How to stop being afraid of everything?

Calm down: 9 ways to fight anxiety

Inner Calm. 101 ways to cope with anxiety, fear and panic attacks

Tanya Peterson
Mann, Ivanov & Ferber Publishing, 2020

How to identify anxiety

It should be said right away that anxiety is a perfectly normal condition that serves the very important function of alerting us to possible danger . And that would be all right, but modern man is not often threatened by something in the literal sense, but the triggers only seem to appear more and more. So anxiety becomes more of a problem than a survival aid. It leads to emotional burnout, chronic stress and constant fatigue that make us unable to function fully.

There are several symptoms by which you can tell how anxious you are lately:

I can’t stop thinking about things that have already happened.

I worry about what will happen in the future, I’m equally anxious about tomorrow and what will happen in a few years.

I feel tired, but I am constantly on edge.

I often “shut down” and can’t go on working.

I am plagued by intrusive thoughts.

I have few obvious reasons to be very anxious.

I try to avoid people and certain places.

I feel like I’m at a dead end.

I try to get rid of the anxiety, but it doesn’t go away.

My relationships with people, my job and me are suffering.

If you are experiencing at least a few of these symptoms for a long time, it may be time to slow down a bit and pay more attention to yourself, your mental health and lifestyle changes that can reduce your stress levels.

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Getting rid of intrusive thoughts

It seems to us that the more we think about a problem, the better our chances of finding a solution or preparing ourselves for possible unpleasant consequences. In fact, we don’t help ourselves much when we think about what’s really bothering us. The level of anxiety increases, and even if you have a solution to the problem, it does not mean that you will stop worrying in an instant. What to do in such a situation?

Exercise “I have a thought”.

When we think about the object of our anxiety, it is as if we stop being in the present tense and are transported into the past or the future. The exercise helps you get back to reality and remind yourself that your worries are just thoughts, albeit largely valid ones (but not always).

Think about what’s bothering you and say, “I have a thought that tomorrow’s conversation with management won’t go well. And it’s just a thought.” . Even better, say it out loud, and you’ll feel better about getting back on track and not dwelling on things that haven’t happened yet or have already happened.

The question of “What if?”

We often have thoughts that can be summed up in one question: “What if?” What if we’re not right for each other? What if the manager calls to meet for the sake of reducing my salary? These thoughts appear completely randomly, they cannot be controlled, because they are directly related to our worries and fears. However, you can develop the habit of always finding an alternative.

Think of each of your anxious thought a new, positive response. For example, assume that a meeting with the boss will lead to a promotion, and a possible tense conversation with his partner will end in agreement. Would not hurt to treat this with a little humor and imagine a completely absurd outcome: for example, that the head leaves everything and moves to the North Pole, and you leave in charge, without explanation. Approaching your anxiety with humor will change the vector of your thoughts and make you feel a little better.

Concentrating on your breathing.

It’s no secret that all systems in our body are connected to each other. If we are angry, our pulse rate increases, if we are calm, it slows down. Intrusive thoughts can give you a headache, and prolonged inactivity will lead to muscle discomfort, which will cause your body to give every signal to move.

Meanwhile, a conscious focus on breathing will have the opposite effect: if intrusive thoughts lead to rapid breathing, then calmness will relieve unnecessary stress. Your task is to breathe in and out slowly, concentrating on the process. Think of your chest filling up with air and releasing it. Repeat several times until your breathing returns to normal.

Storytel is an international subscription audiobook service. Storytel’s library has audiobooks in almost every genre, from classics to lectures, standups and podcasts. It’s a service that solves the problem of reading. It allows you to listen to audiobooks anytime, anywhere: while working out, cooking, commuting, on the plane, before going to bed, and anywhere else. Storytel creates and records its own unique content – lecture projects, podcasts, audio series, and collaborates with the best voices in the country.

Fighting anxiety at work

As much as we love our jobs, they often involve some level of stress, which is fine until anxiety begins to affect results, concentration and relationships with co-workers. The most common cause of anxiety at work is the presence of someone “above us” whose opinion determines your performance, sense of worth, motivation, and more. However, there are methods to help shift your focus and gain confidence.

Good Morning Ritual

Many would agree that the rest of the day almost depends on our morning rise. Often, in fact, the reluctance to wake up and get out of bed – it’s not laziness, but the alarm, because you may think that something will happen at work that will only confirm all the worst fears. By getting up with these thoughts in the morning, you reinforce a certain behavior that is not at all in the mood for productivity . What can you do?

The night before, clean your room so you don’t wake up in a stress-inducing mess.

Put a glass of water next to your bed. When the alarm rings, take a deep breath, stretch, sit up and drink all the water. Wait a while and listen to your body. This helps reduce anxiety.

