The RAE defines anxiety as: “The state of restlessness, restlessness or anxiety of the mind”. However, really those who have suffered from it before, suffer from it sporadically or for those who are their great day-to-day companion is something that deserves a definition of more than nine words.
First of all, not all anxiety is harmful to our body and mind, there is a certain level of positive anxiety, that little restlessness that helps us in complicated situations to get wind. In other words, it helps us to be alert to possible dangers or relevant events. He functions as a kind of inner “guardian angel”.
Anxiety can also be negative
On the other hand, we find negative anxiety … How does it differ from the previous one? this type of anxiety causes exaggerated and irrational fear of an event (Like the fear of speaking in public, of getting in the elevator, etc.) which, apart from the obvious psychological reactions, is accompanied by physical reactions (sweating, palpitations, tremors, gastric discomfort …) in the face of waiting that something catastrophic will happen although it is very unlikely.
Various disorders are derived from negative anxiety, such as:
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Social phobia (or social anxiety disorder)
- specific phobias
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Techniques to reduce anxiety
Although each has a specific treatment, we can add a number of techniques that help improve anxiety states:
1. Physical exercise
Physical exercise it will help us to avoid overactivating the nervous system and get more restful sleep. If our physical condition does not allow us to exercise, we can opt for gentle rhythms at short intervals.
2. Sleep and eating habits
An unbalanced diet can adversely affect some gastrointestinal symptoms associated with certain anxiety states, a healthy and balanced diet will help us to control it. As for sleep, the benefits of sleeping well are obvious, if we see that anxiety doesn’t let us sleep (or worse, the thought that we can’t sleep, won’t let us sleep) we can choose to read something boring until the same dream come visit us.
3. Modeling (observation)
As we learned from Albert Bandura, we can use modeling by observing other people who don’t show anxiety about events than we do if they don’t show those dreaded sensations. Even talking to people who have been successful in overcoming their anxiety issues and discussing the techniques that have worked for them will give you hope that you can control it again.
4. Sense of humor
Our tendency in the face of situations that distress us is to react negatively and to take it too seriously. Sometimes an anxious person may not realize how ridiculous their reaction can be. It’s also important to see the fun and upbeat side of issues.. For example, when faced with a recurring thought, we may try to sing – or say to ourselves in another language.
5. Meditation and mindfulness
You’ve probably heard of mindfulness before, it’s a meditation technique that will help you get your full attention. In a relaxed environment, where you make sure that no one is disturbing you, focus on your breathing, body sensations, sound or object and practice mindfulness. If you would like to know different ways to practice mindfulness, you can read our article: “5 Mindfulness Exercises to Improve Your Emotional Well-being”.
6. Methods of distraction
If we use appropriate distractions we can interrupt, even temporarily, the thought that causes us anxiety: Stop thinking, reading, relaxing, walking, among other things.
7. Psychotropic drugs
Your anxiety can have a physical component. If your doctor confirms that your illness is not physical but mental, you can ask for an appointment with a psychiatrist and that anti-anxiety medications can help. Medication can be very helpful, but you also need to do your part. Don’t think about self-medication even if someone else told you it went well for you.
Relapse when suffering from anxiety
If you have had or are undergoing psychotherapy, don’t think of relapses as failure, but a little bit of what we can learn and know better to be able to prevent in the future.
Before concluding, a tip …
And remember, of course, that anxiety is like our inner guardian. Learn from her, learning to manage it can help us to be attentive to the right situations and to get out of our personal challenges. day by day. With these seven anxiety reduction techniques and strategies, you can be one step closer to taking your life in a new direction.