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Mental Health

Coping with Anxiety: Using an Anxious Mind’s Strength to Calm Anxiety

Anyone who has attempted to rationalize their way out of anxiety will tell you that a worried mind is a powerful, strong mind. On any given day, an anxious mind may outrun, outpower, and outwit reasons and logic. What if you could use the might and authority of your tightly guarded intellect to work for you rather than against you? 

Anxiety occurs on a spectrum, and we all suffer from it to varying degrees. We wouldn’t be human until we did. Anxiety is a completely normal emotion from a strong, functioning brain that detects trouble and immediately reacts by making us stronger, quicker, more capable, and more aware forms of ourselves.

However, there is such a thing as too much of an excellent thing. The brain overreacts to dangers and keeps us on heightened alert even when we shouldn’t be. When this happens, anxiety becomes uncomfortable and challenging to deal with. When needed, it transforms from a kind security guard to a joy-stealing crasher who shares stories about unknown dangers and snuggles up next to you so closely that it becomes difficult to take a breath, think, or simply be.

What makes anxiety so powerful?

Anxiety serves as a form of protection for us. It is a signal to either fight or flee so we can get past the threat. It needs to send out powerful signals because its purpose is to keep us out of harm’s way. The issue is that those signals aren’t consistently reliable. Anxiety is natural and instinctual. It has practiced its moves for countless years. The issue about evolution is that sometimes it benefits us and other times it leaves us open to anxiety. 

Anxiety was designed to keep us safe from harm, not get in the way of it. The area of the brain that causes anxiety believes it is doing appropriately. It will try harder to persuade us that there is risk and that we must take action the more we reject it. 

So what happens if trying to calm an anxious mind doesn’t work?

We are aware of the strength and power of an anxious mind. What if we were able to harness that fiercely guarded mind’s force and might and make it work for us rather than against us? A mind’s capacity for experiencing anxiety is on a level with its capacity for relaxing it. Anxiety may still manifest, but instead of screaming like the wolf at the door and driving your extremely protective brain into an anxious state, it may be welcomed with more of an “Oh hey there, I know you.” attitude. Sit down over there.

Although there are components of mindfulness that can be utilized to find serenity in the middle of anxiety, we know that mindfulness gradually builds and strengthens a brain against anxiety. After some use, they can be relied upon whenever needed to reduce the intensity of concerned ideas, emotions, and other signs that anxiety frequently coexists with. 

But proceed with care…

Changing one’s mentality requires little, regular steps. Each step strengthens the previous one, which takes time. But that’s fine; there’s no rush. Understand that your mind has been doing what it is doing for a long time and that it will take some time to relearn its routines.

These behaviors have a valid reason for being. Anxious thoughts and sensations are what keep us alive. They keep us on alert to cope with anything that comes up. It will take some persuasion to convince them that the only thing standing in their path is them.

Don’t try to put into effect all of these tactics at the same time. Trying to hold on to a variety of things will cause your mind to throw its hands in the air and walk away. Instead, pick one at a moment and perform it for a brief period of time. These are small but significant steps. If you try to complete them all at once, you risk feeling overwhelmed. When things become challenging, it is natural to return to what is known. The solution is to proceed slowly. Here’s how…

Using the ability of an anxious mind to deal with anxiety. 

The strength of the mind working against the mind is anxiety. Your most valuable asset is that power, and it is a particularly good one. It’s time to reclaim it so you may put it to good use, improving and encouraging you.

  1. Be there. Instead of going where your anxiety wants you to go, stay where you are.

Anxiety shifts even the most powerful, strongest mind from a present moment that is manageable and peaceable to a future that feels unpredictable and scary by deploying a strong collection of “what-ifs” and “maybes.” Try practicing being totally engaged with the moment. By expanding your senses, you can secure yourself. What can you hear, taste, feel, and know? Focus on what is occurring right now rather than what might occur. If you find this uneasy, give it a time limit, let’s say two minutes at first. Take advantage of this time to really take in your surroundings.

Every time you attempt this, you will improve your capacity to resist worrying ideas that would otherwise take you away from the comfort and safety of where you are. Try to establish a daily practice for as long as you can – a couple of minutes, five minutes, ten minutes, it makes no difference. Although there is no ideal duration, the more time the better. The most important thing is to remain going. Experience makes the brain stronger and alters the brain, and this experience is so healthy and powerful that your brain will enjoy it. 

Attempt to say, “Right now, I’m here and safe. I notice the sky. The breeze feels good on my skin. My footstep noises”.

  1. Be kind. Take your time to alter your feelings and thoughts.

Feelings and thoughts will come, remain for a while, and then leave. No thought or emotion endures forever. Be calm and understand that whatever you have in mind or experience will pass.

Try practicing being completely in the moment without needing to deal with any ideas or emotions. Nothing that makes you feel or think anxiously is more powerful than you. You will always be more powerful and adaptable, no matter how enormous they seem. Be kind. Be open. Be wondering. If you choose to stay with your anxious thoughts and sensations rather than struggle with them, you can discover what insight is at the end of them. Allow them to remain for sufficient time for them to understand that you don’t need them right now. 

Try “A worried thought.” That’s all right; you may leave whenever you’re ready.

  1. Be an observer. Keep an eye on your ideas and feelings without getting involved with them. 

Anxiety has the ability of sucking you in and pushing you to interact with every worrisome idea that enters your mind. It’s awful! Practice stepping back and observing your ideas as an observer, understanding that they will pass when they are prepared. Usually, we need to interact with our ideas and feelings, and other times we need to step back and let them go. Consider showing your ideas and emotions as bubbles that float by.

