From common fears to unusual phobias, a wide variety of situations can make you feel anxious and uncomfortable. Millions of people deal with anxiety every day, and the issues you face may not be as uncommon as you think.
Dealing with anxiety can seem impossible, but once you break down the causes of your anxiety and start tackling them head-on using some basic strategies, you can break free from the chains of anxiety and start living a healthier, more relaxed life.
Are you ready to get started? Enroll in our Learn How to Manage Anxiety course to discover the basics of knocking out debilitating anxiety, and try the tactics included in this guide to help take control of your nervousness and feelings of anxiety.
Why do we feel anxiety?
Like many other feelings – from attraction to hunger – anxiety may have its roots in evolution. The nervous, shaking feeling we begin to get when we feel nervous might be the natural development of the “fight or flight” response that human ancestors would have felt when confronted by a lion, snake, or other wild predator.
It’s important to remember that anxiety is a natural reaction with a purpose. For our ancestors, the reaction was a rush of alertness and adrenaline designed to get them out of a dangerous situation quickly. For us, the situation may have changed, but the physical effects – hyper alertness and fear – remain the same.
Just like the fear of encountering a scary animal may have made our ancestors alert and anxious, the fear of failing a job interview or bungling a presentation – which is often a factor in determining our job security – can invoke the same “fight or flight” response in modern humans.
The health effects of anxiety
Anxiety can take an incredible toll on your health. When you feel anxious, you might struggle to fall asleep on a normal schedule. This can leave you tired, less motivated in your personal and professional life, and more exposed to common illnesses.
It can also take its toll on your outlook. If you constantly feel anxious, you might end up withdrawing from social events and spending less time with people you like for fear of an uncomfortable, anxiety-producing situation occurring.
Anxiety is like an invisible setting in your mind that’s switched to “worry” and can’t be turned off consciously. While it might seem impossible to fight your anxiety head on, by using the right strategies and tactics you can conquer your anxiety and move your life back on the right track.
One of the best ways to reverse the health effects of anxiety is with meditation. Our course, Meditation for Stress, shows you how to reduce your stress and cure anxiety using simple meditation exercises you can perform in the morning or evening.
Identifying the cause of your anxiety
Not everyone feels anxiety for the same reason. You might feel anxious because of your professional life. You might feel it because of your personal life. You might be anxious because of a situation that’s completely out of your control.
The key to dealing with anxiety is identifying its root cause and taking direct action against it. What is the cause of your anxiety? What are you doing in your life that is preventing you from feeling more relaxed, focused, and capable of feeling good.
- Do you spend too much time at work and not enough doing things you love?
- Are you in a relationship, personal or professional, that makes you anxious?
- Do you go to bed too late, wake up too early, and not get enough sleep?
- Are you frustrated about politics or another large-scale problem?
Most of the time, anxiety is caused by something you either do or believe. Does your work schedule prevent you from spending time with your family or doing things you love? Do your beliefs expand or restrict your options for enjoying life?
To solve a problem, you need to identify it first. Perform a thorough, honest analysis of your lifestyle, your beliefs, and your values, and try to identify what it is that’s the root cause of your anxiety.
Struggling to think of the root cause of your anxiety? Sit down, drink a cool glass of water, and relax. Using the breathing techniques in Breathing Made Easy, you’ll be able to calm yourself completely and carry out a thorough self analysis.
Taking action to deal with anxiety
The first step to fighting your anxiety is to reduce your emotional connection to the parts of your life you can’t control. These include factors like the weather, the traffic, the outcomes of an election, and the economy as a whole.
You can’t change the weather. You can’t fix the traffic. You can’t choose who wins an election (at least not by yourself), and you can’t suddenly revive an economy that is no longer there.
Stop worrying about factors you can’t control, and start refocusing your life to focus on the factors you can control. This one change in mindset will reduce your anxiety substantially, especially if you feel anxious about politics, business, or other factors.
A huge aspect of taking action is gaining the willpower to break free from routine and live your life on your own terms. Enroll in The Willpower Solution to learn the secrets to mastering self-control and regaining full control over your lifestyle.
Solving the problems you control
At the heart of most anxiety is a problem you have full control over. You might feel anxious and unhappy because you spend too much time at work. The solution: take time away from work and focus on relaxing and achieving your personal goals.
You might feel anxious and unhappy because you’re too target-obsessed. Again, the solution is simple: don’t abandon your goals, but spend at least a day every week on something less competitive, less stressful, and less work-oriented.
You might feel anxious about your weight. The solution is simple: spend one day per week eating healthy foods and exercising, and gradually expand your schedule until you achieve an appearance that makes you happier with yourself.
Don’t know what’s making you anxious? Many people feel anxious and stressed as a byproduct of a busy, work-focused life. One of the best ways to reduce stress is with exercise and yoga.
Enroll in our course, Yoga for Stress, to discover how you can reduce your stress and improve your health using simple yoga routines. Even a few minutes per day breaks up the work-oriented routine of weekly life and helps fight anxiety.
Dealing with anxiety, one step at a time
For many people, more than one element contributes to anxiety. You may have more than one habit that’s affecting your health, from smoking to binge eating to a lack of exercise. You may be a workaholic, a poor sleeper, and a serial worrier.
The best way to defeat your anxiety is to focus on one root cause at a time and solve your problems sequentially. Tackle one problem at a time, then move on and master the next as you solve the puzzle of anxiety one piece at a time.
With the right mindset, the right strategy, and the right amount of action, even the most crippling anxiety can be conquered. Stay focused and develop a plan to help you deal with your anxiety, one step at a time.
Like this post? Check out our blog post on How to Meditate Deeply to Improve Your Health and Reduce Stress for more helpful tips on reducing stress and conquering anxiety.