What to do when you’re anxious, scared, when you’re under a lot of stress and can barely cope with your emotions? Here’s what experienced psychologists advise.
Carve out Time for Anxiety
Anxiety is an emotion that seems to paralyze us. When stress levels are high, you may feel as if there is no energy to cope even with the most mundane and routine tasks. So anxious that it’s impossible to attend to work tasks. Or clean up. Or cook dinner.
In this situation, the practice of “Time for Suffering” can help. You do it this way.
You take 20 minutes, set the alarm, open a text file on your computer or tablet, and write about what worries you. Tell in detail what you feel, what negative scenarios you’re running through your head. When the alarm rings, you finish the practice and go to do other things. It can be something for rest, like reading or betting at 22Bet Tanzania, or something for improvement, like a workout.
Talking out on paper proves helpful because neither anxiety, nor any other emotion, can be at its peak all the time. As a result of the practice, it decreases, and we can switch to other things to do.
The timer allows us to avoid getting stuck in and out of this practice. To make it work, it’s advisable to still schedule some activity to which you will switch immediately after the Time of Suffering.
This practice can be done regularly. Then you will see how the level of anxiety gradually decreases.
It’s helpful when you are not trying to silence anxiety, but to give yourself time to be in that emotion, to live it.
Anxiety can also arise because we endlessly run negative thoughts through our heads. A practice called “Grounding” helps you get back into the here and now.
To do this, you focus on how you feel:
- What does my body feel? It could be the feeling of a sweater on your skin, the feeling of wind on your face. Feel what position your body is in, how comfortable you are sitting/standing.
- What am I feeling?
- What I hear around me.
This practice helps you get into reality in 5-10 seconds.
Limit the Time You Spend on the News Channels
In a situation of uncertainty, the brain triggers anxiety because that feeling helps mobilize all the body’s resources, to be ready to react, to act.
Scrolling through the news feed in this situation is an attempt to find information that calms you down, an attempt to control the situation. Often, the mechanism works in semi-automatic mode, and when feeling anxious, we mechanically open news sites or resources, almost without thinking about why we are doing it.
The difficulty is that scrolling through the news feed doesn’t give us back a sense of control. Reading one more piece of news won’t change the situation I’m in right now.
That’s why you should:
- Turn off notifications in the news feeds you subscribe to. And to which you get distracted every time new information is posted
- Agree with yourself that you read the news twice a day – for example, in the morning and sometime in the afternoon. It is important that this is not the time before bedtime, when after reading the news you will find it more difficult to calm down and fall asleep.
- If your anxiety level is high, you can unsubscribe from messenger news channels and read the news, for example, only on news sites. That way you’ll make it harder for yourself to get information, and you’ll have a better chance of stopping when your hand reaches to open the site and dive back into reading the news.
Perform Breathing Practices
The practice of breathing “square” will do. You turn on the metronome and breathe like this:
- 4 bars on the inhale.
- 4 beats to hold your breath.
- 4 bars on the exhalation.
- 4 bars to hold your breath.
If it’s difficult, for example, to hold your breath for 4 breaths, you can inhale, exhale, and hold your breath for 3 breaths. It’s important that you breathe in a measured way.
This helps because when we are anxious, we often breathe either too often or forget to take a breath.
On average, you can do this practice for 10-15 minutes, but even if you only devote a couple of minutes to it, it’s better than nothing.
Modern meditation involves mindfulness practices. That is, we observe the breath, the sensations in the body, and through this practice we do not fall into anxiety, and we can become aware of what is happening to us.
You can use meditation apps that not only have music, but also a voice that tells you to, say, sit back or watch your breathing. For example, it’s Meditopia or Insight Timer.
Switch to an Engaging Activity
Anxiety can be reduced by switching to work or study. But only if you engage in that activity, immerse yourself in it, rather than, for example, performing tasks automatically.
And be prepared to take 10-15 minutes to immerse yourself in work or study and not be distracted. It takes discipline.