Learn to reduce your anxiety with 6 simple steps

Rafael San Roman Rodríguez

March 23, 2017

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We have become familiar with the term “anxiety”. As well as being used to label love songs, it has become one of the great evils of our time.

As it is the case with stress, a little anxiety doesn’t hurt: if we did not activate enough, if we did not worry about anything, we would not be able to get out of bed, everything would move too slowly and we would not be able to add up two plus two. Our body needs a certain dose of pressure to function and has the mechanisms necessary to activate, perform the corresponding tasks and, once these are finished, deactivate enough to continue with whatever needs to be done.

However, sometimes the nuts and bolts of these mechanisms get out of sync (they can loosen, they can be too tight, some even get lost to anyone.) Then our pattern of activation-deactivation stops being useful and starts creating problems.

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This is what happens when normal or manageable anxiety becomes excessive; we enter a state of restlessness, worry, and physiological activation that has no use, which wears us down and which, if it gets out of control, can become a serious health problem.

If you feel that your anxiety level is too high, you are probably feeling it in your body, your emotions, and your mind. It does not manifest itself in the same way in all people. Some people develop digestive or skin problems or sleep badly, their mind whirring without being able to disconnect. On the other hand, you are likely to notice that you are either worried about something (or everything) or that you are trying to control too many things without success. There is a good reason for that: anxiety is a very close relative of fear.

Everyone is as they are and there is nothing inappropriate about that. Besides, it does not make sense that, if you are someone that is very restless, active, and with a tendency to worry about everything, you try to change overnight into a champion of stillness and relaxation. It is important that you find a way to feel better, because excessive anxiety that continues over time is detrimental to your health. Remember that we are not here to worry about everything or to suffer, but to take care of life without seeing everything as a threat.

  • First of all, stop. If you can stop, even if it is only five seconds, you have already taken the first step to undo the knots that squeeze you inside. It is not just that you notice that you have anxiety, but that you are fully conscious, even if it is only during those five seconds, that you have anxiety.
  • Don’t fight against your anxiety or you’ll be throwing wood into the fire. This will not help you relax. If you get into fights with anxiety you are fighting against yourself. It is not a very kind way to treat yourself and it is not a good method to relax: it will only add more tension.
  • Try the opposite. Tolerate some of that unease that seems to be squeezing you inside, give it a little space instead of suppressing it, and then stop again. It is you who has anxiety so you can let it bother you a little bit and then stop.
  • Check your everyday habits, you may be being over-active. Make concrete decisions, try to do without those activities that are overburdening you and are not necessary. Take care of yourself: have an organized schedule, eat well and, above all, prioritize rest: sleeping badly upsets us much more than not eating.
  • Use your body to balance your level of anxiety. This does not just mean saying in a low voice “Relax, relax, relax”, but to do real exercises of relaxation (for example those with deep breaths). You can combine it with some sport to help release excess energy.
  • Consider learning a meditation technique. Some of them are very easy to practice and, although they do not always relax, they will help you to tolerate your inner discomfort and to see certain things that worry you in the right light.

Above all, remember that, above everything, what is important is your wellbeing.

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