here are so many practical ways to relieve anxiety quickly. These include mindfulness, meditation, having a relaxing bath, or having a massage. They’re all great to do, but they only deal with the symptoms, not the root mental causes.
Thinking and Imagining what could go wrong
To be anxious, you have to imagine or think about something in the future going badly. If you think it will go well or normally, then you won’t feel anxious. You will probably feel confident instead. Look back on past events or things you were anxious about. How did they actually turn out? – My guess is probably okay.
Now think about something that you’re anxious about in the future. Based on previous events, how do you think it will turn out? Probably okay as well.
Here is an example to help you understand this. Recently, I was at Abu Dhabi Airport waiting for my luggage. I had been waiting for 10 or 15 minutes and most people already had their bags by this time. I started thinking, “I don’t think my bag is going to turn up.” Then, “what if” questions such as “what happens if my bag doesn’t turn up?”. Then more thoughts like “how am I going to deal with that?”
I realized that this thinking was making me feel anxious, so I reminded myself that I’ve been on about 70 flights over the last 20 years. On every flight, the bags have always turned up! – That’s the most likely outcome.
If I had kept thinking about the bag not turning up, that was just going to make me more anxious. So instead, I started thinking about the bag turning up. I even visualized it showing up on the conveyor belt! For those next 5 to 10 minutes while I was waiting for the bag, I felt more comfortable and more relaxed. Sure enough, the bag did show up, which was what I was expecting all along.
Here are some tips to help you relieve anxiety quickly by changing your focus of attention.
Spend time consciously focusing on how you would like something to go. It doesn’t have to be super-positive. Turning out okay is fine. A good time to do this is first thing in the morning when you get up.
When you feel anxious, notice what you are imagining or saying to yourself. Then, ask yourself, “Is thinking or imagining this going to make you feel any better?” Questioning is really powerful. It gets your mind to focus on the solution.
Imagine going 45 minutes into the successful completion of whatever it is you’re worried about. Notice what you notice, and notice how you feel when you do that.
Ask yourself, “How likely is the worst case scenario?” If the worst case scenario is quite likely, then make plans to deal with it, so you have a contingency. If it’s highly unlikely, then it’s much better to stop focusing on it and to focus on something else instead. Remember, 95% of what you fear or worry about never happens! You need to have this distinction in your mind as to what is probable (likely to happen) and what is possible but unlikely to happen.