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These Coping Strategies Make Anxiety Worse


By Lynn C. Allison From Newsmax

Sometimes activities that we believe should alleviate our anxiety, can actually make it worse. By avoiding stressful feelings, they become buried deeper and can eventually aggravate tension. Steer clear of these coping mechanisms proven to worsen anxiety, according to HuffPost Life:

• Bingeing. Excessive indulgence in watching television, shopping, or eating junk food are common ways people pacify themselves. But psychotherapist Sadaf Siddiqi says that suppressing our emotions by these actions can lead to poor mental health as well as physical health. “Strong emotions need to be felt, processed and managed,” she says. It’s healthier to take a walk or talk to a friend to relieve stress in a more positive manner. For long-term stress management, focus on healthy food, meditation, adequate sleep, exercise, and therapy.

• Telling yourself to avoid negative thoughts. Therapist Calvin Fitch says that when negative thoughts arise, avoiding them can create a “pink elephant” in your mind that is hard to ignore. Instead, think of your thoughts as boxes on a conveyor belt. As they pass through your mind, open only those boxes that are valid and useful. “When a catastrophic thought arises that has no evidence to support it and/or there is nothing I can do about it right now, I let that box pass,” he says.

• Asking too many people for their opinion. Getting lots of diverse advice from others can lead you away from your own true feelings and judgment. Instead, try sitting in silence and letting the answers come to you naturally. There is wisdom in stillness and silence, say experts.  

• Listening to white noise. For some people, listening to white noise — a mixture of a wide frequency of sound waves — can help them meditate but for others, the sound can be stressful. Listening to a playlist of mellow music may be better to calm the mind and help you relax.

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• Taking on too much. When you are stressed, avoid taking on other responsibilities to distract you from your own worries. Learn to say ‘no’ to nonessential tasks and instead make time for self-care such as walking with a friend, spending time in nature, or meditating. Prioritize your own tasks by ranking them in order of importance.

• Ignoring stress. “Avoidance never works. It just compounds the situation,” says psychologist Jeffrey E. Barnett. He adds that pushing yourself through stress only makes matters worse. Instead, give yourself permission to take a break and do something relaxing. To help prevent stress, exercise regularly, eat healthy meals, get enough rest, and take it easy on yourself.

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