Anxiety is a common mental health issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Anxiety is a normal part of life, and everyone experiences it at some point. However, when anxiety becomes chronic, it can have a significant impact on an individual’s daily life. We tread into the realm of chronic anxiety when persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry sticks around for 6+ months. Letting anxiety go unchecked can even lead to physical symptoms such as muscle tension, fatigue, and headaches. So at this point you may be wondering exactly how to reduce anxiety.
Well such a condition is complex and serious, and so requires the help of a professional therapist to treat completely. However, here’s a “right now” solution to help you stop anxiety in its tracks and start your journey to healing.
How To Reduce Anxiety With Our 3 CBT-Based Mind Hacks
In this article, we will explore three CBT-backed mind hacks that you can use to reduce anxiety in your life today. These hacks are easy to implement and can be done in the comfort of your own home. By using these techniques, you can take control of your anxiety and improve your overall well-being.
The 5-5-5 Technique
You may roll your eyes at the first mention of mindfulness from hearing about it everywhere. However, it’s overwhelmingly popular for a reason. Mindfulness is the practice of being present and aware of the present moment without judgment. Practicing mindfulness can help reduce anxiety by allowing you to focus on the present and not worry about the future or ruminate about the past. Simple mindfulness techniques include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery. One you can do by yourself right this second is the 5-5-5 method.
The 5-5-5 technique of mindfulness is a simple and effective way to bring awareness to the present moment and reduce anxiety. The technique involves paying attention to five things you can see, five things you can hear, and five things you can feel, in the present moment. This technique works by shifting your focus away from negative thoughts and bringing you back to the present moment. This can be done anywhere and at any time, whether you are at home, at work or on public transport. By focusing your attention on the present moment, you can reduce the power of negative thoughts and emotions, and improve your overall well-being. It’s a quick and easy technique that can be used whenever you start feeling anxious, or to start your day with a mindful attitude.
Reframing Negative Thoughts
Anxiety often stems from negative thoughts and beliefs. Reframing is a cognitive technique that involves looking at a situation or thought in a different way. This can help reduce anxiety by challenging negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive and realistic ones.
Reframing negative thoughts is a cognitive technique that can be used to reduce anxiety by challenging and changing the way you think. It involves identifying negative thoughts and beliefs that are contributing to your anxiety and then looking at the situation in a different way. This can help to reduce the power of negative thoughts and to see things in a more positive and realistic light.
For example, if you have a negative thought such as “I’m going to fail this test,” you could reframe it to “I may not do as well as I hope, but I’ve studied and I’ll do my best.” By reframing your thoughts, you can change the way you feel and reduce your anxiety. This technique can be used in combination with other cognitive and behavioral techniques to help manage anxiety. It’s important to note that reframing takes practice, and it may be helpful to work with a therapist to develop this skill.
Confuse Your Anxious Thoughts With The Opposite Behavior
If the last hack changed your thoughts to reduce anxiety, this one does so through changing your behavior. Anxiety, especially if it has become an automatic response in our lives, can come on suddenly. If at the start, you have trouble reframing like the last point suggests, then it might be a good idea to hack your behavior until you lower your anxiety. At least to the point at which you can start to reframe those thoughts.
A classic hallmark trait of anxiety is spiraling. You feel anxiety, then start noticing the negative thoughts that justify those feelings, and your behavior starts escalating. You might even start to notice physical signs – the jitters, tension, sweats and so on. Those then may lead you to even more catastrophic thoughts, which lead to worse physical signs, and on it goes until for some people a panic attack happens.
What if you took this cognitive-behavioral spiral and flipped it on its head? If you feel yourself spiraling, force a smile, breathe calm and deep, talk smoothly and calmly. It may feel silly at first and maybe even inauthentic, but stick with it. What happens when you realize your anxious thoughts don’t line up with your behavior? Well, it’ll be a shock to your system and help to reduce anxiety in the moment. This can turn your thoughts around from justifying the negative and anxious thoughts to “if I’m calm and happy outside, why am I having these thoughts? I’m clearly not anxious right now.” This turns the tides and helps you further cement your cool and calm behaviors which reinforce the calming positive thoughts and create a spiral, but in the right direction.
How To Reduce Anxiety Even Further
I hope these 3 cbt-backed tools help you keep anxiety at bay and feel on top of your life again. However, these are only tools to help you manage anxiety. Not exactly a full solution. Every individual is unique, so there’s no one-size-fits-all fix for anxiety or any other mental struggle. Please note that these are just a few examples of mind hacks to reduce anxiety. It doesn’t matter if you’re in Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, or anywhere in the country. Ultimately, you’ll need to consult a therapist for a specific treatment plan tailored to your needs. So make sure to contact a therapist who can work alongside you to develop a plan as unique as you are!
Are you in Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Juno Beach, West Palm Beach, Tequesta or any of the surrounding areas? Contact me and let’s connect! I’m Jessica Harrison LCSW and I’ve been helping people from all walks of life work through their struggles, heal, and grow into the person they want to be. Feel free to learn a bit about me and how I work with people here. Ready to trade out constant anxiety for constant growth? Call me at (954) 600-6695 and let’s start you on the path of healing today!