Contributed by Tuppence H.

Most of us experience feelings of anxiety, panic, fear, even dread, from time to time. But sometimes these feelings can be overwhelming. So, the question is how can you deal with them? Here are a few ways to work through anxiety. You don’t have to try all of them, just choose the ones you feel most comfortable with.

Acceptance. Realize that getting anxious is a part of life. So, if it does happen, you will become less likely to put pressure on yourself trying to deny or avoid those feelings.

Face your fears. If something makes you anxious, exposing yourself to the problem might help you accept it.  Seeing it for what it is (or the reality of the situation) will help the fears you create in your head to lose their power.

Probability check. Go over the probability of whatever you fear actually happening. Yes, there is a possibility of becoming homeless or making someone angry or not getting out of some kind of bind but, how much of a probability is there?  Are there other places you could live, even temporarily? Have you ever angered someone and lived to talk about it? When you have felt this way in the past, how often did what you feared actually occur?

Preparation.  Do some forward planning. If your fear is really great, why not come up with possible solutions before ‘it’ happens. Some helpful questions include: Where could I go for help? Who would be a good source of support? How might I address this problem?

Breathing practice. Taking deep breaths as you feel the anxiety building can help reduce those feelings. Consider taking up Yoga which requires you to concentrate on deep breathing. The complete breath technique is very calming and can be done anywhere. If you practice deep breathing and clearing your mind on a regular basis (when you are already feeling good for example), it will be easier to do when you are feeling anxious.

Animal therapy. Petting animals has been shown to lower blood pressure and helps alleviate anxiety, even depression.  Perhaps the way animals live in the moment rubs off on us when we spend time with them.

Activity. Exercise  is an excellent way to deal with anxiety. It releases endorphins to make you feel good and increase your confidence. It also raises your body temperature which induces calm.

Intervention. If your anxiety is consistently overwhelming and you’ve done everything within your power to handle it, ask for support from people you trust and, if necessary, get professional help. Remember, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Think of it as an opportunity to take care of you!

How do you handle your feelings of anxiety? We invite you to share your ideas in the box below.