Regard anxiety as a well-meaning messenger
Because it is. Anxiety is something within you (I like to call it 'your greater self') alerting you of an insecurity/ fear/ shame that you have that is limiting you eg. social anxiety arising from low self-esteem that prevents one from forging quality relationships.
The reason for alerting you about it is so you may try to overcome it in order to live the quality life that you are meant to. Just think about how your anxiety has been stopping you from doing the things that you really want or approaching the people that you so want to know, and imagine how free you'd be if you don't suffer from it.
Its symptoms may not be pretty but its message is good - find the reason behind your insecurity/ fear/ shame and then challenge the rationale of it to overcome it.
Don't be intimidated by it
If you allow anxiety to stop you, you are letting it control you. Anxiety doesn't have to control you - you can keep it under control!
Instead of being afraid of when your next panic attack will come on or feeling embarrassed or humiliated for losing control over your mind/ body infront of people, tell yourself, 'It's no big deal.' Grow a thicker skin.
Because the more severity and focus you give to it; the more afraid you are of it, the more power it has over you.
If, on the other hand, you are not afraid of its symptoms, it will lose its power over you with time.
Don't use anxiety as an excuse to not do something. The more anxiety is stopping you from doing something, the more you should do it! Although I'd recommend that you approach what you fear gradually, not drastically i.e. experiment with something less critical and won't have serious repercussions even if you blew it.
The way to overcome a fear is to face it head on! Feel the liberation when anxiety can no longer hold you hostage!
How you view your anxiety will also affect how others view your anxiety - the less hung up you are about it, the less people will actually care about it.
Activate your parasympathetic nervous system more
Our autonomic nervous system (that which controls our involuntary actions) consists of the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for feel and heal). For the most part, both nervous
systems cannot work at the same time. When you are having anxious thoughts, the body is activating the sympathetic nervous system i.e. telling you to fight or flight when those situations are merely uncomfortable, not dangerous.
Hence, the way to counter it is to activate the parasympathetic nervous system more - by relaxing, resting and engaging in happy/ positive thoughts. Here's how:
- Slow down & keep life simple: If your mind is already in overdrive and your sympathetic nervous system hyperactive, you don't want to be further stimulated by a hectic and demanding lifestyle. Declutter your life - from the physical to the mental - the less negative stimulants, the better. Instead, keep yourself meaningfully engaged with one or few activities that bring you joy.
- Meditate: Over time, meditating helps to strengthen our attention muscles by focusing our attention on the now so our minds don't ruminate around the past or future. Regular meditation helps train our minds to be relaxed and hence activates the parasympathetic nervous system, thereby promoting self-healing.
- Fantasise a little: Because why not? If reality is harsh, at least your inner world should be kinder. Fantasise about the positives; dream about the possibilities; engage in beautiful and happy thoughts and feelings to activate your parasympathetic nervous system.