Anxiety is ‘a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness’. Having anxiety can prevent you from taking advantage of great opportunities and living a happier life. Our fast-paced world can easily trigger anxiety. That's why it's important to understand what anxiety is, and how to deal with it for ourselves, or how to support someone who's experiencing it. Hopefully, the strategy described in this blog will really help you deal with your anxiety.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or the feeling of choking
- Poor concentration
- Muscle complaints
- Sleeping problems
Online you can find a lot of resources that may assist you in managing your anxiety. We especially liked the video by Mel Robbins, an American lawyer, author, and motivational speaker.
How do you overcome fear and anxiety in 30 seconds?
This is the title of a YouTube video created by Mel Robbins. The video explains how we can all overcome anxiety and fear. As she begins the video, she explains that fear and excitement are the same.
Whenever you feel excitement, you may feel your heart beating faster, or your armpits sweating. Just like when you feel fear, your cortisol levels rise, your body becomes hyper-aware. What's different is that your brain calls it something else.
The simple to follow, but highly effective and scientific strategy helped many people overcome their fears and become great at handling high-stress situations. Now let's get into it. Watch the full video below, or read below for a summary of the findings.
5 second rule + anchor thought strategy
The basic concept of the strategy is to count down 5-4-3-2-1 and then physically move while keeping an anchor thought in mind. Here's how it works.
The first step is to create an anchor thought. There is something that anchors you, so you don't escalate, so that you remain in control and that you maintain control of your thoughts. Be sure the anchor thought is something that is relevant to what you will be doing.
Mel sketches an example of taking a flight back to her hometown, where her family lives. So her anchor thought must be something related to this trip. In this context, her anchor thoughts could be 'being excited to see her family again’, or ‘being excited to walk down the lake with her mother’. This is very important. Your anchor thoughts should contextually make sense of what you are doing.
The anchor thought has been set, now let's get to the 5 second rule.
5 second rule
Although you can't control how your body feels, you can always control how you act and what you think. If you feel anxiety setting in, the heavy breathing, the sweating, the heart pounding, or one of the other symptoms, use the 5 second rule. Here’s how it works.
Step one is to start counting down from 5-4-3-2-1. Counting down silently from five triggers your brain into action after one; it is the universal cue that something must happen. That is how you switch your gears in your head, triggering your prefrontal cortex, so your brain knows that you're now in control. The fear has been interrupted, you’ve settled your thoughts, and now your brain is ready for the previously created anchor thought.
Now insert the anchor thought you’ve come up with previously. Visualise the thought and repeat out loud how excited you are. Your brain will think you are excited, and you have now reframed your fear.
It’s a quick, effective, and lasting way to change your behaviour. With time, you'll gain confidence and inner strength. During this process, you will come face to face with the excuses, habits, feelings, fears and insecurities you have lived with for years. By repeatedly using the 5 second rule, systems of fear will be broken.
It is the "Golden Rule of Habits" that says to change a bad habit, you must replace it with something else. There are three parts to a habit: cue, routine, and reward. When you silently countdown from five (cue), take a small positive action (routine), and get a pleasurable feeling of control (reward), you’ve created a new habit loop.
Why do some people feel anxious for no reason?
Stress and changing life events. Depending on the situation, it could be in the workplace, at school, in a relationship, financially, politically, through trauma.
Medication. Medication can cause anxiety as side effect, this includes
Alcohol and drugs
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
What can I do to prevent anxiety?
1. Exercise and Meditation
Research has shown that regular physical exercise lowers tension levels, elevates and stabilizes mood, improves sleep, and increases self-esteem. Exercise can begin to have an anti-anxiety effect after just five minutes.
Practicing meditation can bring a feeling of relaxation to the mind. Meditation helps you focus your attention and eliminate stressful thoughts. It also helps you feel physically and mentally better.
2. Eat the right food and take supplements when necessary
More research is being done on the correlation between food, mood, and anxiety. A blog published by Harvard medical school explained how certain foods have been shown to reduce anxiety.
Researchers found that diets low in magnesium increased anxiety-related behaviors. Thus, magnesium-rich foods may help a person to feel calmer. Great sources of magnesium are nuts and seed such roasted almonds or cashews, legumes such as black beans or edamame, fiber-rich whole grains such as quinoa, greens such as spinach, and dark chocolate (70-85% cacao).
A diet in zinc-rich foods like meat particularly red meat, shellfish especially oysters, legumes like chickpeas, lentils and beans, seeds and nut has also been linked to lower anxiety.
Omega 3-Fatty Acids
A study found that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce anxiety. Researchers used supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids for the study. We also offer a great Omega-3 Fatty Acids, a great one is Omega-3 Plus | Topical Patch 30 Day Supply | 30 Patches
Another study has linked probiotic foods to a reduction in social anxiety. Some probiotic foods are; yoghurt, kefir, tempeh, pickles, and sauerkraut.
The health benefits of asparagus are widely recognized. The Chinese government has approved asparagus extract use in functional foods and beverages due to its anti-anxiety properties.
Foods rich in B vitamins, such as salmon, spinach, liver and other organ mets, eggs, legumes such as balck beans, chickpeas, edamame and sunflower seeds.
Foods rich in antioxidants such as dark chocolate, pecans, blueberries, strawberries, artichokes, kale, and red cabbage.
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3. Get it off your chest
When you realise that you are not alone in your anxiety or fears, you will feel better. So talking about it might help. Perhaps you should join a support group, or go to therapy for stress management. If this is too overwhelming for you, you can also start talking to your friends or family members.
4. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
A variety of psychological problems, including anxiety disorders, have been successfully treated through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Often, CBT involves changing behavior patterns as well as changing thinking patterns.
The goal of CBT is to help people become their own therapists. With exercises in the session as well as "homework" exercises outside of sessions, patients/clients can learn to cope and to change their thinking, problematic emotions, and behaviors.
We feel sorry if you're struggling with anxiety, but know that you're not alone. There are a lot of people who understand and want to help you as you go through this. If you're struggling with severe anxiety, seek out professional assistance, and find a support group or online forum if you just need someone to talk to. Our hope is that these tips may be helpful in overcoming your anxiety, you've got this!