Anxiety is a worldwide phenomenon that every single person experiences in their life.
It serves a purpose and should be something we all pay attention to.
However, sometimes that anxiety prevents us from living the life we want and participating in activities we love.
This is why beating anxiety is so important.
If you've ever let anxiety keep you from time with friends, seeing something amazing, or enjoying your life, then this post is for you.
Beating anxiety is not only possible, it's actually simple.
But like I always say, simple doesn't mean easy.
Anxiety can manifest in a number of different ways; public settings, specific phobias, social interaction, and just general feelings of worry.
No matter how it manifests, it always points to the same internal fear of threat.
Specifically a future threat.
Anxiety is your mind's internal alarm system that you will be in danger if you do X, Y, or Z.
So the first part of beating anxiety is to clearly define what makes you anxious.
Is it being in front of others? Being public spaces? Seeing certain individuals?
Narrow down the times you feel anxious and really get clear about what it is about those circumstances that elicit anxiety.
Once you identify what specifically makes you anxious, you can then identify how realistic the threat is to your safety.
Beating anxiety means taking control over your responses to triggering circumstances.
In order to do that it can be helpful to logically identify how big of a threat your triggers really are.
Unfortunately, your brain makes you feel as though the threat is life or death when in reality it's almost always no more than several moments of discomfort.
Consciously recognizing that the trigger actually has no threat to your well-being is an important step in beating anxiety.
It's the first step in the exposure process where your mind is forced to confront the reality- that you aren't in fact under any threat to yourself at all.
Once you identify what makes you anxious, and evaluate the level of logical threat, you can write about the worst case, best case, and most realistic case of engaging with what makes you anxious.
Being willing to think about the different outcomes in a conscious and careful way exposes your brain to the situation from a safe distance.
This then brings us to the next step; exposure and mindfulness.
By this time you have made real headway in beating anxiety.
You've identified what makes you anxious, evaluated the threat, and begun the exposure process of thinking about the situation consciously and carefully.
Now it's time to take steps closer the what you fear the most.
Before that, however, it is important to acknowledge that this step is done willingly; meaning you WANT to start getting closer and closer to your anxiety.
Your willingness makes all the difference in the world because it tells your brain "I know this is scary, but I'm brave enough to confront it."
Combining exposure with mindfulness techniques will help you along the way.
For instance, if social interactions make you nervous start by going to a public place, far enough away that you won't be interacted with but close enough that you begin to feel a little nervous.
At that moment pay attention to the surroundings.
Look at objects and repeat to yourself what those objects are while taking calm deep breaths and long exhales.
This calms the central nervous system while exposing you to your trigger.
That combination forces your brain to acknowledge that you are safe despite being on the cusp of your fear.
Once that distance becomes comfortable, move closer and closer repeating the same steps.
It is this step-by-step process that will bring you closer to beating anxiety.
There you have it, beating anxiety made simple.
1) Identify what makes you anxious.
2) Evaluate the threat.
3) Expose yourself step-by-step using mindfulness to keep calm.
Obviously, this is easy said than done.
However, beating anxiety is doable, and these steps will provide you with the road map you need to live the life you want, instead of the life you've had to avoid.
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