Practice letting them be without attempting to alter, comprehend, or explain them. Consider them to be in the air surrounding you, but not a part of you. Allow them to be without interfering too much. Allow them to leave when they are ready. Consider this: rather than standing in the exact center of a thunderstorm, attempting to shift the direction of the breeze, consider yourself looking out a window, trusting that the storm will pass. 

Try saying: “There’s a possibility regarding what might occur if it rains on the holiday. Check that out. I had no idea that was there”.

“A thought regarding attending the interview. Interesting.’

  1. Accept your fear. Realize that you won’t be harmed. 

There are numerous reasons why anxiety feels so bad. Two major ones are that it involves a lot of ‘unknowns’ and that the bodily feelings don’t make sense. An interested, strong, and imagining mind will try to explain these thoughts and emotions, because assuming that they are free-floating and unattached to anything feels even more awful. You may be concerned that your physical signs are indicative of anything that is more serious. You could be wondering if that ‘awful sensation’ signifies anything bad is about to occur. You may be concerned about the fear (as is normal with anxiety) – what is causing it and how to stop it.  That your anxiousness isn’t a symptom of something more serious. This is difficult, but the more that you practice it, the better you will become at relaxing your anxious emotions and refusing to believe the signals they send. Anxiety exists as a sign of danger, not as an indication. Feel the sense of security and safety that implies for you.

Try: ‘My heart feels like it’s pounding through my chest,’.This is called anxiousness. It is not an indication of something more serious. ‘I’m fine.’

  1. Believe in yourself. You are powerful. You are creative. You’ll manage. You have always.

Have faith that, no matter what, you can handle it because you surely can. It’s alright if at first, you don’t believe this to be true. Follow your own advice and explore what the experience has to offer. It is going to require time to learn how to do this, it is a process. Anxiety that we won’t be able to handle things lies beneath every worry, anxiety, and tension. For example, the fear of failure is more concerned with your ability to handle failure than it is with the failure itself. The same goes for being rejected, making a bad choice, or anything else. You’ll manage. You’ve shown it time and again. See what takes place when you start to believe that. If it doesn’t feel genuine, act as if it does. From the outside, it will appear the same.

Try: ‘Whatever occurs, I will deal, with it’. I’ve always done so.’ 

  1. Accept your anxiety where it is, without changing yourself or the situation. 

In opposition as it may seem, sometimes the more effort we put into trying to change something, the greater amount of effort we give it, and the more it remains unchanged. (Remind yourself again not to imagine pink gorillas. Make every effort to avoid thinking of them. Tell yourself repeatedly to stay away from imagining pink gorillas. See how that operates? Precious mental space is consumed by anxious ideas. They rely on our emotions, attention, ideas, and imagination. They increase anxiety the more we attempt to understand and manage them. Instead, try simply accepting your anxiousness without trying to change it. A sensation does not become more powerful or long-lasting through acceptance. It stops providing energy to it.

What you concentrate on gets powerful. The more you concentrate on a certain thing, the quicker it grows and expands. Try to be present with your anxiety without fighting it. Don’t make it go or be anything other than what it is. This can help you comprehend your anxiety better, bringing it out of the darkness and into a space where you are able to cope with it.

This isn’t simple, but it’s effective. Start with small amounts and work your way up. Begin by allowing your sensations to be as they are for a couple of minutes, or as long as seems comfortable for you. Sit with them without expecting them to be unique. Then, if you wish, you are able to give them your full focus as you strive to transform them into something different. Allow them to be themselves again as soon as you are able. See how this experiences, then gradually increase the time.

Try: ‘I’m having a concerning thought,’. My hands feel cold. My mouth is dry. This is called anxiousness. And that’s fine.’

  1. Remove your filter.

Signals and incidents from the past can alter the perspective through which we view the rest of the world. This is how it operates for all of us, anxiety or not.

Approach situations and circumstances as if you were seeing them for the very first time. Even if you’ve been in a lot of similar circumstances before, none of them will be the same as this one. Consider the distinctions between the present and what has been. With each encounter, you get smarter, braver, more powerful, more capable, and sometimes more nervous, frightened, and fearful. Since this is a new experience, be attentive to the fresh opportunities that may result from it.

For example, there can be an urge to hold back from adoring completely once more if you have experienced a difficult split. It may feel unsafe to form links with new people. This is totally reasonable, and keeping away will keep you secure, but doing so will also prevent you from discovering the opportunities and potential that are out there. When we let ‘what is’ take over and stop letting ‘what has been’ color new experiences, growth occurs. 

Say something like, “This is completely new.” I’m interested to see what will happen for me here.”

“This makes me think of all the times I’ve had to interact with strangers.” These individuals are unique. I’m distinctive. This meeting is unique.

  1. Surrender. Even for a brief period, let go of the demand for security.  

Because the future is constantly unplanned, anxiety can easily cause a disturbance. Not everything will go as planned, which is fine, but the more we attempt to manage things, the more we recognize how little we have. This will be unpleasant at first, so begin by resulting into the unknown for a short period of time. Experiment with letting go of your desire to control the present moment, the future, the past, or the individuals in your life. The more you can lean into and accept your uncertainty, the less influence it will exert over you.

Try: ‘I have no idea what is going to occur if I have to adjust my plans,’ And that’s fine.’

And finally…

Consider these tactics to be droplets in a bucket. You might not notice anything the first time you try them. The same thing happened the second and third times. However, the more you experiment with them and apply them, the more ability you will have to harness the power of your crazy and wonderful mind and make it work for your benefit. You will realize that you always have what you require and that anxiety is a temporary emotion, much like a terrible weather day. You’re a champion because you’ve been battling anxiety and succeeding for quite some time. You’re brave, powerful, and strong, and you have all you need within you to cope with whatever comes your way.