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Five Sure-fire Ways to Feel Less Anxious

By Linda Sapadin, Ph.D

“Oh My God!”
“What happened???”
“What if….???”

These are the mantras of anxious people. However, instead of calming them down as mantras are meant to do, they rev them up. If you’re an anxious person, you know what I mean.

No matter what’s on the horizon, it’s packaged in danger and darkness. Even the good stuff. Something could always go wrong. Or, maybe you made the wrong decision. Or, maybe you made the right decision but you should have made it sooner. Or, maybe somebody won’t do what they’re supposed to do. It’s so easy to get stuck in a loop of non-stop worrying which leaves you exhausted and wiped out at the end of the day.

“Chill out!” is the advice often thrown at you. “You worry too much; let it be!” This advice, as you might imagine, is less than helpful. It either increases your worrying, for now you worry about how much you worry. Or, it gets you angry for being criticized. If only the other person understood your fears or took care of things for you, maybe then, you’d feel less anxious.

So, is there anything you can do to alleviate your own anxiety? Absolutely. Here are five sure-fire ways to feel less anxious:

Stay in the present moment.
Do you need to do something about a situation right now? If the answer is yes, then go and take care of it. If there’s nothing to take care of right now, then get your mind on other things. If you’re having trouble doing that, ask yourself, what is my anxiety costing me today? What fun am I missing out on today because I can’t let go of my worries?

Make Time for Fun Activities.
Yes, fun is on the bottom of the list for most anxious people. With all the worrying, there’s never enough time to enjoy yourself. So, start now. Make a list of 5 activities you enjoy doing; then make sure you do at least 3 of them every week.

Check your Assumptions.
Anxiety sounds an alarm that on occasion is true, but is most often false. So, check your assumptions. If the alarm is true, (i.e. yes, this problem needs to be taken care of ASAP), take action. If it’s false, however, or it’s not a problem right now, shrug it off and go back to your previous work -- or fun.

Create closure.
Anxiety doesn’t know when to stop. It goes on and on, like a book with no chapters, paragraphs or sentences. It’s bewildering and baffling, not to mention exhausting. So, say what you need to say, do what you need to do, think what you need to think, then stop! Create closure by making an ending sentence, such as, “That’s all for now.” Then, return to living, not worrying.

Listen to Music.
Is it hard to implement these ideas? Yes, it’s hard, but quite possible. Want to make it even easier? Listen to music you love. Music taps into a different part of your brain which automatically wipes away the anxiety, at least for the moment. Let lyrics, with the right beat, become your new mantra. My recommendation: Bob Marley’s, “Don’t worry about a thing, 'cause every little thing's gonna be all right.”

Looking for more ideas on how to alleviate your anxiety?

Check out my book, Master Your Fears: How to Triumph Over Your Worries and Get On With Your Life, at Amazon.

"If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace, you are living in the present."
~ Lao Tzu
Copyright © 2015: Linda Sapadin, Ph.D
Linda Sapadin is a psychologist and personal coach in private practice who specializes in helping people enrich their lives, enhance their relationships and overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior. For more information about her work, contact her by email or visit her website at PsychWisdom.
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