- How to Cope with Anxiety? The First Step
- How to Cope with Anxiety? The Second Step
- What are Common Intrusive Thoughts?
- I can't do anything right" or "I always screw everything up
- Something bad will happen today/to me today if I ___ (fill in the blank)
- I am a terrible/worthless person for feeling this way
- This thought shouldn't be happening
- What if this is something more serious?
- This anxiety means that ___ (fill in the blank)
- There's always a way out
- Breakdowns happen
If you’re feeling anxious, it can be hard to know how to cope with anxiety.
Anxiety is a complex condition to live with, and it can make you feel like you are going crazy. It’s essential to find ways to cope with anxiety to manage how it affects your daily life. The tips below will help give you some relief from the symptoms of anxiety, whether they’re related to your work, relationships, or how you’re feeling about yourself.
How to Cope with Anxiety? The First Step
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 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 will vary 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 to address each idea 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.
How to Cope with Anxiety? The Second Step
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 idea 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 believe 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!
What are Common Intrusive Thoughts?
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.
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. Attributing adverse events to the past doesn’t make much sense when there is no evidence that they’ll happen in the future.
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.
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.
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 is a reason for immediate concern.
This anxiety means that ___ (fill in the blank)
This thinking only reinforces that we need to find a way to cope with our fears. 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! If you’re able to determine what you’re eager 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!
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 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.
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 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.
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.