Emotional Wellbeing

Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

How to respond differently to anxiety

If you often feel anxious it might be worth finding a way to respond differently to anxiety. Anxiety often stems from stressful thoughts when we imagine things being far worse than they actually are. This is called catastrophising and it makes anxiety far worse. I have listed typical thoughts and typical bodily reactions to anxiety.

Anxious thoughts:

Something bad is going to happen
I won’t be able to cope

Body reaction:

Heart rate increases
Breathing speeds up
Muscles tense
Hot. sweating
Lightheaded, blurred vision
Butterflies in tummy, urge to go to the toilet
More alert – scanning for danger
Try the idea below to respond differently to anxiety. These actions have been proven to reduce anxiety.

Thinking differently:

Ask yourself –

Is this threat a real one or is it really bound to happen?
Am I exaggerating the threat? Am I misreading things?
I feel bad, but that doesn’t mean things really are so bad
What would someone else say about this situation?
What would I say to a friend in the situation?
What would be a more helpful way of looking at things?
Where’s my focus of attention?
I can cope with this feeling, I’ve gotten through this before. This will pass

Doing differently

Take a breath
How will doing this affect me in the long term?
Don’t avoid situations-go anyway
Problem-solve or make plans if necessary
Take things slowly or gradually
Focus attention outside of me – external rather than internal focus
What’s the best thing to do?
What would help most?

Imagine…

Imagine yourself coping with a situation that you feel anxious about. See the situation through to successful completion.

Visualise…

Visualize blue for calm. Breathe In Blue and breathe out red for all the anxiety that you want to expel from your body.
Anxiety is a part of life and some anxiety is natural and normal. if you find that you are overwhelmed by your anxiety and begin avoiding things, it might be time to seek therapy. I offer online therapy worldwide- get in touch for added help in feeling braver.
Mandy X