It may be a controversial statement, but anxiety has become trendy – almost fashionable. We’ve reached a point where people claim to have anxiety almost like it is a badge of honor.
Across different types of media, you can find people claiming that they have anxiety or an anxiety disorder when all they’re really struggling with is basic nervousness.
- On Twitter, people claim that being slightly nervous about a test, or worrying about a meeting with their boss is the same as having serious anxiety.
- Celebrities are coming out with stories of their “panic attacks.” Yet these stories usually just involve feeling uncomfortable or nervous on a plane, or struggling with mild but not debilitating stage fright.
- In person, someone will experience a scary situation (like swerving away from a speeding car) and be quick to shout “wow, I almost had a panic attack!”
More and more people are treating anxiety as if it is something to be proud of, not something that is overwhelming.
Why do we bring this up in an article about an anxiety recovery formula?
No one should ever be ashamed of their anxiety. Anxiety is incredibly common, and not something that anyone has control over.
But it is also not some casual condition. You don’t just get it on a whim.
It is not the same thing as being nervous in normal situations that make most people nervous.
It is not something that causes people to say “Ha! I’m having a lot of anxiety lol.” People that experience anxiety do not enjoy it. They’re not happy about it. Anxiety is immensely difficult. It causes people to live life under this constant cloud of stress, tension, and fear. No one wants to live with anxiety.
It may be trendy for celebrities to claim they have anxiety. Some of them do.
But we know – those with anxiety know – that anxiety is profoundly difficult. It is something that those with anxiety struggle with each and every day. It is unapologetically challenging, a condition that affects every part of your life.
And it is because of that difficulty that those with anxiety often find themselves seeking out some type of anxiety recovery formula. Anxiety is not fashionable. Anxiety is awful. That’s why those with anxiety look for treatments.
Create Your Own Anxiety Recovery Formula
Anxiety is a curable condition. You can cure your anxiety. It is something that your brain learns over years, and it is something that can be “unlearned” with the right techniques.
But anxiety also causes some issues that stand in the way of treatment:
- It makes people impatient. Anxiety is so challenging that few people want to use a long term anxiety reduction strategy. They want it to hurry.
- It is reflexive. Even if you start to improve on your anxiety, it will come back now and then, and for many that makes them give up and want to try something new.
It’s these issues that often stand in the way of people selecting the treatment that will work best for them, in order to find a solution that sounds easier or faster.
The truth is that there is no one recovery formula. Every single option available is just an experiment to see if it works for you. There are some more effective treatments (like cognitive behavioral therapy) and some scam treatments (like homeopathic medicine), but most of the rest exist in some large gray area – where they are effective for many, but not for all. Whether it is:
- A Vitamin Marketed for Anxiety
- An Anxiety Book Sold on a Website
- A YouTube Video Series
There are countless examples of questionable but possibly effective anxiety recovery formulas out there that may work, but cost money and are not backed by much specific science. That is not to say they are bad. Many are very effective for reducing anxiety. But they are also not of a one size fits all approach. Some people will find benefit, others won’t.
That’s why the following is a list of some of the strategies you can use to create your own personal anxiety recovery formula. Some will work. Others will not. It’s okay if something you try doesn’t work the way you expected.
However, it is important that you commit yourself to whatever actions you decide to undertake. NOTHING – not even anxiety medicine or therapy – works right away. There is no herb or supplement that will cure anxiety. There is no forum, shot, or meditation that is going to make anxiety suddenly go away. Everything with anxiety takes time. With that in mind, the following are some of the strategies worth trying.
The Keys to Eliminating Anxiety
Before you can even begin to reduce anxiety, you’ll need to accept that you have it. By accept, we do not mean that you have been pretending you do not have anxiety. If you are like many people that have experienced severe anxiety, you’ve likely already accepted that it is something that is happening to you.
In this case, what we mean by accept is letting go of this idea that you can simply fight this anxiety away. This is especially common with panic attacks. Someone that has panic attacks will often avoid places where they experienced panic, hoping to control it. They may also try to stop panic attacks when they are happening.
But anxiety doesn’t often work that way. Certainly, there are tricks that you can do to reduce the frequency or severity of your panic attacks, but there is no way to simply turn them off or fight them away. When one is coming, it’s going to come, and like all panic attacks before it, it will eventually stop.
It’s the same with anxiety. You may feel your anxiety increase and try to fight those anxious thoughts, but if you are anxious then you are anxious. It is rare that there is some specific thing you can do to stop it.
