Stress creeps up on us all the time. Whether you’re at work, at school, your side hustle, or just in life itself, stress and anxiety can come in all types, but it’s important to manage that sucker and get it under control.
Licensed psychologist Dr. Lauren Hazzouri, PsyD, founder of the online community for young women called #HeyLauren, told us the three ways you can manage anxiety in your life.
Step 1: Manage that stinkin’ thinkin’
Each of us has many thoughts, up to 70,000 per day! The goal is to get so familiar with your thoughts that you can instantly recognize the thoughts making you feel scared or worried. Once you know which thought patterns cause the unwanted feelings, you can change them! If you change how you think, you can change how you feel and how you behave.
"Thoughts lead to feelings and feelings lead to behavior."
Step 2: Take two (minutes to relax!)
Your body cannot be anxious and relaxed at the same time. So, consciously relax your muscles. Taking a couple of minutes to stop, breathe and get present can reduce stress, increase mood and decrease anxiety in an instant. Focus your attention on your breathing, exhale slowly. Scan your body for tension. Loosen the cramped body parts, letting go of anything you’re holding too tightly. Recall a good memory, favorite place or event. Continue to breathe, exhaling slowly. Repeat, as needed.
Step 3: Walk through it—Exposure, exposure, exposure.
If you're afraid of it, you need to do it. It's as simple as that. You cannot will yourself to courage. You have to exercise the emotional muscles that flex when you walk through the fear to overcome it. Avoidance adds to the anxiety by reinforcing it. There's no easier, softer way. You don't need it to be easy and soft. You need it to work and exposure does work. Promise.
"You cannot will yourself to courage."
You are in charge of your own life, don’t let anxiety control you. Take a breath, take action and reflect. Whether you are dealing with an in-the-moment panic attack or facing an anxiety disorder, the feelings you have are normal and treatable. You are not alone! We all get nervous sometimes, we all have freakout moments, and that’s okay. Research tells us that there are an estimated 40 million adults (—women are 60% more likely to be diagnosed than men), who suffer from an anxiety disorder.
At the end of the day know this: you are the creator of your own mind and who you become or who you are is rooted within you. Anxiety is manageable, now go out there and kick some #girlboss ass!