Anxiety and fear - Tips
Tips for coping with anxiety and fear
Would you like some tips and advice how to deal with anxiety and fear?
This forum is a great place to:
- explore several tips.
- share the tips that work for you.
What's your tip how to deal with anxiety and fear?
Overview of tips
Tip 1 - Take one step at a time
Look for situations that make you (a little bit) anxious. In these situations take one step at a time. You'll notice that it will make you more comfortable to move within those situations.
Don't always avoid situations that make you anxious. Your fears and anxious feelings may grow then.
Tip 2 - Get moving and take action
If you want to change, you will have to take some action. If you keep doing what you always did, you will keep getting the same results. So you will have to do something else.
Fear can make you freeze, which makes it hard to take steps in another direction. But if you don't take steps, you will maintain your undesirable situation.
So get moving and take action!
Tip 3 - Investigate the secondary gain of being anxious
Investigate the secondary gain of being anxious. Even when you want to let go of your fears, it can be that you do not succeed, because (unconsciously) you benefit from having the fear.
- It can be, for example, that because of your fear, you do not have to do certain things that you actually do not want to do.
- Or because of your fear you receive extra attention from your parents, lovers or therapists. And that you actually like that.
As soon as you know what the positive effects of your fears are (the secondary gain), you can start to look for an alternative way to get the same advantage, without having to hold on to your fears.
The next questions can help you discover the advantage of your fear:
- What (nice things) can I do because of the fear, what I otherwise could not do?
- What (nice things) do I receive because of the fear, that I would otherwise not receive?
- What could go wrong when I do not have the fear anymore?
Tip 4 - Make sure you sleep well
Make sure you sleep well and sufficiently. Sleep is very important for your body and your spirit to rest and recover. When you sleep well and you sleep enough, it will contribute to feeling well rested and capable during the day.
If it is hard for you to fall asleep, then you can do relaxation exercises.
Tip 5 - Practice mindfulness
Look with a mild, gentle and friendly attention to your fears.
Accept that fear is there, without identifying with it. You are not the fear, you have the fear.
By approaching yourself and your fears in a gentle manner, you can relax deeper and then your fear can become soft too.
Tip 6 - Find a counsellor
Are your experiencing anxiety and/or fear and could you use some support?
A therapist or counsellor can help you.
Tip 7 - Listen to your underlying needs
Fear can also be a symptom of an underlying problem. Maybe you do not have enough time for yourself, to rest, to give space to your emotions. Then try and find some time everyday to feel what is inside. That is not always easy. There can be a lot of restlessness, sadness, anger or fear.
Allowing these emotions, or for example write them down or talk to somebody about it, can eventually lead to feeling lighter and less fearfull.
It can also be, that when you take time to feel what is underneath, you feel the need for rest. Try to look for how you can take care of yourself, because also taking care of your needs, will decrease the feelings of fear.
Tip 8 - Feel with curiousity, friendliness and without judgement
Functional fear will bring you to action. It makes you for example jump away when a car with wailing sirenes is passing by.
Sometimes fear can make you 'freeze'.
Try and go with your attention to your body when you have fear. What happens there when you are scared? Which muscles are tensening up? Maybe your shoulders? Or your jaw? What do you feel in your belly, in your legs? Where in your body do you feel your breath? Your heart?
Curious, friendly and without judgement, just feel what is there, without immediately looking for a solution.....
Tip 9 - Keep a fear-diary
To get a grip on your fears, it is useful to know what causes it. It can help to keep a 'fear-diary'. You can write in it what you do, which situations trigger you and what you feel when fear comes up.
By keeping a fear-diary you can get an overview and it will be easier to find out what it actually is that creates fear. This can help to deal with it in a different way.
Tip 10 - Talk about it with others
Talk about your feelings of fear and try not to judge yourself. Talking about it with friends and family often gives space and helps to decrease stress. Conversations with others can also help you get a better understanding and insights about your personal situation.
Tip 11 - Make a list with positive experiences
Make a list of the positive experiences of your fear. Think about situations where there was fear, but you did not avoid the situation.
Describe how the fear decreased. What helped you then?
Keep in mind that you can only grow when you examine the pain you feel.
Tip 12 - Create a balance in your inner world
Fear has a function, fear is never just there. Often there is a deep-rooted cause.
Find a therapist that helps you to connect with your inner world, to listen to your fears and ask them questions. A good integrative therapist will lead you through the questions to the origin and the core of your fears. What does your fear want to protect you from?
The result is that you get to know what you want to prevent to happen with your fears. With a therapist you will look for an effective way to prevent that to happen.
Start a dialogue with the part in you that has fear. Come to a different reaction when the situation that scares you occurs. And make sure your inner world is in balance, so that also other parts, characteristics, will want to cooperate with the new solution.
Tip 13 - Sing out loud
When you are afraid, sing! The best is out loud. Your brain can only do one thing at a time!
Tip 14 - Ask yourself ‘Do I need to be Anxious’?
We all have times in our life where we get that familiar feeling known as ‘Anxiety’ creeping in.
Job interviews, driving tests, big life changes can leave you feeling jittery and fearful.
When you get that jittery feeling – Stop, Press Pause and ask yourself ‘Do I need to be Anxious’?
Tip 15 - Take control
When you feel anxious:
Take control - Stop, Press Pause and ask yourself what you can control and change in the situation to alleviate the fear.
Tip 16 - That anxious feeling can protect you from harm
View that anxious feeling as your friend – it can protect you from harm when you have control of it.
Tip 17 - It takes courage to ask for help
Each of us knows when we feel a bit down, or anxious about something coming up and what is normal for us. We also know when something is clearly wrong.
If how you feel is making you miserable, stopping you from doing the things you want and need to do, then getting help is not a sign of weakness. It takes courage to ask for help when we feel vulnerable, so don't suffer in silence, take action to help you feel better.
I am a counsellor, so I would recommend that you seek therapy, but there are other things you can do to help yourself. Talk to family or friend. Go and see your GP. Whatever you do, please do something to take care of yourself.
Tip 18 - Caffeine
Tip 19 - Anxiety and avoidance
Anxiety and avoidance are connected in individuals with PTSD. One of the pillars of treatment in PTSD is to break the cycle of avoidance. Avoidance is naturally reinforcing because individuals who avoid anxiety-provoking situations or thoughts experience a decrease in anxiety. This cycle of avoidance can become particularly impairing if left untreated.
Tip 20 - Get the support you deserve
However, do connect with an experienced professional and get the support you deserve!
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