This is the Happy Living Blog, but unfortunately life is not always a bed of roses.
Fear and anxiety are important instincts that can act as a warning sign to keep us safe. But in many situations, these emotions are self-constructed and often irrational thinking. When nervous, your heart rate increases, sweat glands become activated and often a sick feeling occurs in your stomach. This is a result of your adrenal gland releasing powerful hormones like cortisol around your body. If you're experiencing this kind of anxiety when trying something new or stepping out of your comfort zone, you don't want these feelings to hold you back. Examples of this are:
- Talking in front of an audience - Asking someone on a date - A job interview Sometimes a few nerves are fine, and will fire you up with adrenaline for the task. But if anxiety is stopping you in situations like above, you could be missing out on a dream job or your future partner! You can't switch anxiety off, but you can recognise it and start to manage it with the following tips:
Acknowledge the feeling and accept it Stop and recognise the different feelings that occur. Scan your body and make a very quick mental note of how you feel i.e. 'my heart is racing, butterflies in my stomach'... By observing the feelings and accepting them, it will be easier to keep them under control. Override the physical symptoms Feel a space between yourself and the fear. Close your eyes and take several slow, deep breathes. Concentrate on slowing your heart rate. Follow the rise and fall of your chest and make sure you have a smile on your face. By doing this you are overriding the natural symptoms that occur when experiencing fear. Focus on the task in hand Whilst you acknowledge the rush of anxiety through your body, focus your mind on the task at hand. Concentrate on walking through the challenge in your mind. Imagine a successful ending and the feeling of happiness once it's complete. Channel your anxiety into excitement Believe it or not, but the symptoms of fear i.e. increased heart rate and a big release of hormones round your body, also occur when you're excited. Physiologically the effects of fear and excitement are very similar, so it's much easier to harness any small nervous energy and pump yourself up with the will to succeed. Turn it into your advantage. Don't miss out on great opportunities in life! The best way to conquer your fears is by facing them.