the light at the end. Of the tunnel! 

12. “This is temporary.”

This question is very similar to #5 because it reminds us that our feelings are temporary. Thinking about things being permanent can sometimes get us into a vicious cycle of hoping for the best but expecting the worst kind of thinking, which makes us feel worse until we’re able to find new ways to deal with our emotions.

When our anxiety kicks in, it’s hard for us to remember that one day, everything will get better, so by trying to trick your mind into thinking that these problems won’t last forever, you’ll be able to focus on finding happiness now instead of worrying about what might happen later!

13. “Am I doing the right thing?”

Anxiety and depression can make us feel as if we’re not doing anything right, making us feel just as lost as before. There are times when we might want to give up on everything because it seems like nothing is working for us and that there’s no point in trying anymore but remember that you will always be able to find comfort in the little moments.

Everyone has flaws, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve happiness or find their purpose in life.

14. “It could always be worse.”

If you think about it, no matter how bad we feel, there is always someone out there who feels worse than we do, and this means that we should be grateful for the smallest of things.

We might not have a reason to smile but remember that everyone else has their problems, and thinking about some of the worst situations in our lives can remind us that even though we’re going through hard times at the moment, it could always be worse.

15. “This is new.”

At times, it’s frustrating to think about how much we’ve been through and how it never changes, but if we look at our complicated past as a new beginning, it can help us become more assertive.

No matter what mistakes we make or what went wrong in the past, this is a chance for us to be reborn again and reinvent ourselves as someone even greater than before. Think of every tough time as an opportunity that you can use to learn from your mistakes and create something better out of yourself.

16. “I can do it!”

This question is very similar to the previous one because, as I said in #15, we should think of every problem as a chance to learn and become someone better through them. When we’re going through tough times, it’s easy for us to give up mentally, but if we remind ourselves that we can get past this challenging time period, there won’t be anything that can hold us back from achieving our goals anymore.

Every obstacle you overcome brings you closer to success, and even though it might seem impossible right now, remember that with hard work and determination, you’ll eventually get there!

17. “What’s my goal?”

Sometimes when we go through challenging situations in life, we forget about what truly matters to us. When something negative happens, it’s easy for our minds to shrink from doing what we love or start believing that our dreams are unachievable when something negative happens.

Still, just because one bad experience happened doesn’t mean that your goals aren’t worth fighting for anymore. If anything, this is the perfect time for you to reevaluate your life and ask yourself what you truly want in life.

18. “I’m strong enough!”

I like using this question when my anxiety is getting worse because reminding myself of how strong I am can help remind me that no matter what challenges come my way, I will always have the strength to overcome them. When we’re going through a tough time, it’s easy for us to forget just how much we can handle, but if you remind yourself of all your past success stories,

I’m sure that there is no problem in this world which you cannot defeat! Life can be hard to deal with at times, but as long as you continue fighting against the odds and never give up, nothing will ever hold you back from being happy.

19. “I won’t let anything keep me down!”

This question was inspired by a video I saw on YouTube a while ago. After seeing someone go through such horrible events in his life, he stated that even though he was severely bullied during school and experienced physical pain due to disease, his determination never to allow anyone or anything bring him down fueled him through everything.

No matter how badly you feel about yourself or how hard things might seem right now, there is no reason for you to let this get in the way of your future.

20. “I will accomplish my goals!”

Whenever I feel like giving up because things aren’t going quite well, I always try thinking about my past success stories. Usually, when we’re close to achieving our goals, we must set them aside and forget about what we truly want in life. Still, if you constantly remind yourself that your dreams matter and that nothing will ever be able to keep you down, there’s nothing that can stop you from achieving your goals!

As long as you continue working towards the things that make you happy, I’m sure that your whole life will change for the better one day.

Conclusion

In this post, we’ve given you a few tips on how to cope with anxiety. It can be challenging to know where even to start when trying new techniques for self-care or reducing stress levels. The important thing is that you take action and make some changes today. You deserve the opportunity of living your best life without feeling like chains are holding you back from achieving what’s possible!

Remember, if all these ideas don’t work out as well as planned – no worries! Keep reading our blog posts for more helpful content on how to live better with anxiety each day.

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