KEEPING ANXIETY UNDER CONTROL

Anxiety typically involves an emotional component such as nervousness or fear – a physiological component, which may include fast breathing, trembling, high heart rate, or stomach churning, as well as a cognitive component, such as an impending sense of doom or negative thoughts. These characteristics can ultimately affect our daily behaviour through, for example, putting off day-today tasks, avoiding people or dealing with difficult situations, insomnia, engaging in excessive smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or taking illicit substances to calm down.

KEEPING ANXIETY UNDER CONTROL


It comes as no shock that every individual differs as to how vulnerable they feel in a variety of stressful situations. If you are reading this, and feel that this topic somehow applies to you at this specific moment in time, first of all, you need to be aware that anxiety is entirely normal at times of stress. It’s appropriate to mention that the right amount of stress can actually be helpful – in that it can serve as a motivation to reach higher goals and accomplish new challenges in life. However, it is also known that too much stress can seriously interfere with you living a normal life. This is why I would like to point out some strategies that many can try, in order to ease out some of the stress in your everyday life.

Reviewing all the stressful circumstances in life

Whilst this may seem like an obvious step, many do not seek to dedicate sufficient time to address all that is bothering them. It is vitally important to think about all the things that are going on – things which might be causing ultimate stress – and do your utmost to find practical long-term solutions to reduce the latter.

Addressing stressful situations through proper time management

The lack of appropriate time management is probably a sin of many. Sometimes you need to stand up for yourself, and say “no” to things you don’t need to do, in order to be able to deal with the most important projects first. Let’s not forget to mention that despite all the benefits that come with today’s technological advancements, they may also work against us. It is wise to remember that time spent off the mighty Facebook, and other social media networks, could actually be used to get some work done.

Learning to relax and distract yourself from troubles

The physical symptoms of anxiety occur because adrenaline is being released by the nervous system into the bloodstream and as a result, affects organs such as the heart, stomach, and muscles. It is not going to be any more fruitful to continuously worry about something. Make sure you find time to engage in activities you like to help keep your mind off things. Go for a walk, watch a movie, or listen to some nice music. Relaxation and breathing exercises can help you control the physical symptoms of anxiety,
especially if they occur regularly.


Looking after your health

No matter how busy you are, it’s very important to find time to eat well, exercise regularly, and rest properly. It is wise to mention that sleep plays an important role in managing stress. It provides our body with the opportunity to regenerate, eliminate toxins, and wash-away all the negative thoughts. Sleep disruption creates havoc in the brain, thereby, impairing thinking and emotional regulation. Try to cut down on energy drinks or coffee, for caffeine intake furthers the issue, by potentially increasing anxiety.

Adopting a rational approach to challenging negative thoughts

Sometimes the key to problem-solving is all about mind power and motivation. Try to overcome the tendency to exaggerate how threatening a situation is, and to underplay how effectively you can cope with this situation. Stop judging yourself too harshly, and most of all, refrain from comparing yourself to others. Everyone works best at their own specific
pace.

Seeking support whenever appropriate

No man is an island, therefore do seek support from family members or close friends, whenever you deem necessary. Never be hesitant to visit your G.P. if you think your anxiety problem is getting too overwhelming to cope with, especially if you are going through a rough patch on a more personal level.

In conclusion, don’t get anxious about feeling anxious! Everyone manages to pull through the various transitions of life differently. Remind yourself that anxiety can be reversed once you practice mindfulness and engage in activities that make you feel good. Allow yourself to recognize that mild anxiety is a warning sign that reminds us to be aware of certain issues that may necessitate some attention. Moreover, when feelings like persistent sadness, social disinterest or low motivation, begin to affect a student’s ability to carry out the necessary steps to be successful, then it’s time to reach out for professional help. Never ignore a problem; both physical and emotional challenges can be successfully managed, especially when dealt with at an early stage.


Georgiana Farrugia Bonnici 

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