Look, everyone can have worrisome thoughts about the future. There’s nothing wrong with feeling a bit uncertain from time to time. Maybe you can’t sleep well before an important presentation, or an upcoming conversation makes your palms sweaty. These occurrences are a normal part of life, and fun activities like playing an online Book of Ra game or riding a bicycle are enough to ease the tension. However, sometimes the anxiety around future events can grow into a full-blown panic attack. It’s an unpleasant condition accompanied by an acute sense of losing control. And here’s the thing: no one should ever experience it. With some simple tips on how to keep yourself away from anxiety, everyone can take control over their minds and stop fear on its tracks. Let’s take a closer look.
Avoid Anxiety by Not Resisting It
If you’re trying to figure out how to avoid anxiety, the feeling of dread taking over, the last thing that comes to most people’s minds is letting fear run its course. The usual reaction to stressful thoughts is trying to fight them. But here’s the irony: resisting anxiety will only make it stronger until it explodes into a panic attack. If you’d let the dread wash over you, it wouldn’t have any fuel to keep on going and would soon start to lose its power.
So the next time you feel like losing control, try to tell yourself: I’m a bit worried by this (X) thing in the future. And my nervous system is starting to react. The crucial thing is not to criticize yourself for feeling anxious. Say in your mind, or out loud, that this is a healthy way your body reacts to stressful circumstances.
And remember: just because you’ve got anxiety coming over doesn’t mean you couldn’t perform your tasks anymore. You can successfully finish whatever you were doing when the fear started. Carry on with your presentation, drive a car, or cook a meal: it’s all doable. In fact, staying in action is a great way to avoid anxiety at work. It can make you forget about the worries and ease the stress.
Mindfulness is a simple concept and means being aware of your surroundings. And why is it effective against anxiety? Because our fears are mostly pretty irrational and not grounded in reality. If you manage to focus on what’s around you during a panic attack, you’ll probably realize that you’re not in any imminent danger. You’ll see that you’re in a safe place and nothing terrible is going to happen to you at this very moment. This realization can have a powerful calming effect.
But mindfulness can also mean acknowledging what’s happening with you mentally. If you can get to the root of what triggers your fears, you can work with your issues more efficiently. Let’s use a person called Logan as an example. He has aggressive impulses that he knows are unacceptable. So every time Logan feels those impulses starting, he gets nervous for not knowing whether he can control them. And to avoid experiencing anxiety, Logan is attributing his violent thoughts to someone else. In other words, he is using a psychological mechanism, called projection, to avoid dealing with his fears. Once Logan realizes that mental process, he can start working on his impulse control to reduce anxiety in life.
Exercising Prevents Stress
How to avoid anxiety in the morning? Go for a jog. Regular exercise is a great way to release stress and keep fearful thoughts from emerging. It relaxes your mind because while the body goes through physical stress, the brain has no other choice but to slow down.
Here are some other reasons why doing sports is among the top methods on how to avoid anxiety or depression:
- Exercising lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) and makes your body release endorphins (the feel-good hormones).
- Getting fit makes you more confident, which benefits your mental wellbeing and keeps your thoughts positive.
- An arduous training session improves your sleep quality. You’ll get more rest and won’t get anxious that easily.
Take a Break
Sometimes you need to make a conscious decision to take a mental break from the cycle of anxious thoughts. Just close your eyes, and daydream a little. Picture yourself in a place where you feel 100% safe and at peace.
But what if your mind returns to worrying during this little meditation? Can anxiety relapse? Yes, it can happen. But like mentioned before, don’t try to fight the worrisome thoughts. Make notice that the worries are building up again, and tell them to wait for a few minutes until you daydream. Do it calmly and confidently, and it will work.
Another way to take a break to manage an oncoming panic attack is to engage in fun activities. For example, people often report being separated from anxious feelings when playing online casino games. It works because as you’re playing, your anxiety dissolves into the excitement from gambling.
Don’t Forget Your Friends and Family
The best way to avoid social anxiety is to stay in touch with other people. The support you get from your friends and family is often enough to make you more outgoing. Also, belonging to a network of friends raises one’s sense of self-worth. And people with high self-esteem are more prone to solving problems instead of getting overwhelmed by them.
While you’re with your friends and family, remember to use every opportunity to laugh. Having a good chuckle is one of the best anxiety relievers as it relaxes your muscles and cancels your mind’s stress responses. There’s lots of humor in everyday life: you only need to find it.
If you want to avoid anxiety, tips like the ones in this article will help you out. These techniques and methods help you calm your mind and see things more objectively. And the reality in most cases is that there’s nothing to be worried about. Life is full of ups and downs, but overall you’re in a safe place, moving towards a fulfilling future. What could be better?
What are your best tips on how to avoid an anxiety attack? Let us know in the comments.
Jeremy is a psychology major and a keen observer of human behavior who runs a blog on mental health issues. He believes almost everyone has experienced more anxiety than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic and aims to raise awareness on helpful tactics to keep oneself sane during tough times.