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CULTURE

How Can I Stop Freaking Out About Everything?

Just keep breathing, just keep breathing...

If you're an anxiety-sufferer, freaking out can happen at any moment: when your car needs some kind of engine check, when you have a weird scab on your elbow, or when you can't find your fro-yo punch card. These seemingly small and meaningless things can cause your lungs to shrink, your breath to shorten, and your legs to quake. Why all this irrational worry?

Some people have the outlook that their little problems are not as important as the big ones. Safety and health are the big ones. They're of the school of thought that if you're still breathing, chances are, things will be okay.

But for you, things are not okay. They're never okay. You're just cursed with failure, sadness, and purposelessness. So, uh, sorry.

Alright, we're just kidding. Even though you react to things differently, it doesn't mean you deserve to settle for anxiety. We know you know all about breathing techniques, yoga, the spa, and all that yada yada. Everyone tells you to just calm down and it will be fine. But this isn't helpful. The only way that you will be able to get over your anxiety is through baby steps.

Rumination is at the core of anxiety. It's the process by which we mull over in our heads the catastrophes that are going to ensue before we know anything about a situation. Changing your attitude will be possible when you correct these negative thought patterns and maladaptive behaviors.

But how do I do that?

Challenge: Try TrueSelf's "Hour Experiment." For a lot of anxiety-sufferers, routine is often a calming force. Block out each hour of your day and write the specific tasks that need to be done. (Also schedule time for relaxing!) Focusing on a timeline will help to distract you from the small stuff that gets in the way. Try it for one week and see how you do. Then keep doing it.

Now let that milk expire and drink it the next day. We dare you.

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