Seven Things to Avoid When You're Feeling Anxious

Feeling anxious is part of life. However, you can keep it from controlling your existence.
Seven Things to Avoid When You're Feeling Anxious

Last update: 26 May, 2021

Many of us are used to hear countless pieces of advice about how to cope when we’re feeling anxious.

Phrases like “don’t take things to heart,” “slow down” or “make changes in your life” are recurrent expressions but, nevertheless, don’t do us much good.

The reason we stop being receptive to this kind of advice is that the mind works at another level. Its focus is quite narrow and excessive worries, negativity, and lack of self-control usually dominate.

In this state, it’s difficult to slow down. Moreover, sometimes we feel exhausted and so out of ourselves that it’s even common to experience an anxiety attack — even during a vacation.

Thus, it’s necessary to know that many of the strategies we use for trying to reduce anxiety are limited to treating the symptoms, but not the root of the problem. We always need the help of professionals along with the therapeutic strategy that best suits our needs.

Likewise, just as it’s helpful to know what to do when we’re feeling anxious, it’s also necessary to be clear about what not to do when we are.

This way we’ll know that internal “demon” better and be able to control, weaken, and keep it from taking control over our lives.

1. Ruminating and brooding about things

A woman feeling anxious.
Anxiety can manifest with physical and psychological symptoms and affects the quality of life without timely control.

 

Anxiety forces us to think differently when we fall into worn-out, negative, and fatalistic states. Moreover, studies such as the one published in 2013 by the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience remind us of the impact of this condition on cognitive processes.

  • Stop and break the cycle of persistent thoughts that take away your peace and stability throughout the day
  • Be conscious of the moment in which thoughts, images, phrases, or memories begin to linger in our minds
  • Once we identify “wandering” thoughts, let’s divert our attention toward something more relaxed and positive

Playing sports, painting mandalas, or having a conversation with someone you trust can be some of the best anxiety coping tips. Likewise, as explained by certain studies such as the one carried out by a team of researchers from Boston University in 2010, practices such as mindfulness can be helpful in the treatment of anxiety.

2. Don’t run or hide from your problems

Perhaps the job causes so much anxiety that we decide to quit. During this time, instead of seeking professional help, let’s rest and not think; tell ourselves that we’ll soon be better.

It’s also possible that problems with our significant others are so great we prefer to spend more time away from home and arrive late… All these behaviors are indirect ways of fleeing from what’s troubling and worrying us.

Instead of avoiding what worries us or running away from it, let’s face it. Let’s not put off until tomorrow the discomfort we feel today. This is because we’ll accumulate more and more worries, anxieties, and frustrations in our minds if we don’t deal with them. Thus, it’ll be like a rolling snowball that’ll eventually grow so much there’ll be no room for anything else.

Anxiety must be confronted and managed, it’ll gaining more power if we shy away from it.

3. Don’t worry about things that haven’t happened yet when you’re feeling anxious

 

A man feeling anxious.

“If I do this, that will happen. Or, if I say this, that will occur. And, for instance, if I change that, what I don’t want to happen will definitely happen…”

If these types of thoughts sound like you, keep in mind that they are the hallmark of the most noxious and debilitating type of anxiety that human beings may suffer. Catastrophic thoughts keep us from living in a full and receptive way.

No one has a crystal ball with which to see what may or may not happen tomorrow. So, focus your attention on the present and control the negativity. 

4. Relax, don’t “monitor” yourself so much…

Those who have suffered more than one anxiety attack fear that it may happen again. Sometimes they worry so much about recurring attacks that their fear actually causes new attacks.

  • We should avoid over-monitoring ourselves, checking our heartbeat, our heart rate, and thinking things like, “If I go in there, I’ll get nervous” or “If I do that, I’ll lose control.”
  • We must be capable of changing this habit and allow ourselves to live openly and confidently while confronting our fears. This is because doing so will allow us to find peace and stability.

5. Don’t try to live without anxiety

A frustrated woman.

 

It’s a common mistake to think that anxiety is an enemy to avoid at all costs.

  • The secret to one of the best anxiety coping tips is to find a balance. It’s acceptable to live with anxiety, but avoid letting it control you. 
  • Understand that anxiety is part of every human being. It helps us survive and keeps us from taking unnecessary risks. It even gives us energy and motivation to obtain what we want.
  • However, it’s time to take action when anxiety transforms into an emotion that paralyzes, controls, and robs us of our happiness.

We must find the root of the problem. We must sit down and have a conversation with ourselves, and transform negative emotions into positive ones. Talk to a therapist if necessary.

6. Don’t be near certain people when you’re feeling anxious

It can seem strange, but on occasions, the focal point of our anxiety can stem from a certain person who sucks away our happiness on a daily basis.

  • That person may be a significant other in a complicated, harmful relationship that transforms us into someone we’re not.
  • It may be a complete situation, such as a work environment in which we’re not fully acclimated.
  • Also, we may feel out of place or vulnerable with our own nuclear family.

The best thing to do in these cases is to identify the focal point of our anxiety and establish possible “escape routes” or actions to take in order to solve the problem.

7. Don’t stop living when you’re feeling anxious

 

A woman about to cry.
People suffering from panic disorder feel sudden and uncontrollable anxiety and fear.

Even though we don’t realize it, anxiety might be stealing your life, will, hope, and even identity. 

  • Anxiety coping tips help us prevent anxiety from turning us into someone else. This could be someone whom we do not like, and who is nothing like the person we were before.
  • Don’t allow this to happen! Don’t let this “identity thief” steal your persona and happiness and leave you with nothing. Take control, grab the reins and search within yourself to find the problem and possible solutions.

Remember that it may be necessary to see a psychologist in order to manage anxiety. Drugs are useful in some cases but must be prescribed by a psychiatrist. A professional should be able to guide you on the best treatment for your particular case in order to manage anxiety.

Note: we recommend consulting a psychologist if you think you might need help managing your anxiety.

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  • Robinson, O. J., Vytal, K., Cornwell, B. R., & Grillon, C. (2013). The impact of anxiety upon cognition: perspectives from human threat of shock studies. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 7, 203.
  • Hofmann, S. G., Sawyer, A. T., Witt, A. A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology, 78(2), 169.