It’s impossible to think clearly when you’re flooded with fear or anxiety. The first thing to do is take time out so you can physically calm down.
If your heart beat starts to race, or your palms start to sweat, the best thing is not to fight it.
3. Face your fears
Avoiding fears only makes them scarier. Whatever your fear, if you face it, it should start to fade. For instance, if you panic one day getting into an elevator, it’s best to get back into an elevator the next day. This helps to desensitize you from your fear.
Try imagining the worst thing that can happen – perhaps it’s panicking and having a heart attack. Then try to think yourself into having a heart attack. It’s just not possible. The fear will run away the more you chase it.
It sometimes helps to challenge fearful thoughts. For example, if you’re scared of getting trapped in an elevator and suffocating, ask yourself if you have ever heard of this happening to someone. Ask yourself what you would say to a friend who had a similar fear.
Life is full of stresses, yet many of us feel that our lives must be perfect. Bad days and setbacks will always happen, and it’s important to remember that life is messy. Just do the best you can and accept that your best is “good enough!”
Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a place of safety and calm. It could be a picture of you walking on a beautiful beach, or snuggled up in bed with the cat next to you, or a happy memory from childhood. Let the positive feelings soothe you until you feel more relaxed.
Sharing fears takes away a lot of their scariness. Call a partner, friend or family member and share your fears with them. Sometimes just hearing yourself talk can help you process and release the fear.
Lots of people turn to alcohol or drugs in an effort to self-medicate their anxiety. This, however, only make matters worse. Simple, everyday things like a good night’s sleep, a wholesome meal, hanging out with a friend or loved one, and/or a walk are often the best cures for anxiety.
Finally, give yourself a treat. When you have taken that first step or have made that call you’ve been dreading, for example, reinforce your success by treating yourself to a massage, a country walk, a meal out, a book, a DVD, or whatever little gift makes you happy.