Anxiety is a helpful emotional and biological response when someone is experiencing danger or presumes a threat to their survival. It is so physically charged because it facilitates the fight or flight response in the body, letting the brain know that it’s time to protect itself. The problem with anxiety today is that we don’t have to worry about survival as our ancestors did. The good news is you can learn skills to tame your anxiety. Here are three habits to effectively cope with anxiety.
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1. Recognize That Feelings Aren’t Facts
Even though we are hardwired to react with emotional intensity in response to threats, in today’s world, the threats we encounter often do not justify such intense emotional reactions. When we run into these issues, we can remind ourselves that feelings aren’t facts. If you notice that your heart starts racing, your palms clench up, or your temperature rises before a presentation, during an argument, or in the aftermath of embarrassment, just notice these sensations.
You can choose to respond to signals by recognizing that feelings aren’t facts. To reduce the physiological aspects, consider dispensaries in Illinois to find anxiety-fighting cannabis products. It takes practice to teach your mind something new, but sometimes countering our natural tendencies is worth the effort; learning how to manage anxiety certainly is.
Now, when we are threatened by work stress, relationship issues, and other acceptable forms of stress, we can stop anxiety from making us feel like our lives are at stake by responding to it more effectively.
2. Engage The Parasympathetic Nervous System
The parasympa-what? It sounds complicated, but it’s pretty simple. The parasympathetic nervous system is the opposite of the fight or flight response. It is a signal that goes off, letting you know that everything is good and that you can relax. If you ever get caught up in an anxious spiral, you can use simple skills to trick your body into a state of diminished emotional arousal.
Taking cold showers, holding a piece of ice, or eating something sour can all engage this response. You want to get your mind to focus on what you’re experiencing by exposing yourself to situations where your mind has no choice but to focus on what is currently happening. Cold sensations and sour taste make your brain concentrate on tolerating these intense sensations, causing you to forget your distress, which temporarily lessens your anxiety.
3. Use Healthy Distractions
You can also use distraction to cope with anxiety and reduce your emotional intensity. It is essential to understand that distraction can lessen the intensity, not eliminate it. If you feel anxious, you still need to acknowledge that this feeling is there. Acknowledge that anxiety is there, then move on with healthy distractions.
Avoidance is not a healthy coping mechanism. In attempting to un-feel or clear our minds, we resort to unhelpful behaviors that alter our perceptions and create a fragmented sense of self. You can find a middle path between responding and avoiding anxiety by noticing your emotions and engaging in distraction. Some ideas for healthy distraction might be solving puzzles, playing games, watching movies, or going on a walk around your neighborhood.
Nip Anxiety In The Bud
Coping with anxiety takes practice. Including new behaviors that trick your body into calming down and occupying your mind with other things are great tools for reducing distress. When you use these skills, you can more objectively attend to your emotions. Take your time with these skills, and don’t lose heart. You can truly improve your emotional reactivity and nip anxiety in the bud with practice.