Photo Courtesy of laurenatclemson
I am putting together different ways in which we can deal with anxiety and be stress free. This is Part II of the series : Break Free of Anxiety Habits – Creative Ways to Deal with Stress and Overcome Anxiety.
5 Ways to Use Mind Power to Overcome Anxiety and Be Stress Free
1. Break the Loop, Gain Clarity
Have you ever heard an anxious mind? It doesn’t speak … it rambles. And repeats. The thoughts take circular patterns. It’s as if there is a tape being played in our mind which has a replay button on by default. No matter which part we skip or solve, we always come back to it again because that part is not resolved in the tape. Same problems, same thoughts, same worries keep repeating in one form or another. Often making problems appear larger than they are. And increased problems means increased anxiety. The only solution to this is to break the loop to gain clarity.
I have written earlier about How To Get Clarity In Thoughts. It focusses on following techniques:
- Write in points. No stories, just points.
- Create a table to compare details of all options
- Draw a diagram to chart out your thought flows
- Focus on one thing at a time
- Bounce your ideas/thoughts at someone
- Are you really confused?
2. Get hold of your thoughts, Channel them in the right direction
Since anxiety and stress often is a result of thoughts, controlling thoughts or rather purposefully channelling thoughts in the right direction is one of the most sensible solution available. Often people think that thoughts cannot be controlled, mind cannot be controlled. Nothing is farther from truth. We do possess the ability to control our thoughts and decide which thoughts to pursue and which to reject. By focussing more on constructive thinking, and empowering thoughts we can belittle the power negative thoughts have on us and in turn, reduce anxiety and stress.
3. Lesser The Thoughts, Lesser The Anxiety
I had read somewhere “All negative thoughts occur because we lose focus. They are a form of distraction“. So true it seems. We lose focus from doing our work and thoughts, worries, fears and judgement creeps in. These later on, lead to worry, stress and anxiety.
Imagine a time when you have no thoughts about past or future. No worries, no regrets, no fear. You are in the present, your mind deeply focussed and lost in whatever you are doing. Such a focussed mind reduces chances of anxiety creeping in.
Stress often increases our pace of thoughts in the wrong direction. So slow down. Breathe slowly. And focus on your breathing for a while. Forget about everything else, just focus on breathing slowly and deeply. Make your mind to think slowly as well. As thoughts come in slowly, you will have time to proactively weed out the negative ones rather than react to them.
Varied forms of meditation increase focus and help mind to be thought free. Try out a few types of meditation. And find out a form that you would love to do. I mix-matched a lot of meditation styles to come up with something that I enjoy doing. You might want to try it out.
4. Give Yourself A Doze Of Positive Self Talk
Talk to yourself. Talk as if you are talking to a friend or a child who needs your support in times of anxiety. You already know why you are anxious. Talk to yourself to alleviate those fears. Love yourself, accept yourself the way you are. Forgive, encourage, give hope and a vote of confidence.
You can sit in a crossed leg position somewhere in silence. And close your eyes and talk to yourself. You can do so in front of the mirror. It might feel strange in the beginning. But do so anyways. Positive self talk can do wonders for the soul; it’s heals you from within.
5. Apply these techniques, Reduce Stress, Worry and Anxiety
These are very simple but effective strategies to stop worrying. They all are quite similar to each other in approach. Hence, I have grouped them together.
Shift worrying to tomorrow every day.
If you find yourself stressed about a situation in the future, tell yourself, “I will worry about this tomorrow. Since it is not going to happen for now, let me enjoy life today or let me finish this task today or let me …“. Try to delay worrying one day at a time. And do notice that as you postpone worrying by a day at a time, you soon become master in using thoughts to stop worrying for now. This freedom from worry and stress is sometimes all you need to come up with creative solutions to problems that are bothering you.
- Bargain with Worries.
This is quite similar to Bargain with Pain approach. Simply put, given a problem you are worried about, ask yourself for how long are you going to worry about it. And then start the bargaining process to reduce the worrying time. You can reduce by 30 mins, 1 hour, half the time … anything you are comfortable with. But, do remember to not to get very comfortable with the worrying time. The idea is to give practice to mind to stop worrying or worry for only allotted time period.
[You can read about Bargain with Pain here]
- Make an Appointment with Worry.
Ofcourse there will be somethings in life you are worried or stressed about. And you would like to mull over and ponder over those. Make an appointment with worries for them. Everyday set a time period which is specifically for worrying. You can worry as much as you like in this time zone. But the catch is, you cannot worry for the rest of day. As you master this, reduce amount of appointments with worry you have. From daily to alternate days to weekly to fortnightly .. I guess you are getting the picture. The idea behind this is that it is nearly impossible to move from worry-full to worry-free immediately. These techniques will allow you to set your pace and not get overwhelmed. And slowly but surely you will overcome anxiety and become stress free.
Update : Part III of the series : Ask Right Questions To Deal With Anxiety And A Zen Koan
Books On Dealing With Anxiety