It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true—doing uncomfortable things on purpose can not only help you treat your anxiety, but eliminate it permanently. Of course, learning how to deal with stress and anxiety won’t be easy. No one likes to feel uncomfortable, but isn’t anxiety itself uncomfortable? When you think about it, you have two choices: you can either do something uncomfortable for a short time, and then live the rest of your life in peace anxiety free, or you can keep doing what you’ve always done and face your anxiety day after day. It’s really a no brainer!
Identify Your Comfort Zone
The first step is to realize that your anxiety has forced you into a comfort zone. Whether you find yourself avoiding certain situations or have taken up some bad habits to cope with your anxiety, it’s important to admit what your anxiety has stolen from you. This will give you the incentive you need to learn how to deal with stress effectively and start really living again.
When you’re moving out of your comfort zone, the best strategy is to move slowly. Decide to do one thing a day that makes your blood pressure rise a bit. If you have certain thoughts that provoke fear, think them intentionally for a few minutes until you feel your stress level decrease. If you suffer from social anxiety, then accept a dinner invitation you’d normally ignore. The key to learning how to deal with stress this way is to face your fear until it no longer gets to you. Once you begin to see improvements, up the ante. It may take a while, but before long, your fear will disappear, and your anxiety will soon follow.
Keep It Up
Feeling uncomfortable is…well, uncomfortable, but stay the course. If you begin to feel discouraged or want to give up, remind yourself of the prize—an anxiety-free existence once and for all! Visualize what that life will look like until your motivation returns.