We’ve all been there. It’s time to give a presentation in class or to make a big decision and it hits you, anxiety like no other. It’s stressful, embarrassing, and at some points, even debilitating. The great thing is that it’s a common issue, and isn’t something you should feel alone in. This list isn’t the end all, be all, but can help with getting on the right track for dealing with your anxiety.
1. Take a deep breath
A lot of people’s breathing picks up when they start to get anxious. In certain situations, it becomes so bad that you even start hyperventilating. Many fitness trackers come with a “Relax” mode that tracks your breathing and helps with getting it back on track. Other apps and websites like Xhalr exist for the same thing. An old episode of Grey’s Anatomy taught me, “When you stop breathing, you stop thinking.” So get some air in your brain to get things started.
2. Recognize when your anxiety isn’t rational
We both know that when you get up in front of the class, people aren’t going to openly mock you or say terrible things to you. No one on the plane is actually judging you for getting up and going to the bathroom (yeah I’m one of those people). Sometimes, it’s easier to get a hold of your feelings when you recognize they’re coming from a place that doesn’t make sense.
3. Determine where your anxiety is really coming from
Are you actually terrified to put in an application, or are you worried that you’ll be critiqued and disliked? You should never feel like you have to minimize your anxiety, but you should also try and recognize it for what it actually is.
You say I’m stressed about my assignment, when you’re actually worried about the consequences of not doing well – many of which you’ve probably over-thought in your head. You getting a C on a paper your junior year of college doesn’t mean you’ll never be successful. When you know where your anxieties actually lie, you can more strategically work on those areas.
4. Face your anxiety head-on
Avoiding the things that make you anxious is not a healthy way to deal with your feelings. Avoidance is a great dream killer. Many of the things that often scare us also provide us with the greatest opportunities and rewards. It hurts to look back and think “Wow I could’ve done something amazing, but I let my fear get it the way.” Plus, when you’re successful, it’s another way to show yourself that you can accomplish whatever you want in spite of your fears.
5. Get support in facing your anxiety
A lot of people feel isolated when they’re facing their anxiety. They think that it’s something that has to be done alone so as not to burden others. It can be so helpful to reach out to your friends and family to explain what’s going on and explain how they can help. Instead of being annoyed when you don’t want to go out, they can understand you reasoning for not wanting to be in closed spaces. Additionally, it might be worth reaching out to a professional who can provide you with strategies for facing your anxiety.