Life

Small ways to tackle big anxieties

Posted by
Chloe Brotheridge
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According to the Mental Health Foundations 2014 report, 20% of us feel anxious 'most of the time'. Anxiety can feel like a heavy weight hanging over you, but you don't have to feel that way forever.

Here, hypnotherapist, Chloe Brotheridge, suggests five simple tips for tackling those big, overriding fears. 

'I'm not doing enough'

to do lsit

High on our list of anxieties is a sense of ever-present pressure. We fear we're not doing enough; at work, for our kids or in even our social lives. We worry that we're not 'living life to the full' and not 'reaching our potential' or that everyone else has it figured out, except us. The fact that we have 24 hour access to what everyone else's achievements and activities on social media is like fuel on the fire.

But this pressure is counterproductive; it stops us enjoying things and can backfire and mean we end up procrastinating and putting things off instead of getting on with them.

So here's a truth bomb: you can't do everything at once.

Instead of comparing yourself to others and dwelling on everything you're not doing, flip it around and focus on all that you do do. At the end of the day, take stock of everything you've done; from doing the washing, to completing a project at work, to going for a run.

Give yourself a pat on the back for everything you've done and achieved, big and small.

Research shows that being kinder and more encouraging to ourselves is way more motivating than beating ourselves up, so you're less likely to procrastinate and you'll be inspired to do the things you want to do. 

'What if...?'

what if

The anxious mind loves a bit of time travel. It whizzes off into the future, trying to predict every possible negative outcome for every situation. When believe it prepares us for the worst and many of us actually think that by imagining the worst, we make it less likely to happen. This is totally irrational when you think about it - but who said the anxious mind was rational.

The truth is that imagining the worst doesn't help anyone; it raises your anxiety and makes you scared and confused rather than any more prepared if things do go pear-shaped.

You already have all the resources and strength you need inside you to cope with anything that comes up. I love this mantra from Susan Jeffers' classic self-help tome, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway.

"No matter what happens, I'll handle it." Say it to yourself daily.

'I'm not good enough'

failure

This has got to be one of our biggest anxieties ever-ever-ever. A feeling of not enough-ness can plague our relationships, our work and our feelings about ourselves. It causes us to hate our bodies, to doubt our abilities and give ourselves a hard time. Worst of all, if we don't feel good enough, we don't take care of ourselves, which compounds the anxiety even more.

But the reality is that you are enough. More than enough. It's incredible just how enough you are.

My suggestion? Create a jar of awesome. Get a mason or jam jar and each day write down a few positive things about yourself on little bits of paper. Write down the compliments you've been given, things you like about yourself and things that you did well. Fold them up and toss them into the jar.

On days when you're feeling less than enough, whip out a few pieces of paper from the jar and read them aloud to yourself. 

'What do they think of me?'

mean girls

Worries about what people think of us can take over our lives. Maybe you've had to change who you are in an attempt to please other people, or you've kept quiet because you worry that people won't like you if you speak up. Maybe you constantly fret about the way you look because you're sure other people are judging you.

I'd like you to remember one thing; what other people think of you is none of your business.

You have no control over what other people think, full stop. People think and feel the way they do because of their own lives, their own experiences – and how they happen to be feeling on that particular day. It's got very little to do with you. If you've been worrying what other people think, you're taking on too much responsibility for other people's thoughts; and their thoughts are none of your business.

'What if I fail?'

failure

Spoiler alert: failure is inevitable. Failure is a natural and unavoidable side effect of 'doing stuff'. Somewhere along the way we've got things muddled up; we wrongly think we're supposed to be perfect beings who never make mistakes.

We also believe that if we fail at something that we ourselves are failures. This just isn't true. Failure isn't a final destination, it's a stepping stone to greater success. Try re-framing failure like this: It's useful feedback which helps you to do better next time.

Think about something you feel you failed at in the past. What did you learn from it? How did (or could) that experience help you to do better in the future? Use it as useful information to help you to learn, grow and improve what you're doing for next time.

Bio: Chloe Brotheridge is a London hypnotherapist at easywaytochange.co.uk and anxiety expert at calmer-you.com