(GivenUs.com) – Anxiety can feel overwhelming and uncomfortable. The natural function of anxiety is to help you avoid dangerous situations and motivate you toward action. But anxiety can become disordered when you begin to worry so much about what might happen that it negatively impacts your life.
Disordered anxiety can lead to panic attacks, trouble breathing, difficulty sleeping and impaired function in your daily life. When this happens, it may feel like your thoughts are attacking you, but the science of neuroplasticity shows it’s possible to rewire your brain to manage these issues. It may sound like science fiction, but it works!
Here are five ways you can rewire your brain to manage your anxiety.
Confront Your Fears
Because anxiety works in a cycle, you experience relief when you manage to avoid the discomfort of addressing your fears. This behavior reinforces avoidance and actually amplifies your anxiety over time, making it worse. When you begin to face your fears, you actually retrain your brain to see that most situations aren’t as scary as your fears may lead you to believe. This helps your brain get better at dealing with the discomfort rather than looking for ways to avoid it.
The practice of meditation has been shown to lower anxiety and increase resilience. It can help train the brain to cope better with stress and anxiety. With regular and consistent use, meditation can help you learn to deal with your feelings rather than avoid them.
Stop and Replace Thoughts
Rewiring the brain involves forming new, healthier habits. By learning to stop negative thoughts and replace them with more positive yet realistic ones, you can begin to teach your brain to respond rather than react to what’s happening. For instance, instead of responding to an anxiety-provoking situation by considering everything that could go wrong, you can teach yourself to stop those anxious thoughts and consider a new, more balanced perspective.
Consider Your Circle
Another part of managing your anxiety is considering what kind of people you surround yourself with every day. Social support is important to your mental health, and if your circle is negative and unhealthy, you may find yourself more anxious than if it were positive and supportive. Your inner circle should consist of people you can be yourself around — individuals you can trust and who support you. Learning to rewire your brain includes making sure you surround yourself with healthy and positive ideas and people.
Rewiring the brain requires you to be mindful of what you’re thinking and feeling. Paying attention to your thoughts can be a powerful part of managing them, but mindfulness can also extend beyond awareness to looking for solutions to problems rather than simply dwelling on the challenges.
When you stay focused and aware, you teach your brain to be on high alert for anxious thoughts and feelings. Paying attention to your body’s cues and negative thought patterns can help you use coping skills before the anxiety escalates. Being mindful may look simple, but it may take some practice and patience to master.
Rewiring your brain may seem like a science fiction fantasy, but it’s just plain science. By learning to confront your fear and find new ways to cope, your brain can adapt, creating more peace and less anxiety. Anxiety can be hell, but with the help of neuroplasticity, it doesn’t have to be.
~Here’s to Your Success!
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