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What is anxiety? How can I treat anxiety?

What you will get from this article:

  • Understand that everyone feels anxiety on some level
  • Learn 5 effective methods to help you cope with anxiety
  • Discover Tony Robbins’ personal philosophy on what it means to be anxious
  • Find the knowledge you need to continue pursuing your goals even when anxiety strikes

Have you ever been so afraid you couldn’t move? Have you ever felt this sense of fear or panic, even when you know it’s not rational? Extreme fear makes us freeze, but what happens when that fear never goes away? For people who are anxious, scared or fearful, everyday tasks can feel impossible to handle.

But anxiety is just another way we make meaning of the world around us; what makes one person anxious might spur another to new heights. For example, Tony Robbins has worked with both Carly Simon and Bruce Springsteen. Both felt the same kinds of physical sensations when they became anxious. For Carly anxiety was crippling, but for Bruce, it made him feel more alive.

How do you react when you feel anxious? Here we’ll cover some anxiety relief techniques that can help you better understand how to get rid of these feelings as well as unpack their underlying causes. Remember, everyone deals with fear differently. It’s how you train yourself to handle anxiety that makes all the difference.

how to get rid of anxiety man sitting alone in woods

What causes anxiety?

Broadly speaking, anxiety is a person’s excessive, persistent fear or worry in nonthreatening situations. Anxiety can come from specific triggers, like needing to ride in an airplane or speak in public, or manifest in generalized fear and worry about small, everyday triggers going on around them. The causes of anxiety aren’t always clear, and they can be different from person to person, but you can learn more about how it manifests itself, or the symptoms of anxiety, here.

How to treat anxiety? Use your fear before it uses you

One of the best ways to learn how to get rid of anxiety is to understand how to leverage fear. It’s not that successful people are never afraid; it’s that they are more afraid of not living a full, rich life than they are of whatever else might be holding them back. Instead of being crippled by fear and anxiety, they use that fear to push them further toward their goals. Here are some tips from Tony to help you push past your anxiety toward greater success:

1. Use the rocking chair test

how to get rid of anxiety rocking chair on porch

Stymied by a tough decision? Not sure if what seems impossible is worth the risk? Use the Rocking Chair Test, one of Tony’s go-to methods for dealing with anxiety. The Rocking Chair Test is simple: Take a moment and imagine yourself at 85 years old. You’re in your rocking chair, reflecting on how you’ve lived. Imagine your life if you did whatever it is that makes you anxious or fearful; maybe it’s changing careers, learning to fly a helicopter or taking a trip somewhere new. How do you feel? What’s your life been like as a result?

Now, continue envisioning yourself later on in life, and this time, examine how your life looks without achieving the thing that makes you anxious or fearful. This is the path where your fears dominate you. Do you look back and feel like you missed out? Do you have regrets or sadness? Wish you’d made different choices? Compare the feelings from both possibilities and use that emotion to make your choice. After this exercise, you’ll feel conviction in your decision one way or another.

2. Find something even more frightening

Full of fear and “what ifs” that keep you immobilized? Once you become more fearful of not taking action, then what scares you feels less daunting. Be more scared of settling for less, be afraid of living a life that’s far below what you deserve or desire. It can be difficult, but challenge yourself to push past the fears holding you back and embolden yourself to be more afraid of not achieving your goals. When you realize that your fears, be they rooted in logic or imagined, are less scary than not hitting your objective, you’ll be driven to act.

3. Dance with your anxiety

Use the energy of anxiety and fear to move yourself forward, not hold you back. Remember, you don’t have to feel good to be productive. Tony’ trained himself to say, “I can be fearful and do it anyway. I don’t have to get rid of the fear, I just have to dance with it.” While you may not ever know how to get rid of anxiety completely, you can develop the knowledge and skills you need to move forward when you feel yourself being swept up in moments of anxiety-related fear or panic. When you train your brain to accept that you’re afraid but move forward anyway, it doesn’t matter if you’re fearful – you have a freedom that most people don’t have.

how to get rid of anxiety girl on mountaintop

4. Change your physical state

how to treat anxiety girl with arms open

Those who have experienced anxiety know that it can quickly spiral out of control, leaving you trembling, sweating or finding it difficult to breathe. Feeling internally anxious greatly affects your physical being. How can you combat this? Change your physical state. Changing your physical state can be as simple as priming, lifting your chest a little higher, or getting up and dancing. Most of us look for what’s wrong in our world; what’s wrong is always available. But remember: what’s right is also there. It’s how you control your focus.

When you feel tension, pain, stress, or anxiety, try Tony’s 90-second rule. You align your head and your heart through heart breathing, feel your issue for 90 seconds, figure it out, and let it go.

5. Use the 90-second rule

If you expect to never feel anxious or fearful again, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Everyone feels fear or anxiety to some degree. You can’t change the fact that stressful moments in life happen, but you can decide to move past them and control your emotions. The next time you feel yourself seizing up in a panic, use the 90-second rule. The 90-second rule is one of Tony Robbins’ natural remedies for anxiety. Accept that you feel fearful in the moment and look at a timer or clock; you have 90 seconds to feel terrible. You are allowed to give yourself 90 seconds to feel self-pity or fear or anger or worry or whatever feelings surface. Once those 90 seconds are up though, it’s time to move on for good. After the 90 seconds have passed, you need to accept that those feelings are in the past and you’re working on moving toward your goal, regardless of your emotions.

Don’t beat yourself up for feeling anxious – everyone handles anxiety at some point in their lives, some people just do so more frequently than others. Recognize that although anxiety may be part of your story, you have the control and drive you need to succeed anyway.

Important Note

The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. See full disclaimer.