How do you deal with the anxiety that creeps up on you too often?
Your day unfolds smoothly. Out of nowhere a fretful thought accompanied by a worried feeling slips in. As thoughts gather momentum and anxious feelings accumulate, you begin to sweat, your heart pounds, and you are suddenly short of breath. Anxiety attack!!!
Anxiety attacks can be serious and feel life-threatening, but they are not. With proper strategies in place, anxiety can be defused. Left unchecked, however, these ongoing attacks can lead to panic disorder, severely interrupt normal activities, or worse.
Here is an effective four-step strategy defuse anxiety attacks.
Step 1: Understand what anxiety is.
Whereas panic is much like a sudden thunder storm with ominous flashes of lightening and shattering claps of thunder, anxiety is a gathering storm fueled by stress, worry, anger, resentment and unforgiveness.
Anxiety is programmed into our internal ‘hard drive’ to warn us of danger (something just doesn’t feel right) and to motivate us toward our best (that adrenalin rush when we’re about to do something big). If we are human, anxiety is part of our experience at some time. It’s part of being normal.
Although anxiety is part of normal human experience, there are indicators that point to excessive anxiety. Like warning lights on the dashboard of our car, these warn us of a fault that demands immediate attention or something serious follows.
Some warning indicators are:
Do you worry too much and constantly about everyday events or activities?
Are you anxious, worried or afraid for no obvious reason?
Do you check, re-check, check and re-check continually just to be ‘double sure’ you did everything right?
Are you so nervous you can’t function in certain situations–e.g. trying something new, socializing with friends?
Step 2: Understand what gives anxiety debilitating power.
Anxiety is triggered when we perceive or think our safety is threatened. The thoughts and emotions we attach to our initial perception determines anxiety’s power.
Step 3: Identify your anxiety.
Anxiety’s assault is three-sided: physical symptoms, thoughts, behaviors. As you learn to recognize the face of anxiety, you can then challenge your anxiety.
Step 4: Challenge your anxiety–put your situation in proper perspective.
Before you jump to conclusions (which will surely result in an anxiety attack), take another good look at your situation.
Acknowledge the initial symptoms of anxiety.
Ascertain the facts that can move you beyond the initial symptoms.
Redirect your internal conversation from negative confessions to positive affirmations.
List your options.
Take decisive action. Do something! Anything is better than giving up or giving in!
Challenging your anxiety is like bull riding in a rodeo–you only have to hang on for eight seconds. After that, you walk away a winner. Should you fall off before the bell, pick yourself up and get ready for your next ride. It’s not over until it’s over.