We’ve all experienced pangs of fear and anxiety. Whether it’s blowing that big job interview, worrying about lab test results from your doctor or letting your 15-year old attend a late night rave party. Whatever the reason, our bodies kick into a “fight-or-flight” response that shoots adrenaline into our bloodstream and makes us climb the walls. Jude Bijou MA MFT, respected psychotherapist, consultant, and author of “Attitude Reconstruction: a Blueprint for Building a Better Life” has developed six highly effective techniques to help you deal with fear and anxiety.
Shake it Out
When the flight-or-fight response kicks in, your heartbeat races, your breaths grow short and shallow, and your stomach gets tied up in knots. Meet your body halfway by releasing some of the energy it’s built up. Shake and tremble. Put some effort into it and add some sounds if you have to. Releasing this pent up energy helps your mind refocus.
You’re OK (EGBOK)
Say this out loud: “Everything’s Going to Be OK.” Tell yourself that you’ll take one thing at a time, and that you can handle what’s making you fearful or anxious. This kind of positive self-assurance does work to modify your attitude and calm your body.
Act, Don’t Dwell
Fear and anxiety are things that halt action. They ball-and-chain you into sitting and dwelling on what might happen. The remedy to these arresting thoughts is action. Find out what you can do to solve the problem — whether it’s talking to someone, taking care of something you’ve been neglecting, or simply learning a new coping skill — like meditation.
Plan Don’t Panic
Fears and anxieties often spring out of a need to address something that needs attention. Instead of going into panic mode, go into writing mode: jot down the things you need to do. Prioritize and plan your course of action to get at the root of what’s making you fearful or anxious.
If you need to address a fear or anxiety don’t start lumping all your fears into one big downer. Many people sink into a “Sky is Falling” way of thinking that prevents them from overcoming their fear or anxiety. Address the specifics of what’s causing the problem and create a plan of action that stair-steps you right over the fear or anxiety.
This is Crucial: Acknowledge Your Improvement
Praise and compliment your steps in overcoming your fear or anxiety. Don’t be shy about giving yourself an attaboy, even for minor steps. As you overcome your fear and anxiety, you’ll grow more resilient and push through those barriers. Your confidence and courage will grow.