Often times when something can’t be beaten, the better option is to take the path of least resistance and just embrace it! Anxiety is a condition that slips into our subconscious whenever we are faced with a challenge or crisis situation that we don’t know how to resolve or when we can’t determine the outcome. It causes uneasiness, worry, stress, tension, angst – to name just a few!
The good news is that through recognition of tell-tale symptoms such as anxiety attacks, phobia and panic about certain situations, anxiety can be dealt with as a condition from which recovery is possible. When anxiety arises within, our bodies go into fight, flight or freeze mode.
These reactions have different consequences and unfortunately none of these are optimal. Fighting anxiety could intensify feelings of panic and fear, while avoiding anxious situations certainly won’t help you face similar challenges in the future. Freeze mode is also not the best option as it will leave you confused, startled and even more anxious about the next possible occurrence of an anxiety attack.
Embracing feelings of anxiousness and insecurity is a more desirable way to overcome the fear and concern that bubbles up inside you. Although this seems like an impossible thing to do – especially considering our natural reactions to feelings of stress, anxiety and worry – there are certain measures that can be taken to help you embrace anxiety.
- Embrace your shortcomings – and also your strengths!
Oftentimes we feel anxious in situations where we are uncertain of our ability to be successful in that which we are doing – whether this refers to a test we have to take, an interview for a new job, meeting new people or even just venturing outside of our daily routines. Rather than compounding the situation by worrying about an undesired outcome, take time to identify your shortcomings and work on turning these into strengths.
Anxiety often points out areas where we could build on certain life skills and learn to control emotional reactions – be kind to yourself and embrace your shortcomings, take time for reflection and conquer your weaknesses. Nobody is perfect and nobody understands what you’re going through quite like you do so treat yourself with some compassion and commend yourself for the strengths you have.
- Avoid labels
There’s nothing quite like someone else labelling you as stressed, anxious or phobic to drive up your fears and make you even more stressed, anxious and phobic. When other people identify symptoms and highlight the fact that you are anxious and struggling to cope, they often escalate the fears you have – especially when they know what makes you anxious and tease you for it, even in a joking manner.
Embrace your anxiety by refusing to accept labels that allow others to control you. Use the situation to educate others about the seriousness of anxiety and how they can rather support you in your process of building resistance to fear and apprehension in trigger situations.
- Don’t compare yourself to others
Embrace your anxiety – it’s yours and unique to your situation! By comparing yourself to what others can and can’t do whether they suffer from anxiety or not, you are actually relating your own accomplishments and failures to others that are not in the same situation.
Comparison to people who you don’t know very well and who seem successful and organized is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. Measuring yourself against others is a bad habit that heightens the level of anxiety as you feel increasingly worthless and incapable – everybody struggles with something, you might just not be aware of what makes the people around you anxious.
- Understand your anxiety
A good practice is to try and understand your anxiety and where it comes from. Some influences are biological or environmental and therefore beyond your control. Other influences point to problems in your life that can be dealt with, even if you need a little help to resolve them.
Embrace your anxiety by recognizing symptoms and admitting that you might have a problem. Speak to someone you trust about what you are feeling and ask for help in the process of recovering from anxious thoughts and feelings.
- Coping skills
Anxiety can be contained by learning exercises and coping skills that will help you deal with stressful situations as they arise. Deep breathing exercises, massages, meditation practices, music and exercise are great ways to relieve anxiety by focusing on stress reduction.
Engage in supportive self-talk and self-encouragement to speak positivity into your everyday life. Focus on the benefits of positive psychology and natural comping skills while avoiding self-medicating in an attempt to control symptoms of anxiety. This could worsen your condition and even lead to a deterioration in health.
- Limit anxious thoughts and emotions
Surround yourself with people who are positive and support you – people who understand what you are going through and are willing to help you work through the feelings of anxiety. Embrace your feelings of unease and concern by being intentional about avoiding bad influences.
Redirect your focus from speculation and unrealistic expectations to short-term plans that you will be able to achieve. Speculation often makes you worry about an undesirable outcome even when it’s unlikely to occur. Avoid this unnecessary stress and focus on what’s important and beneficial to getting you through a tough time.
- Embrace the blessing of bad situations
Bad situations often allow us to grow in areas that would otherwise remain undeveloped. Some situations force us to deal with fears and realities and once we have lived to tell the tale, we are better equipped for similar situations that will inevitably arise throughout our lives.
Focus on the things within a situation that you can control and do your best to learn more about yourself and your ability to overcome your fears. Earnestly seek at least one positive thing within the situation and incorporate the above ways of embracing anxiety to emerge victorious over your biggest challenges.
Marcus has a degree in psychology, a masters degree in health psychology and has worked within the NHS as well as private organisations. Marcus started psysci, a psychology and science blog in order to disseminate research into bitesize, meaningful and helpful resources.