Anxiety can really get you down. It can make the simplest task seem like climbing a mountain. So here are 5 easy and fun ways to stop feeling anxious
Anxiety can make you feel real small. I know. As someone that is usually full of confidence, happy and cheeky, it really shook me up when I first accepted that I had anxiety. Personally I think one of the worst things about anxiety is having that fear that you have anxiety. For people that have suffered it in the past or right now, you know that it scares you. And it snowballs because you fear the anxiety, which only makes it worse. So here are 5 simple things you can do that will work if you give them all your energy. You can do it! If I could do it, anyone can!
1. Stop taking life so seriously
Ok chances are you feel anxious because you feel like the fate of the universe depends on what you do next. Well here’s a newsflash – your life is not that important! Haha sorry for sounding so harsh – but it’s what people like us need to hear to understand that every decision we make is really not that important in the great scheme of things. Loosen up and let things play out as they will. One saying I like to say to myself when something makes me anxious is ‘will I care about this in 200 years?’ The answer is no. I will be dead, not caring about all the little and big decisions I had to make, or fears that I had. I will not have a care in the world. Yes this sounds morbid, but if something is not going to matter to you in 200 years, why is it so important right now that you need to stress yourself out about it? Go out and do whatever it is you want to do, without having any regard for the consequences. Will feeling anxious about it change the result? No. Will being extra sensitive and worrying about every possibility change the result? Probably not. So stop taking your life so seriously, who knows how long you have left, so you might as well go out and do what you want to do, enjoy yourself and go for it. Let the universe decide what the results will be, you just take action and do what feels right. Think about this. You are sitting on your death bed, and you made it safely to the old age of 90, without any anxieties or struggles. You avoided everything that scared you. Rejection, failures, pain. Are you happy with your life? In the bed next to you, is another 90 year old, who lived a life full of successes and failures. Who has family and friends around them on their death bed. Some things haven’t turned out how they liked, but they take comfort in knowing that they will die having lived a life that was full, and without any ‘what ifs’. Which one would you rather be?
2. Act as if
Ok this is stolen from the classic movie ‘Boiler Room’. And for those who haven’t seen it – Jim Young (played by Ben Affleck) gives an inspiring speech (even though his intentions were a little skewed) about how the interns needed to ‘act as if’ in everything they do. Now I would like you to watch the movie, or at least the 2 minute YouTube clip to see it for yourself – but I have taken some of the things Jim said and applied them to my everyday life. I have adapted the ‘act as if’ saying to match what is important to me, but ultimately I need to ‘act as if’ in every situation. If you are feeling anxious because you have a big exam or deadline at work, ‘act as if’ you already passed the exam and met the deadline. If you are going to meet some friends at a party and nervous about meeting new people, ‘act as if’ they are feeling the same way. ‘Act as if’ you are the life of the party. ‘Act as if’ they are excited to meet you. This is huge for your internal confidence. Your mind doesn’t know the difference whether you are just feeding it thoughts or if they are actually true. This is why we often meet people who are full of shit and we can’t see why they find themselves so special. Haha they have actually tricked their own mind to ‘act as if’ they are super special. Whist this is a bit of a laugh and you don’t have to take your confidence to this level; start ‘acting as if’ today and you will be surprised by the results. Oh yea. By the way, I had ‘act as if’ on my phone wallpaper for a whole year, and every time I was anxious, what happened? I pulled out my phone and looked at it, and every time, I would see ‘act as if’… Use it wisely.
3. Accept. Accept. Accept.
One of the worst things about anxiety is that we don’t want to accept that bad things will happen. We have a fear of bad things occurring, and ultimately that’s all that anxiety is. Fear. Fear of failure, fear of getting hurt (physically or emotionally), fear of loss, fear of gain, fear of the worst, fear of the best, fear of expectation. I lived many of these fears. The biggest thing that helped me get over anxiety was to accept all of these things. Accept that bad things will happen; it’s just a part of life. But with that, good things will happen too. Another saying I have is to ‘accept everything, and expect nothing’. I’m not perfect and it’s a challenge to live by this, but I always come back to it. If you can apply this day in, day out, you too will watch your anxiety levels drop.
4. Give up on being in control
Most people that suffer from anxiety are control freaks. I know because I was one of them. Always wanting to direct life the way I wanted it to go. Unfortunately life has its own plans and we are the ones being directed. Yes we can still make plans and do our best to set and achieve our goals, but we need to loosen up on trying to control everything. You can’t control anything really and the sooner you accept this, the quicker you will get over your anxiety. Even with your feelings of anxiety, give up trying to stop or control these anxious thoughts. Are you feeling anxious? Say to yourself, ‘Ok I’m feeling anxious. Well this will pass in time; I’ll just let it be’. By not trying to control your thoughts, it will pass much easier than if you try and fight it. Trust me on this one. Give up your fight and watch the negative thoughts lose interest and move along.
5. Smile, laugh at yourself and have fun
Ok now I want to tie all of this in by saying that you need to have a laugh at yourself and have some fun with everything you do. This is an important part of removing anxious thoughts. See the funny side in your anxiety, smile and laugh at it. Imagine this – you’re watching a comedy movie and one of the characters is always anxious and fearful of what is going to happen next. I can guarantee that you would have a laugh at this. So why not do the same with yourself? Laugh it off; see the funny side of it. Here’s another one for you – imagine you are about to go on a roller-coaster, or watch your favorite sports team play in a final – you are nervous, full of energy, bubbling with anticipation – you are actually anxious, but in a different way. This doesn’t scare you, you’re just anxious because of the event you are about to witness. So why not do the same for your day to day anxieties? A song once said that ‘life is a roller-coaster; you just have to ride it’. Why not apply this to your life? Enjoy the highs and the lows, scream and have fun either way because you are not in control, but you can enjoy it or hate it either way – but I can tell you that when it’s all over I bet you will wish that you could do it again.
Time to have some fun and stop feeling anxious
That was 5 ways that I used to stop feeling anxious. There are many more things you can do, but I can tell you that a lot of them revolve around what I talked to you about there. I could give you more technical and influential ways to stop being anxious, but I wanted to show you that losing your anxiety can be fun, and easy. Just loosen up, have a laugh, do what you think is right, and leave the rest to the universe to sort out. Subscribe to my blog for more upcoming posts on how to manage anxiety.
About the author – Stef – Mental Health Advocate
Stef is a mental health advocate who dedicates much of his free time to improving his own and others mental health. Click here to have a read about Stef’s story and why he is so passionate about mental health, wellness and positive living.