Want to beat anxiety? This could really help…
Anxiety is like that bitchy friend you always seem to bump into. The one that’s impossible to relax around.
One minute you’re feeling fine, the next its clammy hands, a racing heartbeat and a rush of thoughts catapulting through your brain at million miles an hour.
And its becoming more and more common. Or at least we’re talking about it more. 1 in 6 adults suffer with the condition, according to AnxietyUK, so if you’re struggling you’re not alone.
But the more we talk about it, the more ways we can find to deal with it. And this might be the simplest way yet. There are two words that can really help when it comes to reducing anxiety and stress levels. And it’s a simple as saying “thank you”.
A quick ‘thank you’ is the easiest way to show gratitude towards another person, a social exchange which is proven to increase feelings of closeness. Anxious people are often more introspective, but positive social interactions with others can have a calming effect. Even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing at the time.
Two psychologists at the University of British Columbia recently performed an experiment to measure how acts of kindness can combat social anxiety.
A group of students suffering with anxiety were divided into three groups. The first group was asked to engage in three acts of kindness a day, two days a week, over a month.
These ‘acts of kindness’ could be anything from donating to a charity to doing the washing up for a housemate or friend.
The second group were told to engage in social situations that didn’t necessarily involve showing any kindness. For example, asking a stranger for the time or chatting with a neighbour. The third group, the control, was simply asked to keep a diary of personal events.
The results were clear. The first group “experienced a greater overall reduction in avoidance goals”. Meaning that after the experiment they felt calmer in future social situations.
Those who are thankful and express gratitude generally tend to experience higher levels of optimism, which has been widely linked to helping alleviate anxiety and depression. So next time you’re feeling stressed out, try if possible to put a positive spin on the past events or future outcomes you’re worrying about. You might not necessarily believe it at the time, but it might just help to calm you down.
To find out more about dealing with aniexty, head to www.anxietyuk.org.uk.
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