3 Ways to Manage Anxiety Before It Manages YOU

Anxiety is the #1 mental health problem in American society. A startling one in eight people describe experiences, every week, that would qualify as a clinical diagnosis of anxiety or panic. Fortunately, it is also one of the easiest to manage if you know how!

Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at times. Many people feel anxious, or nervous when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test or making an important decision. Anxiety disorders, however, are different. They can cause such distress that it interferes with a person’s ability to lead a normal life. An anxiety disorder is a serious mental illness. For people with anxiety disorders, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming and can be crippling.

Here are three powerful tools, taken from Ron Huxley’s “Freedom From Anxiety” course, that you can use to manage anxiety instead of it managing you:

  1. Pause and Breathe. Take several occasions throughout your day to “pause and breathe.” Set your alarm for every couple of hours to take a couple of minutes to put everything down and take 10 good inhale and exhale breaths. Notice what is happening inside of you and around you but don’t have any judgments about it or need to take any actions. Simply notice and take another breathe. It’s OK if your awareness shifts frequently. Just go back to your slow, deep breathing.
  2.  Detect and Redirect. Play detective by cluing into what you are thinking or saying to yourself when you feel anxious. Again, don’t judge it as good or bad but take note (literally write it down) of what preceded your anxious feelings. Begin to be aware of triggers in the form of situations and socialization that make you feel anxious. Redirect yourself physically to disconnect that trigger from your life. Learn to move to another room or avoid negative conversations or take another course of action that might not lead you into an anxious state. Have a “hot list” of the 5 most anxious producing situations or thoughts to avoid. Challenge these anxious thoughts by asking how much of it is really true? One hundred percent of the time true or 50% or 10% or 1%. Even if it is true 90% of the time, what is different about the 10% that isn’t?
  3. Positive Declarations. Once you have a “hot list” of anxious thoughts, start doing or thinking the opposite. Make a list of positive declarations that start with: I am… I will… I can… Today, I have… I choose… I live… My life is… I know… I take back… It can be hard, at first, to come up with a list of positive statements so enlist the help of others. They will be much more objective. Say them out loud even it if feels awkward as your own voice can be self-empowering. The more you say them the more believable they will become and the more present in your life. Use these declarations whenever the anxious thoughts start up in your head. Yell them if necessary!

Are you ready to be free of anxiety, fear, worry, and panic? Take Ron Huxley’s FREE online course: Freedom From Anxiety. Just click here now!

Anxiety can ruin your life…

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FACT: Anxiety and depression are the biggest causes of disability in the developed world. One in five Americans suffers from some type of diagnosable anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety, panic, agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Eighty-five percent of sufferers never get any help!

FACT: Between 50 and 75% of all visits to primary-care doctors in the United State are related to stress or unresolved emotional upsets.

FACT: Anxiety is 2x more likely in women than in men.

FACT: Another 60 to 100 million people struggle with addictions and toxic lifestyles and mental health disorders!

FACT: Almost everyone else is nervous or worried about something every single day of their life!

FACT: Anxiety can destroy relationships, sabotage job opportunities, and ruin your physical and mental health. 

This doesn’t have to be you! You can walk confidently in social situations at school and at work; live without fear of a panic attack; find that intimate relationship you desire; sleep peacefully knowing you have a positive future waiting for you.

Get FREE access to our online course: “Freedom From Anxiety” but this is only open until September 1st, 2017. So get it now…

The Six Best Ways to Manage Anxiety – From Psychology Today

(1) Reevaluating the probability of the threatening event actually happening

Anxiety makes us feel threat is imminent yet most of the time what we worry about never happens. By recording our worries and how many came true, we can notice how much we overestimate the prospect of negative events.

(2) Decatastrophizing

Even if a bad event happened, we may still be able to handle it by using our coping skills and problem-solving abilities or by enlisting others to help. Although not pleasant, we could still survive encountering a spider, having a panic attack, or losing money. It’s important to realize that very few things are the end of the world.

(3) Using deep breathing and relaxation to calm down

By deliberately relaxing our muscles we begin to calm down so we can think clearly. If you practice this without a threat present at first, it can start to become automic and will be easier to use in the moment when you face a threat. Deep breathing engages the parasympathetic nervous system to put the brakes on sympathetic arousal.

(4) Becoming mindful of our own physical and mental reactions

The skill of mindfulness involves calmly observing our own reactions, including fear, without panic or feeling compelled to act. It is something that can be taught in therapy and improves with practice.

(5) Accepting the Fear and Committing to Living a Life Based on Core Values

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an approach that encourages people to accept the inevitability of negative thoughts and feelings and not try to repress or control them. By directing attention away from the fear and back onto life tasks and valued goals, we can live a full life despite the fear.

