I remember going for my Masters interviews with sweating forehead, increased pulse rate and a lot of nervousness. I felt uneasy and this feeling was due to anxiety. We have all been in a similar anxiety prone situations. Starting from interviews, to public speaking, performances to writing an exam.
Anxiety stems out from fear. The more the fear of something, higher the anxiety level. Anxiety affects us in all states, mental, physical as well as emotional. Too much stress can also lead to anxiety, leading to one having negative thoughts and self doubts. Anxiety, to a level can be helpful. It helps with being alert and responsive. But when this goes out of hand, it starts affecting the daily functioning, then it is time that we make a note of it.
1. Know the trigger: Awareness is the first step to work towards anxiety. Trace down events, situations that evoke anxious feelings. This can be done by reflecting on the past anxious events. This can help us prepare for the coming situations. At the same time, can also help us draw our response patterns.
2. Talk about your anxiety: After having figured our triggers, talk it out to either a trusted friend or a close family member. Talking about anxiety not only helps us express and get out of our system, but also helps to gain support and motivation.
3. Work on your fear: Being aware about the trigger is only half the work. The other half is working on it. To get out of anxiety, one needs to practice it and slowly start facing it. Start slow. For example, if you are anxious speaking in public – Start practicing to talk in front of a mirror. Practice with a close one and then slowly with your family members and people you trust. This will help you build confidence as well as support. Another way of doing it is by listing a hierarchy of your anxieties and start from the one that affects you the least, moving up to the one that affects the most.
4. Be patient: Its okay to not achieve in the first attempt. We are not perfectionists. So do not lose focus. It will take time and practice. Take it slow. Rushing over it, will only increase the anxiety level.
5. Reduce Negative thinking: Negative thinking will only increase anxiety, instead replace negative thoughts with positive ones. “Lets do it”, “I can do this”, “Things will be okay”, is the right attitude and it keeps us motivated.
6. Breathing and relaxation: Anxiety has a lot of physical responses like sweating, increased heart rate, uneasiness, restlessness. This is because of the increased tension. In such a case relaxation exercises like breathing, yoga, meditation, listening to soothing music and getting enough sleep, can be really helpful. Other relaxation exercises are:
*Breathing exercise: Sit down comfortably and take deep breaths, slowly
*Progressive relaxation: Slowly tense and relax each muscle of your body. Start with your face progressing downwards, or you can even start with your toes and move upwards. Take about 5-8 seconds to tense each muscle and same to relax.