As an anxiety coach in Toronto, I help clients create anxiety-free, fulfilling lives.
What would your life look like if you stopped the neverending cycle of anxiety?
Today, I’ll share the best methods that I’ve learned.
Tip 1: Negotiate trade-offs with yourself.
My running experience
In the past, I would push myself to run 12 kilometers four days a week.
When I ran, I used an app that tracked my speed and I tried to keep a high speed.
Soon, I started feeling anxious about these workouts:
- I would start worrying about them as early as the day before.
- I was also anxious about keeping the speed.
This anxiety ruined all enjoyment of the process.
I did enjoy the sense of accomplishment and endorphins after the run but hated the actual process.
One hour of hating life is too much.
I realized that I was too hard on myself.
Instead of being kind to myself, I only demanded performance.
My subconscious mind thought I was going to run myself to death and went into the overprotective mode—anxiety.
Stopping the anxiety caused by pushing too hard
To avoid anxiety, I had to stop demanding performance only and start negotiating with myself.
These are some of the trade-offs you can make in a similar situation:
- Try to make the process enjoyable.
- If that’s not possible, reward yourself so that at least the accomplishment feels great.
- Allow yourself to perform at a less than 100% level when you don’t feel like pushing yourself.
- In general, make sure you have periods of relaxation that restore your capacity to perform on a high level later.
With these trade-offs, you’ll associate less fear with the activity and feel less anxious overall.
Here’s what I did to reduce anxiety around running:
- When I run now, I don’t track my speed. (Making the process more enjoyable.)
- When I don’t feel like running, I run slower or shorter distances. (Allowing myself to perform at a less than 100% level.)
- I reward myself with a hydro massage session after running. (Rewarding myself.)
- I do more strategical relaxation every day. (Relaxing to restore my capacity to perform.)
Live more intuitively
Another way to put it is that you need to live your life more intuitively.
Listen to your body and mind.
When going will get too tough, they’ll warn you and you want to heed the warning.
Tip 2: Limit content consumption.
There is a lot of information out there today such as videos and blog posts.
My story of content-related anxiety
In the past, I would read and watch a lot of content.
But the more I read, the more anxious I felt.
See, I wanted to implement all the learnings right away.
But there were too many new ideas to implement.
They made me anxious because I thought I was lagging behind.
The same thing was with social media.
I would look at people’s updates and feel they were doing so much.
But this is actually an illusion because everyone posts their highlight reel.
What you don’t realize is that beneath it, those people might be as anxious as you are.
How I reduced anxiety around content
To reduce anxiety, I radically limited content consumption.
Now I follow the principle that an online marketer Eric Siu teaches:
Information in, information out.
Here’s my process:
- I read or watch content for specific information.
- I get one tip and go to implement it immediately.
- Then, I go to the next one.
As to merely entertaining content, I consume it on weekends and vacations only.
For example, here’s how I reward myself with content for intermittent fasting.
Tip 3: Use the body-mind feedback loop.
Our body and mind are a feedback loop:
- Our state causes particular physiology.
- But it also works the other way round: our physiology causes a particular state.
Here’s an example:
When you don’t feel anxiety, you breathe deeply:
no anxiety → deep breathing
Anxiety causes shallow breathing:
anxiety → shallow breathing
But then you can reverse the loop, i.e, start breathing deeply to return to the “no anxiety” state:
deep breathing ← anxiety
Other examples of changing state by changing physiology:
- Smiling. When you feel anxious, you don’t smile. Smile to stop being anxious.
- Better posture. When you’re anxious, you slouch. Straighten your shoulders and back to get rid of anxiety.
Tip 4: Slow down.
Another common reason for anxiety is trying to be unreasonably fast and efficient.
My mother’s example
This is something I see in my mother.
Each time she sees a problem or feels she inconveniences other people, she rushes to “fix” it:
- She rushes to pick up the phone.
- She wants to take a parcel from a delivery man as quickly as possible and let him go.
- She rushes to reply in conversations instead of thoughtful listening.
It’s like she is always on alert because she doesn’t want to inconvenience other people.
Of course, she has anxiety!
When she visited me in Toronto, I worked with her as an anxiety coach.
I explained to her that since rushing caused anxiety, the opposite—slowing down—reduced it.
Here are a few ideas I offered her:
- Eat slowly, paying attention to your sensations.
- Walk slowly.
- Allow yourself to be less than 100% efficient.
- Don’t rush to fulfill non-urgent requests.
By doing so, you’ll rewire yourself to put being calm first (and think less about what others think of you).
Plus, you become more mindful of what’s going on around you, thus “getting out” of your head.
I love a metaphor that Coach Corey Wayne uses to explain the importance of slowing down:
Slow down and be calm like a big turtle.
Tip 5: Let things be imperfect deliberately.
Another common reason for anxiety is a lack of confidence.
Which, in turn, stems from perfectionism.
You believe that you need to be 100% perfect for other people to like you.
And you worry about what they think about you.
You can hack this negative pattern by allowing yourself to be imperfect.
- If you’re anxious about keeping your apartment 100% tidy, leave your kitchen in a mess sometimes.
- Before speaking in public, tell your audience that you are anxious and scared. Not only will it reduce anxiety but it’ll also make you more relatable.
- In general, don’t take yourself too seriously. Make fun of your blunders.
By doing so, you train your subconscious mind to relax and be okay with reasonable imperfection.
That’s not permission for you to slack off, though.
Rather, find situations where you can be sloppy without negative consequences.
Tip 6: Work with an anxiety coach in Toronto.
Imagine yourself struggling with anxiety for the rest of your life.
How would it feel?
But what if you got rid of anxiety?
I bet that when you’re free from anxiety, you’ll build a beautiful and fulfilling life.
You can achieve the “zero-anxiety” state with coaching.
As an anxiety coach in Toronto, my job is to help you do that quickly.
Take action to start creating a beautiful life now by contacting me.