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How To Tackle Anxiety!

For as long as I can remember, I was always a ‘Straight-A’ student, which along with being a reason for my happiness was also a reason for my anxiety. I constantly pressured myself to always perform better than others. Coming second in class was never an option. This led me to overthink and create scenarios in my mind like “What if I failed to come first in class?” or I would think about being a disappointment to my family if I did not outperform all other students. This had a positive effect, that it kept me on my toes all the time and be the best in everything I did, but it rooted the seeds of anxiety and overthinking in my mind. As I grew up, studies were not the only thing that made me anxious, everything I cared about including my future, relationships, family, etc made me stressed. Because of the symptoms like nervousness, feeling worried, etc, I knew I had mild-to-moderate anxiety. I was not an anxious ball 24*7, it was only during certain situations that I felt anxious so I never considered it very serious or anything that should be corrected until it started to take a toll on my productivity.
Once I accepted the fact that panicking over insignificant things is not normal, I was determined to tackle the situation. A year and a half later, I am a person who has control over their thoughts rather than someone I was earlier.
And this is exactly How I did it;

Self Evaluation

I took an online anxiety test so I could be completely sure about the severity of the condition. There are many online tests available on the internet that provide you a score that lies in between different levels of anxiety ranging from normal to severe. As per one test, I had moderate anxiety and mild anxiety according to the other. I recommend taking such tests as it helps you to get an idea of what is happening. Individuals with anxiety levels higher than the moderate range are advised to meet a professional whereas lower level anxieties can be tackled by making a few minor changes.

Educate Yourself

I read tons of articles on anxiety and experiences of people who have gone through something similar. This helped me understand that it is not something that will affect my life in any negative way, it is something quite common. As per a research conducted by dialogues in neuroscience, 33.7% of the population was affected by moderate anxiety. Knowing many people have emerged out of this with flying colors, made me more hopeful and also compassionate towards all others who have battled or are battling with any kind of mental disorder. Reading about other’s experiences instills many positive emotions in us, which makes winning the battle a tad bit easier.

Being Mindful

When we hear the word “mindfulness”, the first image that comes to our mind is someone sitting under a tree and meditating which is an amazing way of calming ourselves but there is more to being mindful. Mindfulness majorly concentrates on living in the present, when I tried to understand my thought patterns that caused stress, I realized most of it came from thinking and overthinking about the future and not appreciating the things that were surrounding me in the present. So, just look around yourself, appreciate the beautiful creations of nature, be grateful for the things you have. While going on a walk instead of thinking about something else focus on the surrounding, enjoy the vivid colors of the sky, the calmness of the breeze, the warmth of the sunlight, and the cuteness of a puppy. Living in the present also means not dwelling on your past, we all have made mistakes or made some decisions we are not proud of in the past but that is not what defines us. Try to get rid of possessions including both materialistic things and memories which do not allow you to come out of the past. Forgive yourself and try to forgive those who have done anything wrong to you in the past and move ahead. Forgiving is one of those things which require a lot of strength, but once you forgive someone, the feeling of relief you get cannot be described in words. Forgiveness does not mean that you have to talk to that person, it means not to have any feelings of anger or vengeance buried deep inside you and you can do this by writing a forgiveness letter, you do not have to post it but penning down your emotions is a great way of clearing the chaos in the mind.

Talk To Others

Humans are social animals, we need to interact with others to lead a joyful life. According to Stanford Medicine, Good social relationships are the most consistent predictor of a happy life. Expressing our feelings and sharing our problems with others helps us to relieve stress, but many times anxiety hampers our ability to communicate effectively, so what to do? We hesitate to express our feelings because of the fear of being judged so the best way is to talk to people who care about you, they could be your partner, friends, parents, siblings, etc but if you do not feel comfortable talking to them, you can seek comfort in talking to people who are experiencing something similar by joining support groups if anxiety support groups are not available where you live you can even join the online ones. When you talk to people who are sailing in the same boat as you, you get to know about their coping mechanisms and their approach to different triggers. We can learn and adapt certain ways from them that might be beneficial to us, and we can also motivate them to handle certain situations better. We grow into better humans by uplifting others!

Go With the Flow

Sometimes, things don’t turn out the way you want and that can be stressful. Life is meant to be unpredictable, it does not necessarily go according to what you have planned. I have always been that person who got super anxious if something turned out differently than what I had expected. I eventually realized that stressing over things that I cannot change is pointless, I started to go with the flow. Going with the flow means accepting the reality, making the best out of it and moving ahead without overthinking and with positive expectations. To do so, when you realize something has turned out differently, just talk about it once, if you don’t feel like talking, write it down on a paper. You won’t be talking about its adverse effects anymore rather you would focus on the ways how you can make the best out of it, sometimes the best way might be ignoring it completely and that is fine. It is easier said than done; you will not wake up one day ready to go with the flow; it is a process that will take time, have faith in the process and eventually, you would be able to reciprocate to the non-ideal things occurring in the surrounding in a better way. Be patient!

