Anxiety: What is it and 5 ways to reduce it

Anxiety: What is it and 5 ways to reduce it

Feeling Anxious is unfortunately a lot more common than you may think. Statistics show 1 in 3 women in Australia will experience Anxiety at some point in their lives.
They also show that anxiety is often linked with a feeling of uncertainty (for the future) and a perceived lack of control. 

Anxiety can be defined as:

  • A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.
  • A strong desire or concern to do something or for something to happen.
Feeling anxious is a normal reaction and response when there is a level of uncertainty about something that is going to, or could, happen - whether that is in a few minutes, a few days or a few months.

It is worrying over a perceived ‘threat’ that is still in your future. Thinking about something terrible happening for example, or a conversation you are dreading and the possible outcomes. Anxiety can even come up for you if you are feeling a general sense of worry about something -  perhaps before a meeting at work, a job interview or a change that's coming up in your life - changing jobs, moving house or relationship and friendship changes.
In situations like these, there is forward thinking and worrying about something before it has happened. One of the most important things to try to remember is that it actually may never happen!

You might notice Anxiety coming up for you if you have one or more of the following symptoms: 

  • Racing mind/thoughts
  • Feeling overly worried about something
  • Feeling like you're overthinking
  • A racing heart
  • Quickened breathing
  • Feeling flushed 
  • A tight chest or throat
  • Feeling like you want to withdraw from a situation

So how can you feel less anxious? Here’s 5 ways…

Change the language around Anxiety

Instead of thinking and saying ‘I have Anxiety’ change the language and mindset to ‘I feel Anxious’ or ‘I am feeling Anxious today’. The reason this one small language change can be powerfully life changing is that instead of identifying with Anxiety being a part of you and who you are or something that you have, it is viewing Anxiety as a feeling (which is exactly what it is). 

Then, just like any other feeling that we have - it will come and go. It makes it feel easier to move through and not permanent. Now don’t get me wrong, Anxiety is still a big feeling and for most people, a very unpleasant feeling. It’s certainly not something you want to be feeling regularly or for long periods of time. But you have your whole spectrum of emotions to feel and they will all come and go, the key is learning how to move through them and what works best for you.

Focus on what you CAN control

The only thing you are really in control of is you! You have the ability to control your thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours. That also means other people’s thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours are outside of your control.
Ask yourself: ‘Is this thing that I’m worrying or feeling anxious about within me, or outside of me?’

Take back control

If you notice something is outside of your control, bring the responsibility back to you. 
This is important because day to day there are going to be literally hundreds of things happening around you that are outwards of you. 
So how do you take back control, even if it’s got to do with someone or something else? Ask yourself: ‘Ok, what do I want to do here? What is MY next step?’

Come back to the present moment

Anxiety is future focused (which means you’re thinking/worrying about something before it has happened). Bring yourself back to the present moment by using your senses and noticing 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.

Voice how you’re feeling. 

Whether out loud to a friend, family member, professional or someone else or even if it’s writing it out in a letter, text message or personal journaling. Verbalising how you’re feeling helps to put it into context for your brain which can feel less overwhelming and more organised. 

If you notice feeling Anxious is something that comes up for you, this podcast episode will help you to move through the stages of Anxiety:

Author: Ami Rankin, Mindset & Emotional Intelligence Coach


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