Yet what you need to learn is that that is okay. Yes, you have anxiety. For now. That means that you are going to have panic attacks or anxiety attacks, or some other symptom. That’s okay. Just because you can’t fight it away now doesn’t mean you won’t be able to later.
There are many reasons that this mindset is so important:
- Fighting Anxiety is a Losing Battle – First, fighting anxiety doesn’t control anxiety. You generally cannot stop these attacks from occurring. Learning to accept and embrace that anxiety is how you start to train yourself to float through it – to get through the attack, and move on with your life after.
- Fighting Anxiety is Stressful – Anxiety, panic, and depression are all related to stress. Fighting your emotions is also stressful. Thus, when you try to fight anxiety, you are often giving yourself more anxiety – you’re creating stress in your mind and body that fuels the severity of your current anxiety symptoms.
- Fearing Anxiety Causes Anxiety – One of the reasons that you may find yourself fighting anxiety is because you fear anxiety. Who wouldn’t? Anxiety is so overwhelming and stressful that it is easy to be afraid of anxiety symptoms. However, that fear only serves to trigger more anxiety. That’s why learning to accept it and EMBRACE it can be so advantageous.
It’s not just a mental exercise either. Studies have shown that those that are more accepting of their own anxiety may actually start to reduce it. They start to recover. It’s not a trick that works for everyone, and there are always good and bad days, but it is something that can have powerful benefits as part of any anxiety recovery formula.
Taking Care of Yourself Holistically
There are nutritional supplements, exercises (like yoga), and dietary restrictions that millions of people claim help with anxiety. Do they work? Probably not. There are likely some dietary changes, specific exercises, etc., that have some potential to improve anxiety, but on their own it is unlikely that you will find a huge cure.
That said, taking care of yourself in a full, general sense IS known to help improve anxiety and make it easier to recover. That is because:
- Physically Healthy, Emotionally Healthy – We spoke earlier about the effects of stress on anxiety, and how fighting it causes stress which increases anxiety symptoms. Stress is not only mental. When you are not feeling well physically, it causes stress on the body which then converts to mental stress. When you eat healthier, exercise, and take care of yourself, you reduce stress and improve physical stress coping. This, in turn, provides a natural stress reduction.
- Look Good, Feel Good – When you take care of yourself, you’ll find that you love yourself more. You’ll love your looks, you’ll love your health, you’ll love the way your stomach feels after a meal – you will quickly find that you care about yourself more than you ever thought you could.
- Positive Experiences – Exercises and eating healthy simply provide positive experiences. Few people regret going for a nice walk, or eating a healthy meal. It’s a positive experience about caring for yourself that can simply be beneficial for those with anxiety.
In addition, while it is unlikely there is a specific diet, supplement, or exercise that cures anxiety, there are reasons to believe that it is healthy for you to care for yourself inside and out, with vitamins, minerals, and more. A holistic plan to address that is valuable.
Become Closer to Friends
There are multiple scientific studies that show that deep and fulfilling friendships create a sense of calm, happiness, confidence, and reduced stress/anxiety. Maybe you have some deep friends already that you can get to know better, or perhaps you do not have many close friendships at all. No matter your situation, it helps to find a way to prioritize building and maintaining truly emotionally deep friendships as best you can.
For those with social anxiety, shyness, or awkwardness, finding friends may be difficult. It’s okay to start slow, and utilize other ideas within your own anxiety recovery formula. But prioritizing the building of deep emotional friendships with upbeat people is very useful as an anxiety recovery formula.
Have a Daily Positive Activity
We talk at length about how important it is to commit to a change. Commitment is so important for overcoming anxiety, because it will not go away overnight, nor will it go away without coming back once in a while along the way.
That’s why it is so important to have something in your life that you do every day as a reminder to keep at it to cure your anxiety. That is also why it is important that that reminder has anxiety reduction benefits.
Many people like the idea of affirmations. Every day, they stand in front of the mirror, and they say positive things to themselves, like “I am confident and stress free.”
Others are partial to positive journaling. Every day they write down the positive things that happened to them as a reminder that not everything is negative or anxiety related.
Still others prefer workbooks or worksheets of some kind so that they can write out their thoughts and perform new actions for their anxiousness.
You may have your own strategy.
But no matter what it is, it is important that your strategy is daily, and that it reminds you of your commitment to beating your anxiety. This way, you are tasked with prioritizing your anxiety recovery above everything else, and never getting too complacent about your recovery.
