How To Calm Anxiety

Anxiety spares nobody. Everyone feels anxious from time to time. Anxiety is in the essence “unease about something with an uncertain outcome”. This may be related to some event in the near or distant future, or it can be existential anxiety – a feeling of futility and meaningless in all endeavors. No matter what the cause is, as soon as anxiety arises, most people try to calm anxiety right away. It’s normal to do so because nobody wants to feel bad. But the problem is, by trying to suppress anxiety, you end up being more anxious. You end up anxious about feeling anxious. Instead of being only anxious. However, there are several things you can do to calm the anxiety right away.

a.Make a distinction between “I’m anxious” and “I’m feeling anxious”

It might look like these two sentences are synonymous, but there are big differences.

When you say that you’re anxious. You’re experiencing anxiety as something that’s a part of you, that has taken over you.

On the other hand, when you acknowledge that you’re feeling anxious, you recognize that anxiety is only a feeling. It’s a temporary state. You can think of it as like you were the sky and anxiety is the clouds. Clouds can make the sky grey, but the sky remains in its essence blue.

Making the distinction in your mind is important. Because what you think affects how you feel, how you feel affects how you act, how you act in the end defines who you are.

Recognizing anxiety for what it really is, helps you do the next step. Which is:

b.Accept that you are feeling anxiety.

By resisting any form of discomfort you make it stronger. It’s the same with anxiety. There’s a misconception that accepting something means that you like it or support it. That’s not true. Acceptance means that you’re aware of the current situation. And you accept things as they currently are.

How you end up being anxious is:

  • you feel fear of uncertainty
  • you’re not willing to accept that you’re anxious
  • you’re too hard on yourself for feeling anxious
When you accept it, you can do something about it, because you’re no longer busy resisting it.

Anxiety isn’t just one state. It’s a feeling with multiple layers. It consists of multiple things and many factors can aggravate or ease the feelings of anxiety. 

It’s helpful to recognize that anxiety arises due to internal factors. Your thinking about what might happen makes you anxious, not what actually happens. As soon as something happens, it’s over, it’s in the past. After that, what’s left is to do something. 

One thing that’s rooted in anxiety may not be visible at first glance. That’s fear of death.

Fear of death is natural to all humans. And death isn’t something we can do to avoid it. Other than to accept it as a part of life.

calm anxiety

The best way to gain more resilience and learn how to properly interact and overcome hardships in life is by studying stoicism. Stoicism is essentially focused on being able to go through life easier. The best way to get familiar with this philosophy is by reading Marcus Aurelius Meditations.

c.One thing that wipes anxiety out

All the rationalization isn’t worth a thing if there isn’t some practical thing to do about anxiety. Thank god, there is.

Anxiety is a crippling feeling and when it strikes, you may not be able to think clearly or think at all. In that case, you need to calm down to put yourself straight. The best way to calm yourself right away is to do breathing exercises, particularly this one: The Wim Hof Technique.

The best thing is that it’s easy. Anybody can do it without any preparation or training. Technique works, it won’t disappoint you.

Try it out, and watch the 10 min follow-along video instruction.

The technique has many benefits, it’s good for many things, not just for calming anxiety. The reason why it’s good to calm anxiety is that it forces you to take deep breaths.
Anxiety causes shallow breathing. Not breathing properly can exacerbate anxiety, cause dry mouth, respiratory conditions, etc.
Contrary to the harmful effect of shallow breathing, the benefits of deep breaths are pain relief, increased energy, lower blood pressure, and an overall calming effect on the body and mind.

Once you’re calm and you put anxiety under control, you can think of:

d.Long term anxiety coping strategy 

To reduce anxiety in your life, it’s important to change things up long term. A messy lifestyle can lead to more stress and anxiety. To calm anxiety try to lead a more organized life and manage bad habits.

To put it succinctly: treat yourself better in every possible way. If you’re not sure how to do that. Then: 

  • Limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine intake
  • Don’t eat junk food. Try eating healthy
  • Find some hobbies, reading, playing an instrument, gym, sports, or watching movies
  • Be social. Isolation increases anxiety and depression. Go out, interact with people as much as possible
  • Set boundaries. Define what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. What’s acceptable for you, what’s not. When it’s ok to make a compromise and when it isn’t. By doing that you’ll obtain more control, and you’ll feel less anxious.
Try to enjoy more and worry less. Don’t take things too seriously. Because:

This to shall pass

King Solomon

If you feel like you can’t do any of this or if you think you need help, try therapy.

In conclusion: 

Although we try to run away from every unpleasant feeling that arises. Anxiety isn’t something we can ever get rid of. Our whole lives we’re doomed to be anxious. But the good thing is we can cope with it. Overcoming fear and anxiety is something innate in all humans. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here. If our ancestors were afraid to go hunting because they were anxious that a tiger would eat them. They would starve. They wouldn’t reproduce. And they would die out. By overcoming fear of death and existential anxiety, they passed us the information through genes on how to survive. Although you’re maybe not aware of this knowledge. It’s there if you look for it. We all have it.

Anxiety goes away when you go beyond your limits when you push yourself out of your comfort zone. 

When you’re afraid of something, energy builds up. If that energy isn’t used for action, it comes on you as that pit of the stomach feeling, called anxiety. 

No matter how anxious you are, always do what you know needs to be done. There isn’t much of the a choice anyways. Whatever you’re anxious about, you can let it dominate you, or you can go face it. 

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