By Karen Belz
Anxiety is the worst. Many of us suffer through it for years, assuming that living on the edge of panic and fear is the “normal” human response, but you can get control over it, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you find yourself in the midst of one of those spells where it seems like the whole world is collapsing around you, here are a few things to remember:
1. This is just temporary. It is. You won’t be in the midst of an anxiety attack forever, even though it might feel that way at the time. Anxiety is normal, and part of life — but if you’ve noticed your anxiety is becoming so powerful that it’s present on a daily basis, know that it’s not your fault, and consult a medical professional to help you manage.
2. You’re doing a damn good job. Anxiety just loves to pop out when stress is present— they’re like the worst BFFs you could ask for. If you’ve got a ton on your plate, you can get so overwhelmed that you undermine your own capabilities. You’re amazing, and the fact that you’re aiming to get everything done means that you obviously care about doing a solid job. Give yourself some credit, and remember that you can’t always expect to be Superwoman.
3. This may just be the coffee talking. Didn’t sleep well last night? Maybe you tried to over-caffeinate to make up for it. Caffeine is a wonderful thing, but too much of it can make you shaky and nervous. To lower your anxiety levels, try cutting down on your daily consumption.
4. You’re strong enough to handle this. You’ve done so many incredible things in your life, so why is your heart pounding over a simple PowerPoint presentation? When you feel like you’re about to curl up and die before a tense or nerve-racking moment, just remind yourself of all the past events and presentations you totally nailed. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. You got this.
5. One step at a time. It’s cliche, but the phrase “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is completely true. If you’re feeling panicky about a super busy month, or a big project that you have yet to conquer, remind yourself that the hardest part will be getting started. Once you start, your fears and worries will figure themselves out.
6. It’s time for a breather. We breathe all the time, but we never actually focus on it. It’s not something we cross off the to-do list, but maybe it’s time to take a minute or so and really take a deep breath. Let the air feel your lungs, and let all of your nerves and self-doubt leave your body when you exhale. Oxygen is fantastic when trying to battle anxious moments.
7. You don’t need to be scared. You’ve probably heard of fight-or-flight before, right? It’s a reaction that takes place when you feel threatened or harmed. It’s part of reason why you feel the way you do when you’re anxious — your heart is racing, you’re short of breath, and you’re shaking out of control. Think about what’s making you feel this way. Is it really, truly a threat, or is it something that you can manage under a calmer circumstance? Some things in life are scary, but others? Not worth spending time getting nervous over.
8. You’re in control here. When you’re anxious, you feel like you’ve lost all control, and it’ll be tough to convince yourself, in the moment, that you really do have a handle on the situation that’s making you feel so crappy. Make this your mantra when things get tough. If you hear it enough, you’ll start believing it. You are bigger than your anxiety, and you’re defined by way more than your anxiety. Tell your brain who’s the boss in this situation.