Beat Anxiety by Easing up on Yourself, Science Says

Fagjun | Published 2017-06-27 05:10

Anxiety can be hard to deal with, but these coping strategies might help.

Going easy on yourself is an effective way to beat anxiety and keep symptoms at bay.

Most, if not all, of us have had to deal with anxiety at some point in our lives. For the lucky ones, anxiety is nothing more than just an emotion that comes and goes. For others, however, anxiety can be crippling. Anxiety doesn't just go away. Anxiety becomes a roadblock in your journey through life, as cliché as that sounds.

Once anxiety starts to interfere with your daily life—work, school, relationships—it's no longer just an inconvenient emotion. You may now have an anxiety disorder. Without treatment, this can lead to depression, suicidal tendencies, and even early death. Unfortunately, anxiety medications generally don't work in the long term. Eventually, the symptoms come back.

Fortunately, we don't have to rely on medication alone. A study by researchers at the University of Cambridge has identified coping strategies that can help people manage and even beat anxiety.

Action and Self-Compassion

Is there something you need to do? Just jump right in.
[Photo by Teddy Kelley]

Dwelling and delaying are two good ways to induce anxiety in yourself. Oftentimes, we ruminate and agonize and over-analyze a situation in an effort to make sure that things don't go wrong. Just thinking about doing this is enough to cause a little spike in anxiety levels. Thus, why not just do the thing you have to do instead of thinking about how to do it right?

It's best to just jump in and not worry about doing things badly. Waiting for “the right time” to do things can only lead to delays, which can cause anxiety, and outright cancellation, which can also cause anxiety. You may even find that you'll be able to do things right, or at least not as badly as you feared. Allowing yourself to simply do can be quite liberating.

Of course, that's not the only way you can ease up on yourself. Another way is to be kind to yourself. This can be surprisingly difficult to do. We can sometimes be overly critical of ourselves. Introspection is good, and the ability to recognize our flaws is even better, but beating ourselves up isn't going to do any good.

Thus, be more forgiving of yourself. Once you feel the impulse to blame yourself when something goes wrong, push the thought aside and focus on what you have to do. Focus that energy outward, not inward.

Beat Anxiety by Living for Others

Including someone else in your life is good for your mental health.
[Photo by Evan Kirby]

You can also postpone worrying about something that may have gone wrong. For example, you can set aside 10 minutes at the end of your day to worry about anything. This way, your anxiety over the situation won't be as heightened.

Another way to live well is to live for others. Living every day without someone else crossing your mind at all isn't good for your mental health. Having a connection with another person and doing things for them instead of just yourself is a good way to stay mentally healthy. Knowing that someone else relies on you can help you beat anxiety and rise above it. This can give you a sense of purpose that will drive you to do more and worry less.

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