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3 Powerful Strategies to Beat Anxiety Long-Term

You can beat anxiety long-time no matter how strong it is or how much it is interfering in the quality life you want to live. While there are things you can do to feel better immediately when anxiety strikes, such as practicing mindfulness in the moment, visualizing something calming, deep breathing, using movement like yoga, brisk walking, or other exercises and more, there are other strategies you can adopt as part of your regular perspective and behavior to beat anxiety long-term. The following three strategies are effective ways to lower your anxiety and keep it out of your way for life. 

3 Effective Strategies to Beat Long-Term Anxiety and Why They Work

Many useful strategies from many different disciplines exist to help us beat long-term anxiety and stay on top of it when it rears its ugly head. Among my favorites, ones that I have adopted for myself and that I've seen others embrace successfully, are these three:

  1. Acknowledge your anxiety.
  2. Accept its presence.
  3. Anyway, as in doing what's important to you even though you're anxious.

These effective, anxiety-beating strategies are embodied in acceptance and commitment therapy, and they are present in other healing approaches as well. They can also stand alone. They're that powerful. Acknowledge, accept, and anyway are about the perspective you embrace and the way you choose to live your life. They work because they become a natural part of you, your go-to attitude when living your life whether or not you're dealing with anxiety at any given moment. Instead of tools you use (like deep breathing, which is very effective in calming brain and body), these are components of who you are. 

They don't come naturally to many people, and that's okay. You grow into them as you learn what they are and practice using them in your life. A therapist once told me that I had an anxious personality, and she was right. I didn't like it because that's not how I've ever viewed myself nor is it how I want to be. It was a gradual process, but with intentional practice and adopting mindfulness, the principles of acceptance and commitment therapy (one of which happens to be mindfulness), and these three "A"s, I no longer describe myself as having an anxious personality. I'm confident that others don't see me that way either. To be sure, I still have anxiety sometimes, but I've beaten it as a personality trait and ruler of my life. 

Let's take a brief look at each of the three "A"s--acknowledge, accept, and anyway--so you can see how they can fit into your own perspective, actions, and life. 

Three 'A's of Beating Long-Term Anxiety

Acknowledge Your Anxiety

Noticing your anxiety and acknowledging its presence in any given moment helps you turn your attention to something else. When you name it or otherwise acknowledge it, you officially recognize that it's there.

Instead of making it bigger, this serves to shrink it. Rather than something inside of you you're trying to ignore, it becomes something outside of you. Then, you're in a better position to deal with it. When you acknowledge your anxiety, you can begin to accept it.  

Accept Its Presence

If we're not ignoring anxiety, we're often struggling against it, fighting and resisting it. This keeps your focus locked on anxiety, and it keeps your thoughts, feelings, senses, and actions out of the moments of your life. 

Instead of fighting, simply accept that it's there. Don't judge it or criticize yourself for having anxiety. Also, accepting it doesn't mean giving into it. You're accepting that it is there. You're not resigning yourself to a life dominated by anxiety. By acknowledging it and then accepting its presence, you give yourself the opportunity and energy to do the things you want to do anyway, despite anxiety being there. This loosens its grip on you and your life. 

Anyway--Take Action Toward What You Want Even Though Anxiety Is There

Actions speak much more loudly than anxious thoughts. It's ultimately actions that move you away from anxiety and into your life. 

If you wait for anxiety to be gone, however, you might not ever begin to work toward your goals or take the actions necessary to create and live your version of a quality life. Give yourself permission to act anyway, even when you're anxious. It won't be easy at first because our natural tendency is to ignore anxiety, avoid it, or fight with it. But remind yourself of the simple word "anyway" to allow yourself to do things. Actions come first, and improved thoughts and feelings follow. 

These three anti-anxiety "A"s work on their own. I have a bonus "A" for you, though. If you're interested, I invite you to tune into the video to hear about one more "A"-word that can help you beat anxiety long-term. 

APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2020, March 5). 3 Powerful Strategies to Beat Anxiety Long-Term , HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, May 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2020/3/3-powerful-strategies-to-beat-anxiety-long-term



Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of 101 Ways to Help Stop Anxiety, The 5-Minute Anxiety Relief Journal, The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps, and five critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges. She also speaks nationally about mental health. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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