We care about work, money, our health, our partners, children … the list goes on.
And let's face it, there are many things to worry about, even before you activate the news.
This means that when the mind receives a moment of rest, what seems to fill it is often disturbing.
Anxiety can be helpful if it is to solve problems, but less useful when it simply makes us unhappy or interferes with our dailies.
The standard psychological methods for dealing with daily concerns are quite simple.
But just because they are simple and relatively well known does not mean that we do not need to remind them to use them from time to time.
Here is a five-step plan called “The Peaceful Mind” which was developed by psychologists specifically for people with dementia.
(Paukert et al., 2013)
For this reason, it places a strong emphasis on the behavioral aspects of relaxation and less on cognitive aspects.
This suits our purpose here because cognitive things (which worry you) can be quite individual, while behavioral things can be done by anyone.
This is the stage that most people jump.
Why? Because it seems we already know the answer.
You probably already think that you know what makes you anxious.
But sometimes the situations, physical signs and emotions that accompany anxiety are not as obvious as you think.
So try to keep some kind of “anxiety diary”, real or virtual.
When do you feel anxious and what are the physical signs of anxiety?
Sometimes this step alone is enough to help people with anxiety.
As I never tire of saying, especially in the field of habits, self-awareness is the first step to change.
If you've been reading this website for a while, you'll know how much the mind and body are mutually reinforcing.
For example, standing confidently makes people more confident.
The mind does not only affect the body, the body also affects the mind.
It's the same with anxiety: taking conscious control of breaths sends a message back to your mind.
So, when you are anxious, which is often accompanied by shallow and rapid breathing, try to change it into a relaxed breathing, which is usually slower and deeper.
You can count slowly while inhaling and exhaling and try to put your hand on your stomach and feel the breath coming in and out.
In addition, adopt all the body positions that you associate with relaxation (although you suddenly lengthen before speaking in public a step too far!).
These are usually things like relaxing the muscles, adopting an opening on the world (unfolding the arms, a hint of a smile).
3. Soothing thoughts
All this is very well said: “Think of soothing thoughts”, but who can think of soothing thoughts when stressful situations approach and the heart beats?
The key is to prepare your soothing thoughts in advance.
They can be as simple as “Calm down!” But they must be things that you personally believe to be the most effective.
It's about finding the form of words or thoughts that suits you.
4. Increase activity
It may seem odd to say that the response to anxiety is more activity because we tend to think that the answer to anxiety is relaxation and it involves doing less.
But when it is unoccupied, the mind wanders, often to anguish; while when we are engaged in an activity that we value, we feel better.
Even neutral or somewhat tiring activities, such as housekeeping, can be better than sitting around worrying.
The problem of anxiety is that it makes you less likely to want to participate in fun activities.
You see the problem.
One answer is to have in advance a list of activities that you find enjoyable.
When anxiety strikes at an inactive moment, you can retreat and do something to occupy your mind.
Try to have things on your list that you know you will enjoy and that are easy to get started.
For example, “inventing a time machine” can eat a little more than you can chew, but “go around the block” is feasible.