The key to switching out of an anxiety state is to accept it fully. Remaining in the present and accepting your anxiety will cause it to disappear. To deal successfully with your anxiety, you can use this five-step AWARE strategy. By using this strategy you will be able to accept the anxiety until it's no longer there.
- Accept the anxiety. Agree to receive your anxiety, even welcome it. Say hello to it when it appears. Decide to remain with the experience. Don’t fight it or try to avoid it or pretend it's not there. Replace your rejection, anger, and hatred of it with acceptance. By resisting you are prolonging the unpleasantness of it. Instead, flow with it. Don’t make it responsible for how you think, feel, and act.
- Watch your anxiety. Look at it without judgment – it's not good or bad. Don’t look at it as an unwelcome guest. Instead, rate it on a scale from 1 to 10 and watch it go up and down. Observe the peaks and valleys of your anxiety. Be detached – remember you are not your anxiety. The more you can separate yourself from the experience, the more you can just watch it.
Look at your thoughts, feelings and actions as if you are a friendly, but not overly concerned, bystander. Dissociate your basic self from the anxiety. In short, be in the anxiety state, but not of it.
- Act with the anxiety. Normalise the situation. Act as if you are not anxious. Function with it. Slow down if you have to, but keep going. Breathe slowly and normally. If you run from the situation your anxiety will go down, but your fear will go up. If you stay, both your anxiety and your fear will go down.
- Repeat the steps. Continue to accept your anxiety, watch it, and act with it until it goes down to a comfortable level. And it will if you continue to accept, watch and act with it. Just keep repeating these three steps: accept, watch, and act with it.
- Expect the best. What you fear the most rarely happens. However, don’t be surprised the next time you have anxiety. Instead, surprise yourself with how you handle it. As long as you’re alive, you will have some anxiety. Get rid of the magical belief that you can eliminate anxiety for good. By expecting future anxiety you’re putting yourself in a good position to accept it when it comes again.
If you or someone you know need help, it is recommended to get in touch and seek advice from a mental health professional. At Charleston Consulting, we offer a variety of services that can help your psychological needs. If you would like to learn more, please check out the Thrive Learning Program course which can help to improve your quality of life.