Anxiety is a terrible burden on those who are suffering from it. And while some anxiety is natural for every person, as it is a mechanism that helps us to survive and get out of unfavorable situations, Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a condition that is utterly debilitating and destructive to the people it has its grip on.
So there’s this simple question: how can you cope with and overcome anxiety in situations when you don’t really need its influence? Surprisingly enough, Olivia Remes explains that there are mechanisms for coping with anxiety which everybody can use and which come as very natural and easily done.
In her TedxUHasselt Talk, Olivia says that even though therapy is an option everybody should go for, not being able to afford it is a major setback for many people, and medications don’t work in the long run.
So, in order to understand what the top coping skills are, scientists from the University of Cambridge have conducted a study that focused on people who have developed coping mechanisms that are proven to work for everybody.
As Olivia explains, “you can take charge of your anxiety and lower it, which I think is so empowering.”
For this purpose, Olivia has laid out three coping resources that every person with anxiety should be aware of.
1. Do it badly
Anxiety often means that the person feels as if they have lost control over their life. And rumination and worry often lead us to indecisiveness and thus a complete loss of control over the things we actually can do.
The truth is, whatever you want to do never has to be perfect, as nothing is. So why not try to do it anyway, without giving too much thought about when and how you should dive in?
“Anything worth doing is worth doing badly the first time,” she quotes writer and poet GK Chesterton.
So, instead of spending hours deciding how you should do something and what you should do, with the constant fear that you might not reach the perfection you have set as a standard in your head, just do it, no matter how it will turn out to be.
“When you look back, you’ll realize, more often than not, that actually it’s not that bad.”
This coping strategy takes out anxiety out of the way and replaces it with excitement. It gives you greater freedom and control over the situation. Simply replace thought with action and
2. Forgive yourself
“Imagine if you had a friend who constantly pointed out everything you’re doing wrong and everything that was wrong with your life. You’d probably want to get rid of this person right away, wouldn’t you? Well people with anxiety do this to themselves all day long,” explains Olivia.
So, how can you be kinder to yourself and give more support to what you’re doing instead of criticizing yourself over every tiny detail in your life? Simply forgive yourself and show greater understanding toward yourself.
Mistakes are natural, and they serve a much greater purpose than the idea that we should beat ourselves up over every one of them. They are here to show us that we have tried and that we are on the way to becoming bigger, so you should forgive yourself and accept them as a natural part of your life.
Simply let go of the situations that you couldn’t control and accept that nobody is perfect, so neither should you be. By forgiving yourself, you start being more compassionate toward yourself and this starts your healing process.
3. Give purpose to your actions
Doing things with someone else in mind and knowing that you are doing something for a good that is greater than yourself is what gives us the greatest purpose in life.
Whether it’s out of love, helping those in need, or doing something for the greater good of all of us as a species, giving a purpose to your actions will empower you to truly find meaning in life.
As Olivia quotes famous neurologist Dr. Victor Frankel, “For people who think there’s nothing to live for and nothing more to expect from life, the question is getting these people to realize that life is still expecting something from them.”
And really, doing something for someone else can carry you through the toughest of times and make you endure any challenge that seems to be looming.
Watch her entire TED Talk below and let us know in the comments if you are using any of these techniques yourself!