The Power Of Positivity

We all know that the power of positive thinking is remarkable, but anxiety makes us lack positivity. The best thing about positive thinking is that we can gain it through learning. I used to overthink about everything and come up with a negative outcome and that changed when I adapted optimistic thinking. Optimistic thinking does not mean to be happy all the time, it focuses on being hopeful. Even during tough times optimists stay hopeful and believe that this too shall pass and happy times are bound to come. To become optimistic, I intentionally started coming up with a positive outcome for every thought I had. Earlier my thought pattern was like this — I will not take up this task as it requires me to leave my comfort zone and doing so is impossible for me so it is better not to take up the task because I am sure I will fail. I would not even try things because of the fear of failure. Slowly, I changed my thought patterns into something like this — This task requires me to step out of my comfort zone which is hard to do, but I will give it a try because letting go of an opportunity is a bigger loss than failing. After a year, it changed into — This task requires me to step out of my comfort zone, but that will not stop me from completing it. I started saying positive affirmations to myself like I am worthy, I deserve good things, I can do it, etc. I did not believe them initially, but after a few months, I started believing them. If you do not say good things to yourself, the sweet words of others will not matter and if you say good things to yourself, the harsh words of others will not matter. This was not something that naturally occurred to me, for years I trained my brain to think the worst about every situation, it took efforts and patience to change it but it was all worth it at the end.

Pursuing Passion

Anxiety robs the fun from our lives, instills fear in us, restricts us from exploring our true selves. Discovering and pursuing our passion can help us beat anxiety. For many of us following our dreams seems impossible because we think every single person around us is judging us. We are afraid of doing something wrong or saying the wrong words but there is a positive side to this that is it helps us became perfectionists. One of the best ways for beating anxiety is changing our approach towards life, instead of looking at life with dread, we should look at life with fun. There is no fixed age of discovering your passion, you might be working as an engineer, and one day you might realize that you are meant to be a comic artist. There is no hard and fast rule that your passion should be something that pays, it could be your hobby too, the only thing that passion should be is fun. You could be a scientist with a passion for dancing. Because of anxiety, we spend a lot of time focusing on the negatives and the irrational fears, by channelizing this energy on our passion we can beat anxiety with fun. So, now comes the most important question, “How to discover my passion?”. Ask yourself that is there something that you already love doing, if ‘yes’, there is a huge chance that it might be your passion. If the answer is ‘no’, trying out different things is the only way.


We all know the physical benefits of exercising regularly like reducing the risk of chronic health conditions, increases energy level, promotes better sleep, etc. Do you know, exercise can also help ease anxiety! Engaging in any kind of physical activity can help beat anxiety because it diverts the mind from thinking about things that amplify anxiety. A good workout releases endorphins, endorphins are nothing but neurotransmitters that interact with the receptors of the brain and induces a positive feeling in the body. They also help reduce stress and the perception of pain. Exercise also activates the frontal regions of the brain which controls the reaction to threats. Now, let us talk about what kind of exercise we should do? Any kind of exercise from stretching to a high-intensity workout is beneficial. You can try out a variety of exercises like stretching, jogging, dance workouts, yoga, weight-lifting, etc and continue doing what you liked the most. If possible, working out in nature increases the benefits of exercising as it further lowers stress and anxiety levels.


I was that person who never took breaks while working because I thought it would adversely affect my productivity and I will not get the work done on time. I used to forget about eating because while I was working nothing else mattered, Later on, I realized that making work a greater priority was not worth it, and not taking adequate rest was reducing my overall productivity. We consider rest to be equivalent to being lazy but that’s not true, rest means giving the body and the mind the time to relax so they can function better. A suitable amount of rest increases our immunity and also the ability to focus. The famous Framingham Heart Study followed approximately 12,000 men ages 35–57 at risk of heart disease, for nine years. The researchers asked the participants to make some changes in their lifestyles, at the end of the research they found out the men who took frequent vacations showed a significant increase in their lifespan. If you have a desk job, don’t hesitate to walk around the office at least once in a few hours. Invest time in yourself, you are more than just your career, go on a vacation away from your work responsibilities once in a while, treat yourself with an hour of game time or Netflix after completing a specific amount of work, have a weekly pampering skincare routine and the most importantly do not forget to have 8 hours of sleep every single night (or day if you work in night shift).

Relaxation Techniques

Many psychiatrists and therapists have put forward many relaxation techniques to calm ourselves during anxiety attacks. Deep Breathing and Progressive Muscle Relaxation are some of the easiest and reliable techniques.
  • Deep breathing technique: There are two types of breathing; abdominal (deep) breathing and chest (shallow) breathing. When we get anxious, we tend to take shallow, rapid breaths that come directly from the chest. Chest breathing causes a decrease in oxygen level and results in increased heart rate, dizziness, muscle tension, etc. By shifting the breathing from shallow to deep calms us down because of the increased oxygen level.
The next time you feel anxious, follow these steps;
Step 1- Inhale slowly while keeping your shoulders relaxed. The chest should rise only a little and the abdomen should expand. While inhaling count till 4.
Step 2- Hold the breath and count till seven.
Step 3- Slowly exhale, keeping the mouth slightly open and count till 8.
Step 4- Repeat the process for a few minutes.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation technique: It is a deep relaxation technique focusing on tightening one muscle group followed by its relaxation with a release of tension,
Step 1- Inhale and contract one muscle group (for eg calf muscles) for 5 seconds.
Step 2- Exhale and suddenly relax the tightened muscle. Move on to the next muscle group and repeat the same.
Step 3- Repeat the process for a few minutes.


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