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10 habits that worsen anxiety (& solutions to lessen it)

1- OVERTHINKING

Overthinking creates problems that are not there. The problems then get worse, and this increases your anxiety even more.

Solutions:  allocate a specific time to overthinking and then move on. Shift your energies on other matters. Experiment with mindfulness by scheduling, if you can daily, meditation or yoga to quieten your thoughts.

2- OBSESSIVE ABOUT THINGS

Obsessing and fixating on things doesn’t lead to solutions. It only leads to increased anxiety by creating additional pressure.

Solutions: prioritise the things you can do something about and forget those you can’t. If you are unhappy about something, let it go or deal with it so you can pacify your mind.

3- UNREASONABLE EXPECTATIONS

Anxious people often have high expectations for everything and when these don’t happen, it leads to disappointments and their anxiety increases.

Solutions: as Eckhart Tolle said, live in the present moment. Create your own reality by focusing on what you want and bring you joy rather than hoping for things that are not possible.

4- AVOIDING PROBLEMS

You cannot avoid your anxiety. Anxiety is a symptom that tells you to deal with underlying unaddressed emotions. First, recognise that you have a problem, then seek help to get better. You must confront your issues for your anxiety to lessen and to improve your wellbeing.

Solutions: First, acknowledge that it is ok to have anxiety: accept it. Then, seek help – in whatever forms best suit you. You may have to try different avenues, but these will all be part of the journey. Be brave, dare to try, confront your fears and change your reality.

5- DENIAL

Along with avoidance, denial worsens your anxiety. Not facing your issues will only make them worse so be courageous and confront them.

Solutions: don’t be too harsh on yourself and realise that everyone has anxiety. Simply accept it and find ways to deal with it.

6- SEEKING REFUGE IN MEDICATIONS

Sometime, medications are necessary. But relying solely on them does not address the root causes of your anxiety. They only act as a plaster on the wound, that continues festering underneath.

Solutions: look for other ways towards healing. Explore the myriad of options available and choose the one(s) that suits you best: meditation, walking, time with friends, contact with the natural world, swimming, mindset therapies, going for an exhibition or a musical, sleep, breathing exercises…

7- HELPLESSNESS

Anxiety brings a sense of lack of control over your life: you feel helpless and powerless. But remember that you create your own reality so you can exercise control over your thoughts. Be patient with yourself and believe that you can.

Solutions: use mindfulness to reconnect with yourself and reframe your thoughts into positive affirmations.

8- CONTROL

Often, to reduce anxiety, people attempt to control everything in their lives. However, as this is not possible, this only results in further anxiety. Letting go of things we cannot change reduces the pressure and allows a more contented outlook.

Solutions: Focus on the things you can change. Let go of those you cannot. Seek assistance if you are too overwhelmed. Delegate to those who know and deal with what you do.

9- FINDING COMFORT IN EXTERNAL SUBSTANCES

Drugs, alcohol, food or any other substances can sometimes bring you relief but it will only be temporary. It won’t be dealing with the core of your problem.

Solutions: Stay connected with your inner self and observe when you rely on such substances. Do they really make you feel better? Most likely no. Find other non-harmful activities to support yourself. Give yourself some “me” time to take your mind off your anxiety.

10- PERFECTIONISM

Is life perfect? No. Are people perfect? No. Are you perfect? No. Accept these realities and stop putting yourself under unnecessary and unrealistic pressure.

Solutions: seek the Japanese practice of wabi-sabi which finds beauty in imperfection. Your fragility may be the most endearing aspect of your personality. It is what will draw people to you. Cherish it instead of hiding it behind false perfection.

CONCLUSIONS

Implementing these solutions into your life will help you manage your anxiety and avoid you feeling overwhelmed. Practice them to bring relief into your life. Don’t do them all at once. Try them progressively, one step at a time and adapt them to your personal life. Be kind to yourself and let life guide you to a more serene future.