How to manage anxiety: tips to learn how to fight it

Anxiety is an "emotion that is triggered when we perceive a feeling of danger, therefore it has the primary purpose of protecting us and preparing our body to face or avoid this situation with the right means and the right awareness.
Often, however, the anxiety disorder can also occur in moments that are not particularly alarming, and above all for figurative situations and not of real threat, to the point of leading to real panic attacks; in this second context we can speak of a "pathological type of anxiety.

Unlike fear, which almost always arises from a contingent and real fact, anxiety can arise for future, vague situations created by an imaginary assessment of situations that may never occur. Anxiety lives mostly in the future, not in the present, therefore it needs to be kept at bay where it is not justified and motivated.

There are certainly moments of our life that are particularly difficult and characterized by strong stress that lower the threshold of activation of anxiety states, but if prolonged over time, they can have a very negative impact on our lifestyle and condition us in all its areas. In these conditions it is good to contact a specialist and start a path that can lead us to find serenity, as we will see later.

For less alarming situations that are easier to manage, advice and remedies may be enough to learn how to manage anxiety and live in a more peaceful and conscious way. One of these is undoubtedly mindfulness meditation, as the following video explains. .

In this historical moment, troubled by the coronavirus epidemic, it may be that anxious states related to the current difficult situation develop, especially in subjects already characterized by episodes of this type. In case you feel overwhelmed by these sensations, you can take starting from the information that we suggest below, to try to combat these states and rediscover greater clarity of analysis and objectivity. In fact, where there are no physical symptoms related to the virus, there is no reason to panic, especially if you they carefully follow the guidelines and rules of conduct recommended by experts and governing bodies.

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Symptoms of anxiety

When anxiety states are activated, some of the following symptoms may occur, involving both the body and the psyche:

  • psychological symptoms: nervousness, apprehension, loss of memory and concentration, worry, brooding, insecurity and fear.
  • physical symptoms: palpitations, tachycardia, tremors, sweating, breathlessness, frequent urge to urinate, gastrointestinal symptoms, insomnia, difficulty falling asleep and needing to wake up several times during the night.

It is important to have knowledge of this information precisely because, if we were affected by these disorders, we could recognize them as such and lead them to manageable anxiety attacks and not beyond our control. More than fighting anxiety, it is necessary to know how to manage it and also live with it, to minimize its extent and its consequences, managing not to be overwhelmed by it.

Treatment of anxiety in less important cases

When ailments are not particularly important and worrying, some of these remedies can be used to combat anxiety effectively:

  • relaxation techniques or diaphragmatic breathing exercises, also with the use of a relaxing background music or asmr video.
  • meditation and mindfulness techniques, to learn to live in the present moment ("here and now"), gain greater awareness of oneself and one's feelings, reducing emotions and negative thoughts.
  • devote yourself to sporting activities, even better if in the open air. Even a simple walk in the middle of nature can be an excellent solution to download and find calm and serenity.
  • carve out moments in everyday life to do things that we love and that help us feel good: from cooking recipes to walks or other outdoor activities, to reading, gardening activities, DIY beauty treatments and any other action that can recharge us , calm down and benefit us.
  • make sure you sleep well and correctly: often, it is precisely the lack of sleep that determines a worsening of anxiety states.
  • try to have a life marked by regular rhythms and healthy habits.

In addition to these effective tips, others no less important can be added that concern more about our lifestyle and the sphere of relationships.

Having a pet, where possible, can represent an effective antidote against anxiety and stress: not only because it allows us to take care of someone, dedicating our time and conveying our attention, but also for the emotional load we invest and from which we are inevitably reciprocated. This practice can be very effective especially for children who show attitudes of insecurity, anxiety and fear.

Surround yourself with positive people, whom we value and consider stimulating for ourselves and our life. Relationships are in fact an essential element to be able to live a peaceful and rich life. It goes without saying that this observation is immediately followed by another, namely: cutting off sick, toxic relationships, false or wrong friendships and any frequentation that does not cooperate for our physical and psychological well-being.

Working on your self-esteem is then a fundamental step to live a life without anxiety: becoming aware of yourself and your means helps you to be in control of the situation, to know that you can manage moments of difficulty and become full masters of yourself and of your your choices. Being aware of your strength, loving yourself and feeling good about yourself are real amulets against the onset of anxiety disorders, stress and panic attacks.

Psychotherapy is also an excellent help where there are small manifestations of anxiety: relying on an expert can only represent a smart choice to learn to live with greater awareness and deal with any unresolved problems that can come back to the surface, triggering anxiety disorders. and agitation. This is undoubtedly the behavior to follow if you feel oppressed and unable to react on your own: it is a common and widespread practice that absolutely must not be demonized or viewed with fear or shame. Asking for help has always been one of the best ways to live better and overcome obstacles and difficulties.

Natural remedies for anxiety and stress

Then there are natural remedies that can have a positive influence on our psychophysical state, without causing any contraindication or addiction.

  • Phytotherapy, which is based on the intake of medicinal plants, such as valerian, lemon balm, passion flower and hawthorn, to promote relaxation levels and decrease agitation and stress.
  • Oligotherapy, based on the administration of minerals, especially manganese and cobalt, capable of influencing the nervous, anxious and mood sphere.
  • Aromatherapy, which is based on the inhalation or skin absorption of essential oils with calming and relaxing power, including lavender, lemon balm, chamomile and bitter orange.

What to do in severe cases

When anxiety reaches pathological levels, it is essential to resort to professional help: psychotherapy, possibly accompanied by the use of drugs prescribed by the specialist, is a fundamental step to be able to better manage the disorders related to anxiety and return to a better life. normal.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has in fact established itself as the most effective treatment against anxiety and its disorders and aims to reduce symptoms and effects, using behavioral techniques and cognitive restructuring techniques. In particular, cognitive behavioral psychotherapy are distinguished two approaches: standard cognitive therapy and metacognitive therapy.

Standard cognitive therapy (CBT)
This therapy works on the intolerance of uncertainty in order to help the patient improve his ability to tolerate, manage and accept the uncertainty in his daily life and the states of anxiety, frustration and agitation that derive from it. It is based on work. of cognitive restructuring, also through problem solving exercises, which acts on irrational and unfounded beliefs or behaviors introjected and developed in an excessive way, including the need for control, perfectionism and fear of making mistakes, catastrophic thinking, negative self-assessment, anxiety from performance, excessive sense of responsibility and emotional control.

Metacognitive therapy (MCT)
In this treatment, full centrality is given to the content of the thought, which is considered to be the main responsible for the onset of the disorder. It would in fact be an erroneous and dysfunctional mental process, based above all on brooding, obsessions and meta-beliefs, to create anxious states that are difficult to manage. .

This therapy is therefore based on the interruption of the flow of self-damaging and disabling thought, to bring it back into a condition of objectivity, devoid of brooding mechanisms and obsessive thoughts that feed on themselves, making them lose contact with the objective data of reality.

For more information, you can consult the Humanitas website

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