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How to Outgrow Your Anxiety

Jonathan Riley

“Thinking will not overcome fear but action will”. – W. Clement Stone

Have you tried just about everything to get over anxiety, but it just keeps coming back? Perhaps you thought you had got over it, only for the symptoms to return with a vengeance? Whatever your circumstances, here are 12 tips that can help you outgrow anxiety.

  1. Gratitude. By letting go of fear and focusing on gratitude, you can transform your anxiety into a source of strength. Replace your anxiety by changing your attitude towards it. For example, instead of worrying about losing your job, focus on how grateful you are to have one.
  2. Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community. According to research, even a few hours of volunteering can help to alleviate depression and anxiety, as well as shift our perspective.
  3. Connect with Someone You Trust. There are times when you just need to talk to a friend. There are times when you just need to hear a supportive voice or see a friendly face who understands your situation and is willing to listen.
  4. Learning about anxiety. Learning everything there is to know about anxiety is critical to recovery. This includes investigating the physiology of the ‘flight-or-fight ‘response, which is the body’s response to impending danger.
  5. Stop and pause a moment. When you notice anxiety arising from a thought, ask yourself: Is this thought true? “How would I cope if that actually happened?” Be honest about which thoughts are based on real evidence.
  6. Limit your exposure to information. It’s important to stay informed but being exposed to an endless stream of information can make people more anxious. Allowing yourself some media-free time, particularly on social media, can reduce anxiety and help you keep things in perspective.
  7. Focus on the things you can control. When you can’t let go of problems that are simply too big or complex for you to solve, anxiety can spiral out of control. Instead, try to concentrate on the things over which you have control. Stick to routines and maintain your regular support network as much as possible.
  8. Stop Rumination. Do you have a brain that won’t stop thinking about anxious thoughts? The concept of “clearing space” can help to calm the ruminative mind. Close your eyes and imagine an open container ready to hold your worries. Then name each worry and imagine putting it in the container. Put a lid on the container and put it away until you need it.
  9. Serenity Prayer. You may have heard of the serenity prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference”. The Serenity Prayer is about letting go of things you can’t control and focusing on what you can. If you are spiritual or religious, finding solace in daily prayer can help alleviate your anxiety.
  10. Use self-talk that is compassionate. Compassionate self-talk calms anxious parts of the brain, allowing us to use coping strategies or problem-solve peacefully. By massaging your hand and telling yourself everything is fine, you can help prevent your anxiety from worsening.
  11. Remind yourself that you are not alone. Acknowledge that it is okay to feel this way and know that this is a normal part of being human and that we all struggle with anxiety. You might simply say to yourself, “Many other people experience this, too”.
  12. If you’re feeling like you’re not coping, get professional advice. It’s ok to ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, seek professional support. Counselling is an excellent option that can be done online or remotely via phone or videoconferencing.

Finally, you can outgrow your anxiety and reclaim your life. Despite all of the trouble, all of the fears, all of the years of avoidance, anticipation, and shame, this is a problem that can be solved. Sometimes anxiety can feel so normal that people accept the symptoms as part of their everyday experience, but life doesn’t have to be that way. Seeking help for anxiety should be celebrated as a sign of a person’s commitment to their overall well-being.

My Practice provides affordable counselling and all profits are reinvested into the organisation to continue providing low-cost counselling and mental health services to our community. If you’re interested in scheduling a free 15-minute consultation with us, book online today.