Find the Actions You Will Most Commit To
Notice that we did not specifically point out which actionable activities can best cure anxiety. That’s because there are so many out there, and each person’s response to those activities is different.
What you should find, however, is which actions that you find most valuable and that you’re willing to do the most. For example, perhaps you’re a big fan of worksheets. Integrate anxiety reduction worksheets into your life and do them as described, and you might see a decrease in your anxiety.
But if you’re not a fan of worksheets, perhaps look for a different methodology instead.
Remember, it’s not always about what you pick. Rather, it’s about how much what you pick speaks to you for the long term, because it takes a long time to see results from any effective anxiety recovery formula. Find the activities and treatment strategies that you are most willing to commit to, and those are the ones most likely to provide you the best benefits.
Reframe Your Surroundings
Negativity is contagious. Our emotions are incredibly sensitive to what we surround ourselves with both physically and mentally.
It is with that in mind that those with anxiety should consider running an evaluation on the things that they have in their life:
- The memories they are saving.
- The people they spend time with.
- The quality of their work.
- The style of their music or TV.
- The hobbies they engage in, and so on.
It is important that you take inventory about all of these different components of your life, and try to determine what is helping you overcome your anxiety, and what is not.
For example, many people have close friends that are very negative and judgmental. They may be fun and interesting, but they cause anxiety because they bring negative emotions into your life. It may be time to consider how much this friendship helps your anxiousness.
Others may find that they are on Facebook too much and they are overwhelmed with anxiety by what people post. Or they may find that they listen to loud, angry music which causes them to feel stressed, even though they enjoy the music. Or they may watch depressing dramas on TV that make them feel sad.
Figuring out what it is that you’re surrounding yourself with and looking for ways to surround yourself with positive emotions can be very advantageous. This includes music that makes you feel happy, photos of people you love around your home, hiding people that post negative posts on Twitter and Facebook, etc.
Pick and choose to make your life about emotions and experiences that help you with anxiety and happiness, rather than those that do not.
Educate Yourself on Anxiety
Anxiety is scary. Not only does it feel like you are fearful of a situation, but it also causes symptoms and feelings that are hard to understand.
For example, panic attacks cause chest pains that can lead to people feeling as though they’re having a heart attack. What causes chest pains?
Obsessive compulsive disorder leads to persistent, intrusive thoughts on things like sexual violence, despite having no desire to be violent – leading to people wondering if they are a violent person. Why are these thoughts happening?
Phobias cause people to feel intense fears about things that are otherwise fearful. What causes these phobias and how are they stopped?
All of these questions are valid. They also have answers. Decades of in-depth research have helped people figure out the who, what, where, why, and hows of anxiety. And knowledge is power. Chest pains are caused by hyperventilation, so learning how to breathe can decrease the pain. Obsessions are triggered specifically by the distress that the thoughts create. Phobias are often formed through childhood and can be decreased with exposure. All of your questions have very real, very effective answers.
In addition, that knowledge can help you decrease your anxiety symptoms. If you have chest pains during a panic attack, you won’t be as prone to wondering why you have the chest pain – you’ll know it’s because you’re hyperventilating. That may not stop the panic attack or the fear, but it does help reframe your experience.
Researching and understanding anxiety is a great way to start learning what you can do to control it and how you can reduce it. Do not just limit yourself to “5 tips to cure anxiety” articles. Be a student of anxiety – someone that goes out of their way to create an in-depth knowledge of what anxiety is and how it works.
If you are interested, you can start with our anxiety guide, which can help you navigate through all 700 pages of this site to start finding the information that is most interesting to you.
The Perfect Formula for Anxiety
If you’ve read through the above information, you’ll notice that there isn’t some recovery formula for anxiety that you can simply take and it’s gone. If you want a quick fix, you should talk to your doctor about medicines, as medicine – despite its bad reputation – can eliminate anxiety temporarily at least as long as you continue to take the medicine.
It’s just that medicine is not a cure. Just as there is no herbal supplement, vitamin, or mix of natural ingredients that can simply make anxiety go away forever. Anyone peddling a true formula mixture to you is trying to sell you a scam.
Instead, your own recovery formula is one that you create yourself based on what you’re able to commit to and the exercises that you’re willing to complete. With so many different ways to treat anxiety, and so many different anxiety experiences, there are many different techniques out there that are effective for some, ineffective for others. Take the time to evaluate the ones that you prefer the most, and then choose the formula that are you’re most ready to commit to.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Jan 23, 2018.