17 Ways to Control Anxiety, Anxiety Attacks
Anxiety works its way into our minds, our bodies, and our very lives, taking control of who we think we are and what we think we can do. When anxiety takes over like this, it can be hard to keep moving forward. Thankfully, anxiety self-help gives you ways to control anxiety and anxiety attacks that put you back in charge.
Before you take a look at the list of suggestions for how to control anxiety, take a moment to close your eyes, take a slow, deep breath, and clear your mind. This creates a bit of space for you to gently shift your thinking.
Sometimes, thinking in terms of controlling anxiety or controlling anxiety attacks gets in our way. We start to struggle and resist, creating a deeper problem with anxiety and even leading to more anxiety attacks (Bemis, 2008). Instead, then, think of these approaches as ways of taking back control of yourself and your life. You’re not fighting anxiety, you’re simply creating a better life without it. By learning how to control anxiety, you’re actually moving yourself forward.
17 Methods of Anxiety Control That Put You Back in Charge
- Step away from stress, even briefly. Taking regular breaks controls anxiety.
- Be mindful of your present moment. Using all your senses to take in your surroundings is a way to reign in racing thoughts, even during anxiety attacks.
- Quieting mental chatter by visualizing a calming image helps refocus your thoughts during an anxiety attack.
- Exercise. It releases the adrenaline that surges as part of the body’s flight-or-flight response.
- Get plenty of rest and sleep, as fatigue contributes to anxiety (Anxiety and Insomnia: Don’t Let Anxiety Keep You Awake).
- Control your blood sugar to control anxiety. Low blood sugar often means high anxiety.
- Eat well. Learn which foods to eat to help with anxiety and eat more of them. Nutrition plays a role in anxiety, so the better you eat, the better you’ll feel.
- Talk to a doctor. If brain chemistry is off balance, you can control anxiety and anxiety attacks with medication. (Note: there is no medical test for brain chemistry, but your doctor can help sort things out by talking openly with you.)
- Check your expectations of yourself, others, and your life. Unrealistically high expectations create anxiety.
- Get to know yourself, the whole you: hopes, dreams, strengths, abilities, relationships, and more. You are more than anxiety, and knowing yourself is a powerful way to control anxiety.
- Meditate. Sitting in a comfortable position, breathing deeply, and letting thoughts come and go without getting tangled up in them helps you reclaim yourself from anxiety’s grasp (How to Use Meditation for Anxiety and Panic Attacks).
- Distance yourself from anxious thoughts by stating, “I’m having the thought that....” This diminishes the realism of anxious thoughts.
- Imagine your anxious feelings and thoughts as leaves floating down a stream and far away from you. Sending your thoughts away controls anxiety and controls anxiety attacks.
- Look for the workability of thoughts. When worries and fear kick in, study them, asking yourself what will happen if you believe the thought. Will it create a more meaningful life? If they’re not workable, float them down the river (see #13).
- Develop psychological flexibility. This lets us adapt to all situations, good and bad, so we can take actions to move forward. When we’re not rigid, we can bend rather than break.
- Know your purpose. What do you value? What gives your life meaning? Knowing the “why” of your life is part of how to control anxiety.
- Know what actions you want to take. When you know your “why,” and decide on your “how,” you move beyond anxiety and anxiety attacks.
This list is a sampling of ways to control anxiety and anxiety attacks. Use this as a springboard to create more. Try the ones that match your style, and move past the ones that don’t. You have control. It’s through strengthening and exercising your own control and power that you begin controlling anxiety and controlling anxiety attacks.
Peterson, T. (2017, April 10). 17 Ways to Control Anxiety, Anxiety Attacks, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 25 from https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/anxiety/17-ways-to-control-anxiety-anxiety-attacks