Feeling anxious can make life uncomfortable. It can make your heart beat faster, fingers sweat, and breathing shallow and labored. When we start to think about a perceived threat, we fear it will be hard to handle. During this thinking process, our ‘fight’ response kicks in and results in sympathetic nervous system arousal and narrowing of attention. We start to focus on avoiding the threat instead of finding a solution. This leads on getting locked in a state and becoming unable to focus on our daily routines or long term goals. There are some psychological techniques that can prevent anxiety symptoms such as panic attacks, phobias or general anxiety.
What we worry almost never happens
Reevaluate the factors that make you worry and the probability of the threatening event to actually happen. Anxiety makes us feel that the threat will definitely happen in near future. However, most of the times what we worry never happens. Next time you worry about an event, record your thoughts and see how many of them actually came true. In this way you will notice how anxiety can make you overestimate negative side of events.
Supposing that something bad happens, still it is not the end of the world. You have and are capable to cope with problems and find a solution. Beside your own problem-solving abilities, you can ask others to help you and support you. It is important to realize that very few things are the end of the world and you are capable to handle whatever happens to you.
Use relaxation methods
Deep breathing and relaxing your muscles, makes you calm down and helps in thinking clearly. In fact, deep breathing works as a brake on sympathetic arousal by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. Try to practice this technique without a threat present, so it will become automatic and easier to use in the panic moments.
Beware of your mental and physical reactions
By becoming mindful about our reactions, we can become calm and control our reactions in panic situations. This technique can be taught in therapy and be improved with practice.
Accept and Commit
Acceptance and commitment approach is a technique that encourages us to have realistic perspective towards life. Without doubt, negative and bad events will happen in life. By accepting this fact, we can focus more on positive aspects of our lives and continue to live it fulfilled despite the fears and negative parts.
Face your fear
Much of what we fear is not truly dangerous. By exposing yourself to your fear, and staying long enough in that situation to face your fear, is a powerful technique that can make your fear go away. Fear makes us run away from the situation. By this technique you can face your fear and see that it is not truly dangerous.