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Soothing & healing strategies for your mind

(6) Exposure

Exposure is the most powerful technique for anxiety and it involves facing what we fear and staying in the situation long enough for the fear to habituate or go down, as it naturally does. Fear makes us avoid or run away, so our minds and bodies never learn that much of what we fear is not truly dangerous.

Parenting a child with anxiety

Mrs. Roosth was tall and gaunt, uncomfortably quiet, with small eyes and angry hands.

I leaned back too far in my chair and landed with a thump on the classroom floor. She wrapped her bony fingers around my arm, yanked me up to my feet and just about threw me into the nearest corner to stand for the rest of the day. A few hours. I was in the first grade.

My stomach hurt. My muscles spasmed in my back. My chest grew tight. I thought I might die. But I didn’t say a word.

That’s my earliest memory of serious anxiety. But not my last. Or worst.

I missed a Homecoming dance in high school because anxiety so debilitated me that I couldn’t stand and walk.

I was so heavily medicated on my wedding day that I slept through the first night of the honeymoon!

I turned down my first offer of a record deal because I fear traveling. And just the worrying about it doubled me over in pain and sent me to bed for the better part of a day.

But since eventually signing that record deal, I’ve traveled to around 100 cities every year for twelve years. As a musician and speaker I’ve stood on stage and done my thing in front of tens of thousands of people. Sometimes all at once. As a spokesperson for Compassion International, I’ve traveled to ten developing countries with questionable airplanes, eaten grub worms and guinea pig, and lunched with posh dignitaries and mobs of slum children.

No more debilitating anxiety. How’d that happen? And how can we as parents stave off the anxiety of our children?

My mother is as close to a perfect parent as there is. But even she made mistakes. Just two.

When I became anxious she made it worse by doing two things:

Telling Me To Stop It

I couldn’t stop being anxious any more than I could stop being a boy. It didn’t feel like a choice. Telling me to stop being anxious made me feel defective, abnormal, like I couldn’t do something everyone else could. Telling me to stop worrying gave me more things to worry about! Does my mom think I’m a weirdo? Will everyone else think I’m a weirdo? What’s wrong with me?

Telling Me What Would Happen If I Didn’t Stop

My mother is a worrier too. And when I worried to the point of dysfunction, she worried out loud. On my wedding day: What if you don’t get better…people are already at the church…we can’t move a wedding…you don’t want that do you? And of course I didn’t want that and I didn’t want my mother to worry either so I tried to reassure her, which is quite the opposite of relaxing.


Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography

Today I have four children and one of them is anxious. Here’s what I do when her anxiety prevents her from fully living:

Don’t Push

I don’t push her to play in the piano recital that has her in knots. Making her feel like a lot is riding on her getting over her anxiety will only make it worse.

Listen

I ask her what she’s feeling and listen. When she takes a breath I hand her a tissue and listen some more. The feelings are the effect. I want to listen until I hear the cause.

Interrupt

People with chronic debilitating anxiety are often ruminators. They are people whose thoughts get stuck in a groove like a needle on a record, going round and round playing the same anxious thoughts again and again until it’s all they can hear. So it’s important to interrupt my daughter once I think I understand her feelings and what’s causing them. I tell her what I think she’s said to me and ask her if I’m right. If she says I am but then tries to restate it all again – ruminating some more – I cut her off.

Imagine The Worst

This is counterintuitive but I ask her to imagine the worst thing that could happen at the piano recital. I’ll freak out and forget my music and everyone will stare at me and I’ll be embarrassed.

Prevention

I ask her if there’s anything she could do to prevent this from happening. In the case of the piano recital, does she have to play the music from memory or would the teacher let her have sheet music nearby just in case?

Plan

We figure out together what we’ll both do if the worst actually happens. I promise I won’t laugh or be embarrassed or love her any less or think she’s any less talented. Recitals are bad measures of talent. And talent isn’t why I or anyone else in that concert hall loves her.

But what will she do is the worst happens? She may decide that she’ll take the sheet music with her and use it if she forgets the notes. She may come up with a self-depreicating joke she can make to ease the tension and get the audience on her side (I still do this all the time). If she can’t come up with a plan, thenI help out but I really want this to be her idea, because I want her to be able to do this for herself when I’m not around.

Celebrate Success

When the piano recital ended without disaster we talked about how brave she was, how proud I was of her for facing her fears, and we had dessert. We celebrated the success. For me, successes, even the smallest ones, give me confidence that the worst rarely – if ever – happens.

Parenting myself this way over many years has destroyed anxiety. There are still things I’m afraid of, worried about – especially when bills are due. That’s normal. But I’m no longer disabled, half-living because of severe anxiety.

The next time your child is too afraid to live fully, please don’t push. Instead, help them understand their fears, make a plan and move forward. Who knows what kind of life is waiting on the other side of their anxiety? Help them get there.

Do you struggle with anxiety? What has helped you break free?

SHARE: Do you struggle with anxiety? What has helped you break free?