Because I tend to have more anxiety the older I get, I’ve done a fair amount of research about how to calm myself down when I’m feeling tense. And from what I’ve found on the topic, there seems to be two general solutions that many experts tend to offer.
One is to take control of the situation, relieving the anxiety by developing a more clearly defined solution to whatever is causing the feelings to begin with. Two, simply let go of what is bothering me and come to peace that “it is what it is.”
Which is right?
Personally, I’ve found that there is a time for each. The key is realizing when that time is so you know how to best respond.
If the anxiety is caused by my procrastinating, for instance, then taking control will help ease it. Maybe I need to call and make that doctor’s appointment I’ve been putting of, or perhaps I need to sit down and finish a work project I’ve had on my desk for too long, even if I don’t feel like doing it.
However, if the anxiety is caused by something outside of my control, such as worrying about a family member’s illness, letting go is likely the best option because there is nothing I can do to change it. All I can do is be there for them and offer my support.
Finding an effective way to deal with anxiety first requires identifying whether the cause of that anxiety is something you can change. If you can, taking action can instantly make you feel better. And if you can’t, by all means, let it go.
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