Move out of the bedroom into a specially arranged space. Sit quietly, consciously observing the environment, sounds and smells in the room. Evaluate how you feel sitting in the chair. Do a short meditation, concentrating on .

Enjoy a cup of tea or decaffeinated coffee (caffeine tends to increase anxiety).

When you feel ready, slowly stand up and continue to prepare for the day ahead.

Non-judgmental Mantra.

Judging yourself and others leads to mental limitations, takes away strength and resources, and increases anxiety levels. While the foundation of any work on yourself is the acceptance of shortcomings and weaknesses, both your own and those of others.

To stop the flow of anxious thoughts in time, recite the mantra of non-judgment. Like affirmations, the mantra is a statement that reminds you of what’s important. Say to yourself, “Today I don’t judge anyone or anything,” or “My mind is open and my thoughts are neutral. Come up with a mantra to help you, and repeat it to yourself as often as possible so you don’t get hung up on judgment.

Toxic Perfectionist.

There is a small part of almost all of us that prevents us from enjoying life because “everything is not perfect.” Experiencing anxiety from the feeling of imperfection, you do not allow yourself to feel harmony and satisfaction from what has been done, which only increases the desire for perfection. And with it the level of anxiety. This is an unpleasant vicious circle, which can be broken, accepting its imperfection. You are already good enough, and the following exercise will help you see this:

Describe a situation where perfectionism only got in your way.

If you had made a mistake, what then? Think and write down as many possible consequences, both positive and negative.

Study this list. If each of the consequences happened, how would you survive the failure?

If you ponder the cause of the anxiety rather than the anxiety itself, you’ll learn to look at it from a new perspective, and to notice that despite being imperfect, you’ve actually already done a lot to make things go well and with a minimum of mistakes.

Storytel is an international subscription audiobook service. Storytel’s library has audiobooks in almost every genre, from classics to lectures, standups and podcasts. It’s a service that solves the problem of reading. It allows you to listen to audiobooks anytime, anywhere: while working out, cooking, commuting, on the plane, before going to bed, and anywhere else. Storytel creates and records its own unique content – lecture projects, podcasts, audio series, and collaborates with the best voices in the country.

Strengthening relationships with people

Relationships are very important to us: we worry about what people close to us think of us, we play different roles when we communicate with colleagues or friends, because that’s more likely to win favor. Whether we like it or not, we need to communicate with people at least sometimes, which can be a cause of anxiety for many of us. While there are plenty of opportunities around us to enjoy communication rather than diligently avoid it. There are some simple exercises that can help, if not get rid of anxiety, then at least reduce it to an acceptable level.

A list of positives

Worry makes us think about the most negative consequences of communication and completely forget what good things happened between you and, let’s say, your partner. To remember the good things, make a list for yourself of all the different moments when you were happy.

If you’re having trouble with this, then perhaps your anxiety level is preventing you from truly enjoying your time with this or that person. A list, but now of positive moments to create with your own hands, can also help here. For example:

Treat a close friend to coffee and spend time with him or her.

Create a collaborative playlist with friends or family.

Find someone to go to shows with, to the gym, or for a daily morning run.

After that, start implementing situations where you think you’ll be happy. And try to live in the moment instead of worrying that something is bound to go wrong.

Taking care of yourself and others

We all worry, just some more and some less. Nevertheless, there are plenty of reasons for anxiety, insecurity and the feeling that we will eventually be abandoned. Just a reminder of this comes back to reality and confirms the fact that you are not alone in your anxiety.

What to do in such a case? Mantras that are directed at you and others can help. Formulate for yourself life-affirming phrases that will remind you in moments of anxiety that your experiences are normal and familiar to everyone. For example:

I will allow myself to accept myself as I am. / Let others accept themselves for who they are.

I will allow myself to accept my mistakes calmly. / Let others accept their mistakes calmly.

/ Let myself rejoice in what I do well. / Let others rejoice in their accomplishments.

The list can be anything you want, as long as it reflects your anxieties.

Why do you need a relationship?

Often anxiety arises because our expectations and needs are not being met. We can compromise and give in to the other person all we want, but in the end our dissatisfaction will be stronger than anything else. So once you catch yourself thinking that anxiety has unwittingly become your new partner, think about how your needs are being met. Here’s a list of the basic things we usually want from the other person:

love, a sense of need;

Flexibility, the ability to negotiate;

Ask your friend, acquaintance, or partner to make the same list, and then discuss the resulting answers. Understanding what you and the other person need will provide more knowledge and opportunities for communication that everyone will enjoy.

8 proven ways to overcome fear

Anyone can conquer their fears. Pink has chosen the most effective tricks to help you reprogram your brain and become braver.

Fear is a normal physiological reaction, necessary for survival. But it is not always justified and reasonable. You can get rid of bad thoughts and chase away feelings of anxiety with simple actions.

