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 a 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 and how to get rid of anxiety becomes one of the main focuses of their lives.
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.
Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their lives. The difference is in how we react to it. For some, the idea of public speaking or exceeding the speed limit causes feelings of crippling fear. For others, that kind of anxiety is exhilarating and they have no desire to get rid of anxiety because it serves a purpose.
How do you react when you feel anxious? Do you often wonder how to beat anxiety that is not serving you? Here we’ll cover some relief techniques that can help you better understand how to get rid of anxiety as well as discover its underlying causes. Remember, everyone deals with fear differently. It’s how you train yourself to handle anxiety that makes all the difference.
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What causes anxiety?
Before you can learn how to get over anxiety, you first have to understand what it is. Broadly speaking, anxiety is a person’s excessive, persistent fear or worry in non-threatening situations. Anxiety can come from specific triggers, like flying in an airplane or speaking in public, or manifest in generalized fear and worry about small, everyday triggers. Anxiety can also manifest in a number of different ways such as shortness of breath, sweating, sleep problems, muscle tension and tremors. Those who have persistent anxiety can have trouble concentrating, have an impending sense of disaster and feel jumpy or restless.
The causes of anxiety aren’t always clear and they can be different from person to person. Genetic and environmental factors can both play a part, as can conditioned responses and limiting beliefs that were developed in childhood. Those who want to learn how to beat anxiety for good should work with a therapist or health coach to dig deeper into the causes of their feelings. However, in the meantime, these tips can also provide some relief.
How to get over anxiety: Use your fear before it uses you
One of the best ways to learn how to beat 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
Stymied by a tough decision? Some forms of anxiety are situational, meaning they stem from a certain event and go away once the problem is resolved. In these cases, it’s not a matter of how to beat anxiety. Instead, it’s a matter of how to make a good decision quickly. Try using the Rocking Chair Test, one of Tony’s go-to methods for dealing with anxiety related to indecision. 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 of the decision?
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
If your fears are keeping you from living an extraordinary life, it’s time to learn how to get rid of anxiety. 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. Don’t let your fear hold you back. Instead, think of it as a factor that pushes you to achieve the things you really want in life. 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.
This is a shift in mindset that will not only help you learn how to get over anxiety, but will also help you establish empowering beliefs that turn negatives into positives. When you realize that your fears – either real or imagined – are less scary than not hitting your objective, you’ll be driven to act.
3. Dance with your anxiety
For some people, how to get rid of anxiety is not possible or even necessary. If you are able to use the energy of anxiety and fear to move yourself forward, you can turn anxiety into a positive. 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 over 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.
Anxiety doesn’t have to be a limitation. Instead, it can serve as a factor to push you forward. Rather than approaching a situation with an “I’m so anxious” mantra, you can flip that nervous negativity into positive energy by training yourself to embrace rather than run from whatever it is that’s producing your anxiety.
4. Change your physical state
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 and get rid of anxiety? The answer could be as simple as changing your physical state. Lift your chest a little higher, get up and dance or go for a walk. Most of us look for what’s wrong in our world. When we look for what’s wrong, we’ll always find it. However, there is plenty of what’s right in the world as well. Changing your physical state means changing your focus and, as Tony says, where focus goes, energy flows. A simple change in scenery or getting your heart rate up can often be enough to give you the clarity you need to learn how to beat anxiety.
5. Use the 90-second rule
When you feel tension and want to get rid of anxiety, try Tony’s 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 becoming anxious, 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.
Align your head and your heart through heart breathing, feel your issue for 90 seconds, figure it out and then change your focus and let it go. Allow yourself 90 seconds to feel self-pity or fear or anger or worry. Once those 90 seconds are up though, it’s time to move on for good and accept that those feelings are in the past. Continue working on moving toward your goal regardless of your emotions. Once you do this enough times, you will find that how to get rid of anxiety becomes an easier endeavor as you’re accepting the feelings instead of pushing them away.
6. Strengthen your support system
Who you spend time with has an enormous impact on your mindset and how you deal with emotions. If you have a healthy relationship and supportive friends, you’re much more likely to deal with stress well and maintain a positive outlook on life. However, even if you do have a good support system, you can always strengthen it. If you want to find ways for how to get over anxiety, consider working with a health coach. Not only can a coach help you uncover the reasons for your anxiety and help you get rid of anxiety for good, they can help you develop habits and beliefs that will increase your fulfillment in all areas of life.
Don’t beat yourself up for feeling anxious. Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their lives and the goal is to handle it successfully so it does not negatively impact your happiness. Recognize that although fear may be part of your story and you may never figure out how to beat anxiety, you have the control and drive you need to succeed anyway.
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.
Discover how to harness feelings that empower you
Do not let the effects of anxiety prevent you from living the extraordinary life you deserve. Learn ways to identify and conquer the beliefs that inhibit your growth with Tony Robbins’ Limiting Beliefs guide.