Experiencing anxiety is a part of life. Anxiety is miserable. However, you have the power to minimize its duration and severity. There’s no need to be continuously anxious. There are numerous proactive strategies which help you effectively deal with anxiety.

Anxiety varies by individual. Two people who are facing the exact same circumstances can have vastly different reactions. One person may have a high level of anxiety, while the other one may remain calm and relaxed.

Anxiety is a state of mind. It’s your reaction to people, events, situations, or circumstances. As such, dealing with anxiety requires a change in thinking. Since you have control over your thoughts, you have control over anxiety.

In order to effectively deal with anxiety, you must first acknowledge it. If you don’t, there is no possibility of addressing it. Having anxiety is not a weakness. How you deal with it makes all the difference.

Determining the cause of your anxiety is required before you can take corrective action. Once the cause is identified, decide if it can be eliminated. Eliminating the cause, whenever possible is an ideal solution.

For example, if watching the TV news gives you anxiety, turning it off is a great solution. As another example, when you become anxious socializing with certain friends, spend less time with them.

In situations where you can’t eliminate the cause of anxiety, you can change the way you respond. In a work environment, interaction with your boss or coworkers can cause anxiety. You can’t get away from them and you cannot change their behavior. You can, however, alter your response.

Visualization helps you reduce anxiety by preprogramming your mind for a different response. To use this technique, imagine someone engaging in anxiety causing behavior and then visualize yourself not becoming anxious. This simple, yet powerful, technique significantly reduces your anxiety level.

Replace anxiety producing thoughts with pleasant thoughts. Visualize yourself in a desirable scenario. Imagine feeling relaxed and happy. Use positive self-talk to reinforce how you would like to feel.

Analyze and adjust your thoughts. Are you blowing a situation out of proportion? Are you getting stuck on unlikely worst-case scenarios? Are your fears unrealistic? Your thoughts can be adjusted to reduce anxiety.

Your reality is changed by changing your perceptions. If you think you will be anxious, you will. Conversely, when you don’t think a situation will cause anxiety, it won’t. Avoid making excuses justifying anxiety.

Worry feeds anxiety, causing you to feel worse. Worry is an endless cycle of anxiety generating negative thoughts. Replace worry with action. Take the appropriate action necessary to mitigate problematic circumstances. Even the smallest step forward reduces anxiety. Knowing that you are doing something to improve your situation improves your mindset.

Procrastination prolongs anxiety through inactivity. The longer you wait, the worse you will feel. Anxiety doesn’t dissipate on its own. You have to make it happen. Any positive action on your part makes a difference.

Minimize or eliminate negative influences. As mentioned previously, following news on TV or the internet is a proven source of anxiety. The stories reported are rarely good news. Discontinue watching or reading the news and you will significantly reduce your anxiety.

Interacting with naysayers and complainers is also a reliable source of anxiety. If you can’t avoid them, don’t pay attention to their negativity, or join them in their pessimistic outlook. Instead, connect with other positive, upbeat, happy people.

Exercise reduces anxiety. Any physical activity works effectively. Just 10 or 20 minutes of moving your body has a calming effect which clears your mind, allowing you to think more clearly.

You don’t have to suffer from anxiety. Utilizing these positive strategies makes a big difference. Changing your thoughts and outlook enables you to feel better.

“Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.

"Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.

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