Feel your fear

Fear won’t go away just because you ignore it. Accepting the fear is the first step toward overcoming it. It will help to replace anxious thoughts with more rational ones. Don’t try to distract yourself. You can talk about your fear out loud or write it down on paper. The key is to focus on what’s scaring you. When you try to ignore the fear, it increases. Conversely, if you acknowledge it, the fear becomes less. Psychologists at the University of California have proven that discussing negative emotions helps conquer fear. They offered people who are afraid of spiders to touch a live tarantula. The more emotional the participant’s story was after the experiment, the sooner they got rid of their fear.

Explore the object of fear

Fear of the unknown is one of the most powerful. Try to learn as much as you can about what scares you. For example, if you have a fear of flying, compare accident statistics for different types of transportation, learn the basics of how an airplane works, and look up the meaning of certain sounds. Try watching in real time how many planes take off and land every minute in different parts of the world. It’s also helpful to read the stories of people who have been able to overcome the same fear you have. Drawing on this knowledge, make a list of arguments that confirm the groundlessness of your worries. The next time you want to calm down, you can turn to your “stock of counterattacks” and use facts, not assumptions.

Give up bad thoughts.

When we are afraid of something, our imagination draws the most unpleasant versions of events. Try to shift your focus and replace bad thoughts with positive ones. If you’re walking past a large, growling dog, don’t imagine it getting off its leash and lunging at you. Instead, focus on the fact that the animal is tightly bound and will not be able to get to you. At the same time try to act as naturally as possible. It is possible to imagine a situation which causes you pleasant memories. With such a technique, you will send your subconscious mind a powerful signal that its “excessive” emotional reaction is unnecessary, because nothing unusual is happening to you.

To quickly overcome fear and relieve anxiety, start breathing slowly and deeply. This will increase the flow of oxygen to your brain. As you inhale, mentally count to seven, and as you exhale count to eleven. It is possible to use other figures, the main thing is to accent on an exhalation. It must be longer than the inhalation. When breathing in, the nervous system is activated, and when breathing out, calmness and relaxation occur. By controlling one’s breathing, one controls the symptoms of anxiety. Calming breathing also works if you only think about an upcoming event that causes fear. In addition, meditation, yoga, healthy sleep, a balanced diet, and walks in the fresh air are good ways to combat anxiety.

Fears can be based on childhood trauma, painful past experiences, or a rich imagination. Try to understand where your fear came from, what situations trigger an attack, and what its symptoms are. It may be difficulty breathing, increased sweating, redness of the face, trembling. Try to rate your fear on a ten-point scale. Good help in coping with fear are questions directed to yourself. How realistic is the threat that scares you? What should you do to avoid undesirable developments? How bad can you feel if the most unpleasant fears come true? The more you know about your fear, the easier it will be to control and overcome it.

Think of a plan of action.

Visualize your fear on paper. If you are worried about it raining outside on your wedding day, write out the specific consequences that scare you. Unexpectedly, you may find that fear itself as an emotion is actually worse than anything you fear. Most fears are irrational and irrational. They keep us in one place and make us give up interesting opportunities. Think ahead of time about your plan of action in case the fear comes true. Write out the specific steps you will take to adapt. This way, gradually the fear will become less, and you will feel calmer and more confident.

Overcoming fear is helped by gradual and repeated interaction with the object you are afraid of. Fear of flying starts with regular trips to the airport. Then one moves on to studies on special simulators. The final stage is short flights. If fear is associated with a particular type of activity, the best way to get rid of it is to practice. Those who are afraid of phone calls need to start calling more often. Try to make an appointment for a manicure and make restaurant reservations over the phone instead of through the site. If you’re worried about fear of public speaking, practice your speech in front of loved ones or in front of a mirror. Soon you’ll notice how the barriers that once held you back will begin to disappear.

Find a support group

Surround yourself with people who can help you overcome your fears. Swedish researchers at Karolinska Institutet have proven that watching your fear not cause other people to panic is very helpful. If you watch someone do what you fear over and over again, the fear may recede. The brain updates its knowledge of danger based on how we feel. For those who are afraid of heights, it is helpful to talk to a skydiver or bungee jumper. They can talk about the positive emotions they experience while in the air. Sometimes friends can provide the necessary support, even if they have no experience in dealing with the fear that is bothering you. For example, children often do something scary just because they do it with friends who “nudge” them.

Talk to a specialist

The ways described above are effective for fighting only a mild form of fear. In case of phobia, the fear is strongly pronounced, uncontrollable and does not give way to a full logical explanation. It leads to disadaptation and can be accompanied by nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath and fainting. If you cannot get rid of obsessive compulsions, work through the problem with a qualified specialist. Depending on your particular case, we recommend seeing a psychologist, psychotherapist or psychiatrist.

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