How to Make Anxiety Stop Before It Starts
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were an “off” switch that could make anxiety stop? It is discouraging to feel that there is no way to prevent stress or panic from taking over. No matter how hard you try, it still gets to you.
Thinking about your anxiety is often overwhelming, but avoiding thinking about it only gives anxiety more power over you. Naturally, you feel stuck in a cycle of stress.
Anxiety layers upon itself and becomes increasingly convincing, powerful and overwhelming. Fear and/or frustration can increase at a rapid pace, especially at times when you judge yourself for allowing yourself to get worked up; for example, when you get anxiety about having anxiety!
How to Make Anxiety Stop Now
Notice your reaction.
Simply admit that you’re having some form of anxious response. Rather than jumping to make anxiety stop before you even allow yourself to feel it, notice it without doing anything about it. Tolerate it for just a few seconds longer before you run, attack or fear the anxiety.
You may want to keep complete control over the anxiety, but this approach causes tension in your body and fear in your mind, which allows anxiety to take hold of you.
Noticing and accepting your reactions will free you from one of anxiety’s main weapons against you: judgment. Judging your feelings prevents you from having control over them.
Judging your feelings prevents you from having control over them.
Accepting your emotion for a moment will make the current problem more manageable because you will maintain your perspective on the situation. You’ll be teaching your mind that not every moment of anxiety is a threat of danger.
Notice your body.
Take a breath. This common yet often misunderstood tip is not intended to make anxiety go away on its own; it prevents your body from being hijacked by a fear response that makes anxiety worse.
Anxiety is partially just a fear response that your body needs in order to sense danger. Anxiety warps your typical sense of danger or trouble, however, which is why it often feels like your mind is no longer in your control.
Take back control over your mind by taking back some control over your body first. If you can calm your body before trying to solve the problem, anxiety has lost one of its main weapons against you. Allow this step to take a few seconds so that you have time to calm down. It’s not a question of whether this will work, it’s just a question of when, so try to be patient and breathe.
Notice the facts.
Now your mind is ready to tackle the situation at hand rather than jump into fearful thoughts about things you cannot control (such as the future or the things that other people may be thinking).
Notice what is actually happening now. Identify any facts about what you can control in the present moment, even things as simple as how you’re sitting or standing or whether or not you want to speak. You will recognize useful information that will help you keep from feeling lost and overwhelmed when you trust that the information is there.
Take a small action.
It may feel tempting to avoid the situation altogether now that you feel more calm, but address it now in some way to prevent the anxiety from returning.
What is one thing that you can do now – not to resolve the whole situation, but just to keep from staying stuck? It can be anything from speaking your mind to simply taking a few more breaths; just make a choice without it needing to be the “right” choice.
How to Make Anxiety Stop Returning
There isn’t a way to prevent fear or stress from returning occasionally, but it is possible for anxiety to no longer take over your thoughts, choices, mental health or overall life experience.
Notice the thoughts and fears that are not serving you, and do the work necessary in order to change them.
Stop believing all of your thoughts if you want to make anxiety stop. Anxiety wants to trick you into believing everything that you fear is true.
Acknowledge a negative thought without necessarily subscribing to them willingly. You’ll start to have more energy and focus to combat the thoughts that are clearly not helpful.
Thoughts that focus on things like “can’t,” “should,” or on the things that we cannot control (such as another person’s actions) are a good place to start with cleaning out the junk.
Common worries, fears or negative thoughts that may not be serving you may strike a deeper chord and relate to your assumptions about your own capabilities and value. You may have fears surrounding whether or not you’re competent at your job, loved by your loved ones, or able to trust a friend.
Respond to these fears with gratitude, rather than judgment.
Now that you notice them, you have the opportunity to make choices to heal and have more control over your emotions.
As a therapist who specializes in anxiety, I can help you determine how to make anxiety stop controlling your life and support you with new ways to feel calm, confident and capable.
Contact me for a free phone consultation.
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How to Stop Anxiety Before It Starts
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