Fear and anxiety have immense effects on the mind and body. They can affect your eating habits, sleep habits, and concentration level, among other things. Anxiety is a type of fear in response to something that might happen in the future rather than what is happening now. It can also be described as persistent fear. The fundamental emotion of fear and anxiety are the same. If you are reading this, then you probably experience crippling or overwhelming feelings of fear and anxiety. We will not attempt to assuage these feelings with overused clichés like; ‘you have nothing to fear,’ but instead, we will give you practical ways to overcome fear and anxiety.
Before we get into these tips, let us identify what fear and anxiety feel like. Here are some things that you may experience:
- Increased heart rate;
- Increased breathing rate;
- Weak muscles;
- Perfused sweating;
- Uneasiness in your stomach;
- Difficulty concentrating;
- Frozen in place;
- Loss of appetite;
- Dry mouth;
- Tense muscles;
Now that we know the basics let us discuss how you can overcome crippling and overwhelming fear and anxiety.
If you are able, face your fear
Avoiding situations that make you afraid causes a delay and even a cessation of the things that need to be done to bring about a solution. The situation might not be as bad as you expect, and avoidance ensures a missed opportunity to manage fear and reduce anxiety. The pattern of feeling anxious and avoiding this fear-inducing situation tends to increase your level of anxiety. Exposing yourself to these fears and anxieties in a safe and open environment can be immensely useful in overcoming them.
Know what makes you feel better
Keep a journal to record what makes you anxious when you become anxious, and the outcome of these situations should be your first actionable step to addressing your anxieties. Write down what you think would help in these situations and use them when you are likely to become anxious.
Exercise requires concentration and serves as an excellent distraction to keep your anxieties at bay. It may ease your mind from fear and anxiety. The added benefit is that it causes the release of endorphins that trigger pleasant and positive feelings in the body, opposing fear and anxiety.
Use Relaxation Techniques
A myriad of relaxation techniques are at our disposal. They help to ease the mind and relieve the body. A simple technique is to raise your shoulders, tighten them as you inhale and hold for 3s and then drop them suddenly while exhaling for 5s. Another easy one is to close your eyes and picture yourself somewhere paradisiacal. Other techniques include meditation, getting a massage, listening to mental health(Check out our blog post on how to improve your mental health) podcasts.
Be sure to include a sizable number of fruits and vegetables in your diet while avoiding sugar as much as you can. Caffeine increases anxiety levels, so drink less tea and coffee.
Drink In Moderation
People often turn to the appropriately named ‘liquid courage’ or ‘Dutch courage’ to relieve themselves of anxieties and fear. The after-effects of alcohol, however, may cause feelings of increased anxiety and fear. Avoid alcohol if you can, or drink in moderation.
Believing in something bigger than yourself can provide a way of coping with daily troubles and stress. Attending church or other faith-based groups may provide an invaluable support system. If you are religious or spiritual, this may be a good option for you.
Talking (Psychological) Therapy
Counselling and other forms of talking therapies are widely and successfully used for those hoping to overcome fear and anxiety.
These provide periodical relief and do not provide long-term aid. They can, however, be more effective when used together with other types of treatment.
Self-help Support Groups
Other people who have successfully overcome fear and anxiety usually want to help others with the same issues. It is beneficial to learn about the management of anxiety from those who have experienced it. These groups involve people with similar issues and experiences to encourage, motivate, and exchange advice and stories and pass on other useful information.
These practical ways have helped many, and with them, you too can improve your mental health.