Anxiety can be an unpleasant human experience. Often accompanied by feelings of depression and physical health issues. Unlike other feelings however, the process of ridding yourself from anxiety is not an easy feat and many people sometimes find the task impossible. Here are some great mental tips on how to distract yourself from anxiety whenever this cold feeling overcomes you.
#1. Focus less on how to distract yourself from anxiety and more on how to fix it
Before looking at distraction mechanisms to cope with anxiety, remember that ridding yourself completely of it tends to always be a better option. The trick here is to find the root cause to what is causing your anxiety. Whether it is a personal or work related issue. The next stage would be to diagnose why you feel a particular way about it. If the problem is within your control, identify how you can actively remove it from your life. If it is not in your control, identify the worse case scenario or your biggest fear. Often the anxiety you are feeling is over something that could possible be a petty issue. Once you realize this – The process of overcoming your anxiety becomes a relatively easy feat.
Here are some great ways to help you deal with your anxiety:
Confide in friends and family
As much as this may seem like the opposite of how to distract yourself from anxiety, expressing yourself may actually be more relieving than you think. Often when you share the way you feel as opposed to bottling it in, it becomes more manageable as you have someone to share it with. In addition, feedback from the one’s you care about can ease up the situation. They can ultimately shed light and clarity on the situation.
Read self-help books
There are great books out there, written by professionals, that can really give you new perspective and help you deal with issues. A great way to develop coping mechanisms and deal with you anxiety is to practice the methods used in these books.
Speak to people experiencing a similar situation
Speaking to people that have experienced the same problems as you can really help you feel better. In addition, these people may be able to give you support and guidance when it comes to dealing with your anxiety.
#2. Indulge in flow inducing activities
Flow as mentioned in my other posts – Is generally the feeling of deeply being immersed in an activity. When you are in a state of flow, every distraction around you becomes blocked and all focus tends to be on the present. These types of activities may differ from person to person, but is a great idea to use them when trying to find out how to distract yourself from anxiety. They can range from reading a book, playing a musical instrument, getting immersed in your work, art or just spending time with loved ones. Here are 6 categories of flow inducing activities that can distract you from anxiety:
Mind soothing exercises:
These exercises bring calmness and control to your mind. It allows you to become aware of your thoughts so that you can quickly shift them when you find you are drifting to an unappealing emotion such as anxiety. Acts such as mindfulness also allows you to live for the moment. This is great because a lot of anxiety is as a result of worries about the future. Therefore the the more you practice these mind techniques, the easier you will find it to maintain a perpetual state of positivity:
- Mindfulness and meditation
- Positive affirmations
- Creation of vision boards and visualization
- Deep breathing
- Listening to soothing music
- Having scented bath
Physical activities or hobbies:
During periods of anxiety your body is filled with adrenaline – therefore engaging in a physical activity can expend your energy into something that useful. Here are some of the greatest benefits of exercising:
- It forces healthier breathing
- Releases feel good hormones (endorphins) which make you feel happier
- Gives you more energy
- Reduces tension
Examples of physical activities or hobbies:
- Playing any sport
- Playing a musical instrument
- Watching movies
- Mentally stimulating things (reading, writing, playing chess, crossword puzzles, building things, Personal DIY’s, playing board games etc.)
Routine activities are generally the monotonous stuff you need to get done daily. Therefore, they may not be that fun do do buy can be excellent for distractions. Here are some great example of those pesky chores that can serve as great routine activities to get your mind off anxiety.
- Doing work related tasks
- Cleaning up
- Doing things that keep you busy like fixing broken things in your home
- Playing with your dog
#3. Practice stoicism and live your worst fear
Whatever is causing you anxiety will hold on to you unless you actively let it go. The fears surrounding your anxiety will lie dormant eating away at you until you finally give in. Stoicism philosophy dictates that the best way to overcome a fear is to live it briefly. If your anxiety is caused over a fear of being poor for example – then live a day role-playing not having any cash. Experience the pain and hardships. You will often find that the experience isn’t as devastating as you play it out to be in your mind. You therefore gain perspective and overcome your anxiety. Here are some anxiety related fears that you can overcome with stoicism:
- Anxiety over losing wealth
- Stress over approaching girls
- Anxiety over public speaking
Another great way to use stoicism is by applying it to your symptoms of anxiety. This term is coined “exposure therapy” and essentially involves mimicking the symptoms of your anxiety. This is so that you mind no longer associates such symptoms with your stress. Examples include:
- Sweating – if you usually sweat when you are anxious, then go into a sauna
- Rapid heart rate – do sport such that your hear rate increases
#4. Use emotional triggers to foster a positive mindset
As mentioned in my previous post on being positive, having the right emotional triggers can assist you in changing your state of mind. Whether these are positive memories, people or things. Having these mood changers can take your mind off the anxiety you are feeling.
#5. Sexual Intercourse
Sexual intercourse not only releases feel good hormones but can also make you feel much more relaxed since sex releases Oxytocin which acts as a sedative and triggers compassion. According to studies done on rats and humans, sexual intercourse is able to relieve stress:
- The first study done on rats showed that daily sex for two weeks resulted in growth of cells in the hippocampus which is the part of the brain responsible for stress reduction
- Another study done on humans showed that sex daily over two weeks resulted in lower blood pressure.
#6. Get a punching bag
Let loose and go crazy. One of the greatest methods for how to distract yourself from anxiety is to let it all out. That right! Find a place where you can let out your anger and emotions. Punch things, throw stuff around or just scream excessively. The key here is to find a safe and private environment to allow you emotions to run rampant. Once you feel that you have had enough, you will start to notice a decline in your anxiety.
#7. Use natural stress relieving remedies
After consultation with a doctor consider natural remedies as one of the option for how to distract yourself from anxiety. These include herbs such as Kava which is known as a natural stress reliever. The herb is said to contain nutrients such as Kavalactones which are excellent for regulating the way you feel about anxiety. It also promotes greater levels of relaxation without the addiction.
How to distract yourself from anxiety effectively:
Before using the above anxiety distraction tips, here are a few points to follow so that you can effectively deal with your stress:
- Identify what the triggers to your anxiety are
- For short term anxiety have quick fixes available like emotional triggers or someone close to call
- For long term anxiety, try to find what the root cause is and resolve it. This is an especially useful strategy to prevent recurring anxiety over the same issue.
- Anxiety usually stems from fear over something. Use Stoicism to experience your worst fears so that you realize it isn’t as bad as you are making it out to be
Anxiety can be detrimental to your well-being if not handled well. Although finding out how to distract yourself from anxiety may seem like the easy solution – The best solution is often to attack the problem head on, even if this may seem difficult at first. You will find at the height of fear is the greatest relief.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out : 6 brain health tips to keep you mentally focused
If you are looking for peace of mind, check out: You are practicing mindfulness and may not even know it