Clients often come to see me, saying things like:
- How do I manage my anxiety?
- How can I stop worrying so much?
- Can you recommend some ways to manage anxiety?
- I’m anxious and worried all the time!
Feeling anxious and worried all the time is not a nice way to live, so I am glad they have sought help.
Anxiety and Worry
When we have constant, repeated negative thoughts about possible future scenarios, it can quickly become a spiral of anxiety and worry. What we are trying to do is problem solve potential dilemmas or “what if?” situations.
Some people worry that their anxiety and worry is getting out of control, or that it may lead to harm.
Others believe that their worrying is actually helpful or protective – that it will stop bad things from happening. However, this is not the case as frequent worry actually generates more anxiety, which can cause us to feel “stuck” and prevent us from positive thinking or being proactive.
10 Ways to Manage Anxiety
I’ve listed 10 practical ways that you can use to help you manage your worrying and anxiety levels:
- Problem solving. It might help to write your worries down on paper and problem solve. Is there anything in the situation you have control over? What actions can you take to help resolve the issue?
- Challenging negative thoughts: Write down your negative or worrying thought, and look for the evidence for and against the thought. What other ways are there to view the situation?
- Cost-benefits analysis: What are the negative effects of your worrying thought? What are the benefits? Write down any advantages and disadvantages.
- Externalise the problem. What advice would you give your best friend if they had the same worry? What advice would they give to you? Try looking at the thought through other people’s points of view, and separating yourself from the thought.
- Put it into perspective. Will the problem still be important in 6 months’ time? Or 5 years’ time? How about in 10 years? How important is it in the long run?
- Designate “worry time”. Set aside a period of time for worrying, and postpone any worrying thoughts until this time.
- Imagine the worst possible outcome. How would you cope if the worst were to come true? Often we fear the unknown and uncertainty more than the actual worst outcome, and thinking this through helps us to realise that even if our worst scenario materialises, chances are we could still cope with it.
- Identify faulty thinking patterns. Are you thinking about things in black-and-white terms? Do you see things as either all good or all bad? Or are you “fortune telling” and predicting that negative things will happen, without looking at alternative options? If so, you may need to adopt more balanced, realistic thoughts.
- Distract yourself. Sometimes it can be helpful to distract yourself from worrying – by engaging in positive activities, such as exercise, a hobby you enjoy, or socialising with friends.
- Relax! It can be helpful to engage in relaxation techniques, like controlled breathing, or mindfulness activities. These activities can help you get “outside of your head” and bring you back to the present moment.
Of course, if you would like help or guidance with any of these ways to manage anxiety, and live in the Brisbane are, I welcome you to make an appointment with me.
Author: Tegan Gonczar, BA (Hons), Grad Dip Ed (Secondary).
Tegan Gonczar is a Brisbane psychologist with experience in providing psychological counselling to children, adolescents and adults; she has a passion for working with people of all ages, to help them overcome obstacles, learn effective ways of coping and lead happier and more fulfilling lives.
Bookings and Fees: To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychologist Tegan Gonczar, try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.
- Powell, T. (2009). The Mental Health Handbook : A Cognitive Behavioural Approach (3rd ed.). Speechmark Publishing Ltd., U.K.
- Saulsman, L., Nathan, P., Lim, L., Correia, H., Anderson, R., & Campbell, B. (2015). What? Me Worry!?! Mastering Your Worries. Perth, Western Australia: Centre for Clinical Interventions.