Anxiety is a normal part of life and affects everyone at some point. However, for some individuals, anxiety can be debilitating, affecting their daily lives and causing immense discomfort. It can feel like a burden that holds us back from experiencing life to the fullest. But what if we were to embrace that discomfort that comes with anxiety and use it as an opportunity to grow and overcome our fears? Find out what some ways are to embrace discomfort and conquer your anxiety.
Ways to embrace discomfort
For anyone dealing with anxiety, the discomfort can be so intense that the instinct may be to just run and hide. However, embracing discomfort is key to overcoming anxiety. When we push ourselves to confront the things that make us anxious, we can learn to control and manage our anxiety. By exposing ourselves to discomfort, we can develop resilience and overcome our fears. There are several ways to embrace discomfort and conquer your anxiety; let’s take a look at some of them.
The first step to overcoming anxiety is to accept that it is a part of your life and that it is okay to feel anxious. It is important to understand that anxiety is not a weakness and that it is something that can be managed and controlled. Having anxiety does not make us less than others, and with the right self-care and techniques, we can learn to have it affect us less than what we are used to.
Avoiding situations that trigger your anxiety only reinforces the fear and makes it worse. One of the ways to embrace discomfort is through exposure therapy. This approach involves being gradually exposed to the things that cause your anxiety. Although it may seem scary to most people, this can help you immensely in overcoming your fear and becoming more confident.
For example, if you are afraid of flying, you can start by simply reading about flying or watching videos of planes. Then, you can gradually work your way up to taking short flights and, eventually, longer flights. The goal is to gradually increase your exposure to the thing that triggers your anxiety until you can do it without experiencing significant distress.
Another way to embrace discomfort and conquer anxiety is through mindfulness practices. Mindfulness involves purposely being present in the moment and paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations—without evaluation. This can help reduce your anxiety by reducing the power of negative thoughts and emotions. It can help you to become more aware of your anxiety and, in turn, learn to manage it better. Try practicing mindfulness exercises such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga. Do not fret if you are new to all this—there are numerous online resources and applications that can guide you through the process.
Self-care is a crucial aspect of managing anxiety and stress. It helps individuals cope with the physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety and to maintain a positive outlook on life. Here are some ways to practice self-care when dealing with anxiety:
- Regular physical activity—Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. It also helps to reduce stress levels and increase feelings of relaxation
- Relaxation techniques—Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or guided imagery can help to calm the mind and reduce anxiety levels. These techniques can be done anywhere and at any time, making them a convenient form of self-care
- Healthy diet—Regularly eating well-balanced meals that include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is great for physical health, but it can also help improve your mental health
- Sleep—Getting enough sleep is essential for overall wellbeing. Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule and establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and screens before bed
- Connect with others—Building strong relationships with the people you trust and care about can provide a source of support and comfort during difficult times. Spending time with loved ones can also help reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation
- Pursue hobbies—Taking part in activities that bring joy and fulfillment can help to reduce anxiety levels and boost mood. Hobbies such as painting, reading, or gardening can provide a healthy distraction and increase feelings of calm
Reframe your thoughts
Negative thoughts can contribute to anxiety and make it worse. When negative thoughts arise, challenge them with positive affirmations. Instead of thinking, “I’m never going to be able to handle this,” try saying to yourself, “I can handle this, I’ve been through tough times before, and I’ll get through this too.”
In addition to that, reframe negative thoughts in a more positive light. For example, instead of thinking, “I’m never going to be able to do this,” try saying to yourself, “This might be challenging, but I’ll learn and grow from this experience.”
Focusing on what you are thankful for can help you to shift your attention away from your worries and reduce anxiety. Here are some ways you can practice gratitude:
- Keep a gratitude journal—Write down at least three things you are grateful for each day, big or small. This practice helps to focus on the positive aspects of life and trains the brain to be more mindful of the good things in life
- Show gratitude in action—Express gratitude by doing something for others. Whether it’s volunteering, making a meal for a friend, or simply showing appreciation for a co-worker, taking action to show gratitude can help reduce anxiety and increase happiness
Seeking support from others can help you embrace discomfort and conquer anxiety. Whether it be through therapy, support groups, or simply talking to a trusted friend, connecting with others can help you feel less alone in your struggles and give you the courage to face your fears. Support from others can provide comfort and encouragement and help you better understand and manage your anxiety.
Conquering anxiety requires effort and patience, and embracing discomfort is a powerful tool for overcoming anxiety. By exposing ourselves to the things that trigger our anxiety, practicing mindfulness, and seeking support from others, we can develop resilience and conquer our fears. So, instead of running away from discomfort, embrace it and use it to grow stronger. Remember to be kind to yourself and take things one step at a time on your quest to embrace discomfort and conquer your anxiety.
Written by: Julie Bradley
Julie Bradley is an experienced counselor who has helped numerous patients overcome anxiety and lead happy and productive lives. Her work with Harmony Ridge Recovery Center gave her insight into addiction and various mental health issues, which she loves to share and help those in need.