feel anxious

Find your calm: 7 questions to ask yourself when you feel anxious

Asking yourself some questions can help you get through an episode of anxiety as you’ll be able to identify the triggers that set it off.
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Have you ever felt like something suddenly has overpowered your entire body, when something as simple as breathing becomes hard? This is how anxiety feels to people who suffer from it. Anxiety is both scary and stressful. You never know when it might hit you and why. For most, it is an event that becomes a trigger, making you feel overwhelmed. You start to panic about a specific thing and it is the only thing you can focus on.

But you are not alone in this ordeal as people across the globe are affected by it. Global statistics show that anxiety affects 284 million people in the world. What’s worse, recovering from anxiety can be hard if you don’t take appropriate steps to deal with it.

Clinical psychologist Elvira Aletta writes on her website, “As you feel the anxiety blip up or down, take note of what is going on and what you’re thinking. This way you may be able to notice patterns, like a spike up to 8 when it’s time for a staff meeting, or diving to 2 when American Idol is on. Over time this exercise will help you recognize your triggers.”

So, whenever you feel anxious, assess your situation and look for a solution. An effective and handy technique to address anxiety is to ask yourself some important questions. It not only helps get through an episode of anxiety but also helps identify the triggers that set it off. According to Psychology Today, “asking yourself questions provides a framework to uncovering such thoughts and patterns and reducing your overall anxiety.”

Here are a few questions you can ask yourself, the next time you are feeling anxious.

Will anything change if I worry about it?

What’s the point of worrying when you can’t do anything about it? Thinking about things that you have no control over such as someone else’s behaviour or the state of the economy will only drain you of the mental strength you need to be at your best.

Even worse, it can lead to toxic habits like blaming yourself or micro-managing people. So whenever you feel anxious, ask yourself this – Will anything change if I worry about it? Looking for the answer will help you calm down as you’ll get a clear picture of the situation. You will know what you can or can’t control.

Am I feeling safe right now? 

Oftentimes, people who feel anxious have a sense of impending danger, panic or doom according to Mayo Clinic. In short, they feel unsafe. To deal with this, look around you, and ask yourself am I feeling safe right now? If so, acknowledge it. Believe that all is well and that you are not in danger. Allow that sense of safety to calm you and get rid of all your worries.

However, if your fears are real and you feel that your safety is threatened, take the necessary action right away. Visit experts or be around your loved ones or do whatever it is you need to do to keep yourself away from the danger.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Another way to deal with the feelings of anxiety is to think of the worst possible scenarios that could happen. For instance, if you are worried because you were not able to finish your task on time due to some unexpected work, ask yourself what’s the worst that could happen? If ‘getting fired’ is the answer you get, then know it is most likely an exaggeration. Now here is the interesting part—when you exaggerate your fears and imagine the worst thing that could happen, you make the impending fear look unreasonable. You come to realise that even the worst possible scenario isn’t as bad as you made it out to be. It changes your perspective and you begin to calm down slowly.

What can I do to feel better?

Begin to calm your anxiety by asking yourself what can I do to feel better?  When you ask yourself this question, your focus is no longer on the problem but on the solution. You’ve acknowledged that you have anxiety, which is a positive sign. And now, you are looking for ways to calm down instead of pondering over the same stress-inducing thought repeatedly. All you have to do is find how to get rid of it – whether it comes from being around your family, seeing a professional or just being by yourself for some time, your choice will help you take positive action, removing anxiety from the picture.

Have I dealt with such situations before?

Asking yourself this question will give perspective on how you have dealt with such a situation in the past. If you have experienced anxiety before, you’ll know what led to it and how you overcame it. If you haven’t, you can always reach out to a professional who can help you understand what caused you to feel this way. This will most likely lessen your stress as you’ll know what you have to do. Doing homework set by your therapist will improve your wellbeing in the long run as you begin to cope better.

Am I exaggerating things?

Once you have identified your main concerns, think about the likelihood of them becoming a reality. Oftentimes, people tend to exaggerate their worries when they feel anxious, treating them as inevitable. However, many have low chances of actually happening. Understanding these odds can help ease your anxiety.

Have I done all I can to be prepared?

Like everything in life, preparation can help you deal with uncertainty. When you have done all that you can to keep yourself safe, you tend to worry less. For instance, if you are concerned about the future of your family, having paperwork ready in case something happens to you can ease your worries. When you are prepared, you feel empowered and calm.

Sometimes, asking the right questions at the right time helps make life better, and this stands true for dealing with anxiety.

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