'Anxiety is your friend, guiding you towards your goals; health, happiness and survival,’ says author and coach Sam Owen. It is both a mental health and physical health feedback loop, she explains, and it exists because your brain is trying to alert you to a threat to your mental or physical wellbeing. Anxiety is just your brain’s way of trying to keep you alive and well. Your job is to use this alerting system to your advantage. Try the following:
1. Identify the cause of your anxiety
Is it real or imagined? Is it self-generated anxiety from your thoughts? Or is your behaviour causing a problem? Are you behaving in line with your true inner self? Or are you processing too much information? Is the cause externally generated, for example, negative relationships or an issue at work?
2. Soothe anxiety in the moment
Create self-serving positive thoughts that soothe anxiety in the moment; build positive relationships, prune away negative ones; indulge in proper self-care, create fun strategies that soothe your anxiety in the moment. Ask goal-focused, solution-focused, empowering questions, for example, what would make me feel more optimistic about my career, or indeed the next four weeks?
3. Anxiety-easing changes
Owen suggests having a social media detox and learning how to breathe calmly (inhale calm into your heart for three, hold for three, exhale for three, breathing out tension). Create some specific written goals, such as spending only one hour a day on social media, learning new things and building in self-care every day.
‘Anxiety Free: 4 Weeks To Inner Peace’ by Sam Owen (Orion, £14.99) is out now
FREE! Download our free 40 page Beat Anxiety Lockdown Guide for strategies and techniques from the best experts on how to feel calm in these turbulent times.
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