Everybody has had to deal with anxious and frightening moments before. Fear of embarrassment, failure, public speaking, and even something as small as a spider can give us an unexpected bout of anxiety before we know what hit us. The good news is there are ways to deal with anxiety no matter when or where it strikes – work, school, at home, you name it.

Use these five tips for dealing with anxiety and take back control of the things that stress you out or scare you the most.

Figure out What’s Going on Inside Your Head

Clinical psychologist Dr. Bill Knaus, in reference to psychologist Tom Williams, suggests figuring out exactly what’s going on inside your head during an anxiety inducing situation. How are you supposed to do this?

1. Write down your thoughts.
2. Examine what you wrote down and see if you can decipher what the problem seems to be.
3. Now make a list of and incorporate some new actions to take that you think will help you get your anxiety under control.

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Stop Yourself from Focusing on the Negatives by Creating a Balanced Picture

Another helpful exercise for dealing with anxiety, created by Swiss psychologist Paul Dubois, is to send down at the end of every day with a piece of paper and draw two columns. In the first column, list everything that bothered you during the day. In the second column, list everything you found enjoyable about the day.
There should be one enjoyable entry for every anxiety inducing entry. By creating a balanced picture for yourself, it will help you come to the realization that good things happen every day too and this will help prevent you from focusing on the negatives so much.

Expose Yourself to What Makes You Anxious

If you have particular fear that makes you extremely anxious, try exposing yourself to that fear. Exposing yourself to what makes you anxious will train your brain to anticipate positive outcomes because you took on the situation of your own free will.

For example, if public speaking makes you anxious and your team at work has a presentation coming up, volunteer to be the lead speaker on the project. If you just give it a try you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at what you are capable of.

Try Some Deep Breathing Exercises

A lot of people think it looks or sounds silly, but taking a few minutes to step back and focus on your breathing can be a great tool for dealing with anxiety. Focusing on your breaths will help you feel more in control, more relaxed, and less anxious about the situation.

Once you feel like you have your control back you should feel more confident about dealing with the situation at hand. Give it a try the next time you start feeling anxious and see what

Accept that Negative Thoughts Happen

Negative thoughts and feelings happen. There’s no way around it for anyone. It’s how we respond to our negative thoughts and feelings that make the difference. Focus less on trying to control or repress your negative thoughts and more on accepting the fact that they’re going to happen.

If you’re ready and accepting of the fact that you’re going to get anxious from time to time, you’ll be much better equipped to handle the situation when the time comes.

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