Your brain is the control room of the body, this means your brain controls everything, including the body, it’s functions, how you feel and think. By training your brain, you can learn techniques and principles that will enable you to overcome the underlying cause of depression and anxiety.
Anxiety, simply put, is an advanced level of worry. It is worry that has evolved into a constant, worst-case scenarios and what ifs spinning round the brain with unrelenting nagging, doubts, and fears which drastically saps your emotional energy, sending your anxiety level soaring. Your anxiety, in turn, interferes with your daily life, goals, and relationships.
The good news is this chronic habit can be broken, and in this article you'll explore ways you can train your brain to fight anxiety, stay calm and see life from a more positive perspective. But in order to do this, you must realize a few things. Let me take you through the journey of training your brain to fight anxiety.
"Your focus determines your reality."
- Be aware
- Think about what you are thinking about
The first step in combating anxiety comprises of a different focus. Be aware of your thoughts. Think about what you are thinking about and do not let your thoughts control you anymore. Control your thoughts. To keep things in check, you can even start a diary if can. Implement a system of categorizing your thoughts. If one of those completely negative thoughts comes into your mind, catalog it and designate it as negative, one you should not be indulged in.
While doing this, bear in mind that conquering your thoughts is not just a game that can be played when you feel like it. It is a commitment for life, this means, once you start you cannot afford to stop.
2. ASSIGN A TIMEFRAME TO WORRY
One of the ultimate means of controlling anxiety is through postponement, and this is the best way to achieving it.
It's almost impossible to be productive in anything you're doing when anxiety is eating up a big chunk of your thoughts. Getting yourself distracted or telling yourself to stop the worry doesn't really do the job - at least not for long.
So what can be done about this?
Here's the catch!
Rather than trying to get rid of these worries, grant yourself the permission to have it, but postpone it until later.
The first step in combating anxiety using this approach is to create a time to worry. Probably the time and place should be between 5:00 to 5:30 pm and in the comfort of your bedroom, just make sure the timeframe is a bit early, so it won't make you anxious right before you head to bed.
The next step to have in mind is the postponement process, when it's not yet time, if an anxious thought pops into your head, you can make a list of it and then continue about your day. Bearing in mind that you'll have time to think about it later, so there's absolutely no need to get all anxious or worry about it right now.
During your worry period - It's now time to let the worry loose, go over your list and allow yourself to worry about any and everything also having a strict rule for the time frame. And in days when you have nothing, or you're short of things to worry about, happily skip the period and enjoy the rest of your day.
This has been one of the most effective ways of breaking the habit of worry or dwelling on anxious thoughts instead of having a productive day of course. Since there's no desire of suppressing and completely battling against anxiety, you slowly get to have absolute control over the situation.
3. WORRY / PROBLEM SOLVING
Yes, these are completely two different things, and although problem-solving involves evaluating the situation, it does not dwell on it. While trying to find a solution, you first come up with concrete steps and then put those steps into action.
If an anxious thought swims into your head, do well to ask yourself whether you can actually come up with a solution for it. Worrying seldom leads to solutions, no matter how much time you waste on it.
In cases where anxiety has taken over to a serious level, like when you find yourself facing imaginary what-ifs and unrealistic worst case scenarios, depression is knocking and opting for depression therapy is truly a wise decision. "What if I get into an accident?" or "What if I lose everything, money, job, my house" or "What if I'm diagnosed with cancer someday?" - These are completely unsolvable unrealistic worries, and you must learn to avoid them.
When dealing with worries, try to identify if there's a solution or not, and if there's a solution, you can take action right away instead of contemplating and dwelling on them.
Learn to accept your feelings, own your worries, and you'll be in control of the situation.
4. CHALLENGE ANXIOUS THOUGHTS
Yes, it's a fight, and you're training your brain on how to conquer this chronic anxiety or worries.
You have to combat the fact that you look at the world in ways that make it seem much more threatening than it really is. You discredit your ability to handle life's problems, generalize things from a single negative experience, and have a mental filter that completely focused on negativity.
In training your brain to give up this habit, you have to start by identifying those things that scare, worries and stir the anxiety in you. Now, after identifying them, instead of treating them as facts, see them as mere hypotheses you're testing out, and as you continue to challenge them this way, you'll develop a more balanced perspective.
5. CHALLENGING INTOLERANCE OF UNCERTAINTY
You have to accept the fact that thinking about the future and worrying about it doesn't really change it. Trying to control the future, because you predicted that things are about to go wrong is impossible. You can't change the outcome by worrying about it.
Stop getting worried over uncertainties for this is the key to anxiety relief.
After reading this piece, I'll recommend that you start your journey of overcoming anxiety and depression now. With a therapist you will see additional benefits as it will help you uncover underlying issues including past or childhood trauma and you see the results even faster.
As you start counseling and remain consistent, you will discover that you are doing better every day. Soon enough the innate mental capabilities of your brain will start to take over, and you will start to recognize new, empowering ways to bring order to the chaos of your mind and thoughts.
Well, that's it. It's now time to take control of your thoughts.