anger & stress

10 questions to help reduce anxiety

simply stephen / March 8, 2012

This week several circumstances beyond my control caused that feeling of anxiety to creep up.

Notice the “beyond my control” statement.

They were outside of anything I could do. Instead of focusing on the feeling the anxiety was causing me, I have learned to divert that attention and take action by looking after myself. I look for actions that I can take and choices I can make to resolve my anxiety.

I was not causing the anxiety but could take steps to make sure it didn’t control me! One of the best ways is to ask questions and follow the advice using the answer. The reason – to put everything in perspective.

10 questions to help reduce anxiety

  1. What is causing me to feel this way? Write it down. This gives you the answer and could guide you to a solution. At least you can address the issue directly.
  2. What exactly is this feeling? Again, write it down. Knowing what it is, makes it much more manageable and tangible. It puts a name to it, which gives you a clearer idea of what to address.
  3. Has it actually happened? If it is just a “what if”, remember it is not true until it happens, the chances are more likely it will not happen. Sometimes we just put the thoughts in our mind but they don’t actually exist in reality. Anxiety is a perceived state that we project. Knowing this can help erradicate it.
  4. Have I taken steps to make sure I relax? If you haven’t, make sure you are taking time to give your body the outlet it needs to resolve your anxiety.
  5. What can I do to improve my sleep habits? Without sleep your body will not get the time it needs to rejuvenate. It will be difficult to eliminate your anxiety until you sleep properly. Change your routine, eliminate a few unimportant tasks and make the extra time to look after what your body is crying out for…sleep.
  6. Is it time to change my diet (even temporarily) to reduce my stress? The food we eat contributes greatly to our depression, anxiety, stress and general health levels. But you know that don’t you. Now is a good time to consider an increase in healthy food habits.
  7. Am I avoiding caffeine, nicotine and alcohol? Take extra care to eliminate these things. They directly contribute to poor health and stress. When your body is at it’s weakest, they will amplify the impact.
  8. Do I need to do some exercise? This gives you oxygen and helps build your auto-immune system. Always a good answer to reduce your anxiety.
  9. Is it time to clear my mind of all thoughts instead of focusing on them? Just asking this question out loud can force you to focus on clearing your mind, not filling it with thoughts that are causing it to stress. Take time to consider meditation or even a simple 3 minute breathing exercise where you shut your eyes and focus on nothing but breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  10. Is a limiting belief prohibiting me from looking at this any other way? It’s possible that your body and mind has been trained to react to something. A belief can cause a great deal of stress and is often if changed, the stress is eliminated.

I asked some of those questions a couple days ago.

My stress level is still a little higher than I want but my anxiety has diminished to a point where I can get on with basic living. I’m not in pure survival mode following Maslow’s hierarchy of basic food, shelter and clothing.

I’m getting on with life and doing things that matter. Things like writing this blog post.

If you ask the right questions you can find the answers to reduce your stress and anxiety. There are many other techniques like Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) or learning a meditation technique similar to the one learnt when I went to my 11 day Vipassana Silent Retreat. We will explore some of these at a later date.

Meanwhile, ask yourself some questions to force the clear solutions to the forefront. Don’t focus on them. Just ask them and quickly answer them.

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