Anxiety is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people across the world. In Australia, 13% or 3.2 million Australians had an anxiety-related condition according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Everyone experiences some level of anxiety, however certain situations and events can trigger panic attacks or excessive worry and fear. If you are someone experiencing anxiety, remember that you are not alone. In this article, let’s take a look at what causes anxiety and some helpful tips on how to deal with it.
Possible causes of anxiety
- Physical health conditions such as injuries, cancers, diabetes, COVID19, among others
- Mental health conditions such as panic disorders, general anxiety disorder, depression, and other mental health illnesses
- Stressful life changes or events like loss of a loved one, career shift, new environment, pregnancy, family and financial problems, trauma
- Substance abuse particularly alcohol, drug, and other substances
- Other factors such as genetics and environmental concerns
Tips on how to deal with anxious situations
1. Recognize that you’re anxious and control it.
The first step to dealing with anxiety is recognizing that you are feeling anxious. This will help you get a better handle on your emotions and start to get control over them.
It’s important to note that just because you feel anxious, it doesn’t mean that something bad is going to happen or that there’s anything wrong with how you’re acting.
Take a deep breath and reflect on what’s happening in your life right now so that you can identify things like triggers or patterns of behavior.
To control yourself from getting anxious:
- Take a moment before starting something new; make sure everything is set up correctly before beginning work commitments/meetings/other things where there may be pressure put on yourself.
- Use self-talk techniques such as “I am calm, I am doing okay” whenever possible so you can stop any negative thoughts about yourself during a high stress situation.
- Take three deep breaths and ground yourself.
2. Make a mental note of where/when you get anxious.
Whenever you’re feeling anxious, it can be helpful to take a moment and make some mental notes about the situation. This will help you identify what triggers your anxiety and how it manifests itself in different situations.
If you have time, try keeping a diary or journal where you note down all the details of each anxious situation that happens to you. It’s important that this includes all the details about what happened.
For example, if someone offended or upset you then write down exactly what they said so that later on when looking back at your mental notes, there isn’t any confusion over who did what!
Next, set aside time each day/week (or whenever suits) just to review these notes thoroughly so that they become more ingrained into your memory and thus easier for yourself to deal with in future similar situations.
3. Put yourself in a situation that makes you anxious on purpose.
Now that you’re more aware of the signs of your anxiety and have some tools to help in moments of stress, it’s time to find an activity that makes you anxious on purpose.
You may have already thought of some things that make you nervous—being around a lot of people, taking public transportation, or speaking in front of large crowds are all common examples. But if you really want to challenge yourself and face the thing that scares you most, there are other ways to do this as well.
To start putting yourself into situations where anxiety is likely, try:
- Walking into a store alone when everyone else is with friends and family
- Sending a message to a random friend you haven’t talk to in a while and ask them how they have been
- Give a compliment to a stranger
3. Remember that your body is just trying to protect you.
Anxiety is a natural response to threat. Your brain perceives a threat, and your body responds by either fighting or fleeing. This response is essential for survival: it keeps you safe from predators, harmful chemicals, and other threats.
Because of this, anxiety is actually a good thing! But when the response happens without an actual threat present (such as when you’re in a crowded grocery store), it can be really uncomfortable.
This kind of anxiety is an overall feeling of unease that comes and goes at random times throughout your day.
However, when you start to feel that things are starting to get out of hand, keep in mind that you can always seek help. You can reach out to a friend, a family member, a mental health professional, or to our Happiness Co Coaches at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Practice the 3-3-3 rule.
When you start to feel anxious, try doing the 3-3-3 rule which allows you to focus on the three senses – sight, sound, and touch.
- Look around your environment and pay attention to THREE THINGS that you see. Do not overthink it and just pick three. Identify their specific characteristics.
- After taking a good look at your surroundings, listen to THREE SOUNDS that you can hear. Focus on what you hear and do not let any negative thoughts interfere.
- Upon listening to the sound of nature, start feeling and moving THREE BODY PARTS. For example, you can hold your ears, touch your face, and shake your arms.
If you struggle with anxiety and depression, remember that you are not alone and we are here to help. You may contact here to work with one of our coaches.