Do you find yourself feeling anxious frequently? Perhaps you have suffered from anxiety for a while and are wondering what you can do about it? Maybe you are looking for ways to rewire your anxious brain? Whatever your reason might be, we are here to help.
Feeling anxious is an extremely common human emotion to experience. Although we may find feelings of anxiousness uncomfortable, it is completely normal and can benefit us in some ways.
Sometimes, though, an anxious brain can cause us problems and disrupt our quality of life. The best way to cope with an overly anxious brain is to adopt methods to deal with periods of anxiety so that we no longer fear anxiousness and can rewire our brains to understand and respond to it appropriately.
Follow our 10 steps to help you combat anxiousness and rewire an anxious brain.
10 Ways To Rewire An Anxious Brain
Let’s dive straight into it! Below we have ten ways that you can rewire an anxious brain. Why not work your way through these and see if you can adopt them into your lifestyle?
Remember that these tips might not work for everyone. If you are struggling and find that your life is being impacted by anxiety, seek help. There are plenty of medical professionals that can help you, you do not need to suffer alone.
1. Schedule Worry Time
You can’t stop yourself from worrying, it’s a completely natural human emotion. But, you can make sure that the majority of your days are spent worry-free by scheduling a time to think about your worries.
You could decide to go for a walk at a specific time of day or pick a place in your home to sit quietly and consider your worries for a brief period. Think about what is bothering you for a limited time at a specific time of day, and you will prevent yourself from excessive worrying for longer than you need to and not enjoying your life.
2. Think About If You Can Solve The Problem
Thinking about whether you can do anything about the thing you are worried about is important. If there are steps you can take that you know will make the problem better, then think about how you can go about doing this.
If there is nothing you can do at all or nothing you can do right now to change things, then why keep stressing yourself out about something you can’t change? Why not decide to let go, and enjoy the other great things in your life instead?
3. Challenge Your Thoughts
Anxious thoughts can be difficult to deal with. A lot of the time, they are negative and can also exaggerate or perceive problems that aren’t there. Challenge anxious thoughts by providing your inner voice with alternative perspectives.
Try to counter your negative thoughts with positive ones. Ask yourself whether your anxious thoughts are valid or helpful.
4. Be In The Present Moment
Being in the present moment is a great way to calm anxious thoughts. Practicing mindfulness often can help you learn to be in the present moment more. When you’re walking to work, look around at nature rather than down at your phone.
Enjoy the sunlight and the sounds of birds singing. When you’re relaxing at home, enjoy the comfortableness of your sofa, or the taste of coffee in the morning.
Being in the present moment allows you to start enjoying the little things in life that we take for granted, and gives you a renewed appreciation of just being alive and able to experience what life has to offer.
5. Think About Safety
Human brains are designed to experience anxiety because it helps us to avoid danger. An over-anxious brain overestimates the level of threat in the environment. To calm down your anxiety levels, think about whether there is an imminent threat of danger to your life.
Think about loved ones, places you feel calm and safe, and times you feel strong and resilient. These thoughts and safe spaces will be different for everyone and should help to reduce feelings of anxiousness and bring you back to reality where you are more than likely very safe.
6. Let Things Go
You might feel anxious about the past, or about certain events or people. To rewire an anxious brain, you’ll need to let go of these negative thoughts. Things that happened in the past only serve to negatively impact your future. You can’t change what has happened, and you can’t change certain people or things.
Instead, choose to let go of the things that hurt you or cause you anxiety. Once you have released negative thoughts and emotions, you can begin to build new positive ones.
Meditation is a great method of calming anxiety because it can help you to regulate your emotions, practice mindfulness and being present, increase bodily awareness, and make sense of how anxiety affects your mind and body.
Research shows that long-term meditation can reprogram neural pathways in the brain and improve emotional regulation. Meditation reduces anxiety by forcing you to sit with your anxious thoughts, accept them, and let them pass without judgment, which enables us to better deal with anxiety in the future.
8. Practice Breathing Techniques
Breathing is one of the most important things we need to do when anxiety hits. Often, we take shallow breaths (inhaling through the mouth, taking in less air), and we do this even more so when experiencing anxiousness. This can negatively affect our physical and mental states because we are not breathing deeply enough or lack control over our breath.
Incorporating deep breathing to reduce anxiety can be learned by guided breathing exercises online or even by using an app on your phone. Appropriate deep breathing can provide instant relief from anxiety.
9. Walking And Talking
Exercise is great for your mental health. Nature and fresh air are great for your mental health. And talking to a trusted friend or family member is great for your mental health.
Why not combine all three of these activities?
Going for a walk and a talk with someone you love can help to calm anxious thoughts, release negativity, and improve your overall physical and mental state. Walking and talking as a routine habit can help even more to keep anxiousness at bay.
10. Write It All Down
It’s already well known that journaling is a great way to improve symptoms of most mental health disorders, as well as relieve periods of anxiety. It’s important to be able to healthily express your emotions so that they don’t build up over time.
Writing your thoughts down helps you not only to get them out of your head but also allows you to see them for what they are on paper. Once you’ve seen your thoughts written down in front of you rather than trying to make sense of them in your head, you may be able to understand them better and reason with them more coherently.
Making journaling a habit is a great way to reduce anxiousness in general. Set a timer and write for ten minutes when you wake up or before you go to sleep. You will be amazed at how you will feel after you have emptied your mind onto the page!
There are lots of different ways to rewire an anxious brain. Although anxiousness is a common and natural human emotion that we all experience from time to time, it can be overwhelming.
Learning to understand your anxious thoughts, emotions, and triggers better will help you to deal with them more effectively when they arise. Building anxiety-reducing habits into your daily routine is a great preventative measure, and also improves your ability to regulate emotions.
Putting your worries into perspective is often all you need to challenge and combat anxious thoughts, which are often exacerbations of events that are not as bad as they seem in reality.