Here are 5 ways you can train your brain to avoid, and over time prevent, anxious thoughts:
The “AWARE” technique is a method of “interrupting” anxious thoughts before they even take place. Practitioners of this method say that this approach is a powerful method of reducing and preventing anxious thoughts.
A – Acceptance: this just means that you have to accept what is happening and just go with it. Attempting to fight or try to stop it will only heighten the anxiousness effect.
W – Watch: To “watch” anxiety in action is to remain an observer of its activities. Observe anxiety without judgement or hesitation – it is a practical approach that gives priority to mindfulness. Keep in mind that you and anxiety are two different things.
A – Act: more precisely, act as you normally would and go about your business. Think about the task at hand. Notice your breathing patterns to avoid shallow inhalation.
R – Repeat: Repeat “A-W-A” until the anxiety either becomes completely under wraps or diminishes.
E – Expect: Anxiety provokes fear; fear that almost never shows up on its own. Expect the best possible outcome. Repeated practice of this technique will work in any circumstances if you’ve trained it long enough.
Establish a Routine
People who struggle with anxiety often feel like their lives are out of control. In fact, many people that struggle with anxiety, such as OCD patients, attempt to control every aspect of their lives; thus, when their plans fail, their anxiety kicks in with much more vigor than before.
A relatively simple way to overcome this issue is to establish a routine, a pattern if you will. Set up a schedule and apply some self-discipline to stick with it. It is important to understand that a schedule, or a routine, doesn’t need any restrictions on how you live.
In fact, those people who have a well-kept routine often discover free time to enjoy life. Arrange a schedule for work, family, activities, interests, hobbies etc. Also, don’t forget to keep a normal sleep/wake time throughout the week.
Get Plenty of Relaxation Time
Trying to relax while experiencing is quite difficult. Instead, what you should do is set aside some time and get some R&R while not in an anxious state. This will be very beneficial to you.
The idea here is to take advantage of a clear head; something that might serve as a counterattack for the anxiety. Make it a priority to get away from stressful situations, even if it’s just 20-30 minutes per day.
Consider this spaced out time period your free pass to do what you want. Mindful breathing is an excellent way to spend all this time, but anything that could bring you happiness, joy or contentment is a wonderful countermeasure for anxiety.
Stop the Anxiety Before It Even Begins
Anxiety is a process, and complicated at that, but it is a systematic one. This is important to understand, as it might allow you to distance yourself from the source of the anxiety.
First, you must understand that anxious feelings are separate from you. You are not the anxiety. Second, know what triggers your anxiety and try your best to mitigate, avoid or eliminate the source.
Third, in case the anxiety fully surfaces, refuse to take part in it.Multiple methods can help you in stopping anxiety. Here are a few examples:
Picture a red “STOP” sign in your head
Speak reassuring thoughts, such as “I can do this”, “It will pass”, “I’m okay”
Pinch yourself(not too hard, though)
Find something fun to do
The simplest reason behind this method is because it offers so much potential. Perhaps so much more than drugs, alcohol, supplements, self-medication, and on top of that, it provides a plethora of health benefits and it also boosts self-confidence.
Exercise is beneficial for the brain, as well. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA): “Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem.
About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects.”
Furthermore: “According to some studies, regular exercise works as well as medication for some people to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and the effects can be long-lasting. One vigorous exercise session can help alleviate symptoms for hours, and a regular schedule may significantly reduce them over time.”
The ADAA’s message is a simple one; managing physical health will turn into mental health benefits, especially when the exercise becomes a routine in your life.