Tip #4: Anxiety can make you think some pretty odd (and unlikely) thoughts. From predicting impending ceiling collapses to the thought of the packet of biscuits you bought that was slightly open being poisoned. Next time you realise you’re having these types of thoughts, laugh it off.
The why: You know that scene in Harry Potter where they use the spell ‘riddikulus’ against the boggarts, and their fear turns into something funny? I found that channelling your inner wizard or witch at your anxiety can actually have a similar effect.
For instance, last week whilst sitting in class on a beautiful day, someone suggested conducting the lesson outside. Now, this was a mighty fine suggestion, one which I fully endorsed. However, anxious me was not so convinced. I am usually good at keeping my anxious thoughts inside, but this one, this one decided to leave my face at an incredibly loud volume before I could close my mouth to catch it:“BUT WHAT IF THERE ARE BEES?”
Oh dear. In that moment I could have been very embarrassed at my outburst, or have kept on feeling anxious toward frolicking amongst nature, but instead, I chose to laugh. Laugh at myself, laugh at the silliness of being afraid of the one insect that keeps the earth alive (unless you’re allergic to bees, in which case continue to be afraid), laugh at the way my anxious mind functions. The world is a scary place, particularly if you suffer from a panic disorder, so if you realise your mind going to a dark yet highly unlikely Final-Destination-esque scenario, laugh at yourself and yell:
It may seem fake at first, as the feelings of terror and doom seem so real, but after a few times laughing yourself down from a thought, they do eventually shrink. Your brain programmes itself to recognise anxious thought patterns as unreasonable and hilarious, and so perceives them as less of a threat.
Plus, smiling tricks your brain into releasing endorphins to naturally calm you down. Sure, strangers may think you’re a little strange eagerly grinning at them or giggling to yourself, but you’ll be calm.