What is the best step to deal with continuous anxiety, lack of self-confidence?

I have been dealing with consistent anxiety, poor self-confidence (or closer to non-existent), fear of communicating clearly whether it being at work or on a personal level. I am still dealing with small triggers to something related in the past. I just want to develop solid tools to break this.
Asked by Ava

This spinning world seems to pick up speed every day. If you're finding modern life overwhelming, you're not alone. Anxiety diagnoses are on the rise. This is in part due to the falling stigma against mental disease, but it is also due to a rise in stimuli. As humans continue to live in bustling cities with demanding lives, it can be difficult to control your anxiety.

Technology has not made it easier. With constant notifications and excessive screen time, your attention can be pulled in many different directions. These stimuli exacerbate anxiety. If you're dealing with big life changes or inner dilemmas, the background noise just piles on to that. The sense of everything building and pressure rising, can lead to a full blown panic attack if you're not careful.

So how do you limit and tame your anxiety? The first step to calming yourself is to recognize when you are anxious. Does your body tense up? Do you get short of breath? Do you feel like any extra pressure added will make you snap? These are signs of stress and anxiety. Being self-aware enough to know when you're anxious is crucial to reducing your anxiety.

You will get better at this over time. At first, you may only know you're anxious when you're about to blow your top. Reflect on what caused that feeling and the points that increase your anxiety. Realizing what compounds your anxiety will make you more prepared the next time you are in a similar situation.

Once you can identify situations that trigger anxiety, the next step is to observe it. Picture yourself on a runaway train. As you speed along the tracks, you feel scared and helpless. This train is made of everything that triggers your anxiety. Now picture yourself, not riding on the train, but watching it from a safe distance. You watch everything that adds stress to your life, and instead of choosing to ride on the train, you just observe.

From this vantage point, you can have a lot of clarity. To choose not to ride the train, to observe, if even for a moment, you buy yourself time to come up with a plan. If a situation in your life is raising your anxiety, after observing it mentally, focus on what you can control. Often, lack of control is a major contributor to anxiety. By focusing on things you can control, you can regain a sense of agency over your anxiety.

This focus means blocking out the things you can't control as well. Like everything, this requires practice. The key to this step is realizing that, by allowing yourself to be anxious over what you can't control, you are sapping energy away from what you can control. Any energy you spend on being anxious is energy you are taking away from something else in your life. In specific terms, this means that if you're spending your day fretting about the weather, you're not spending that energy engaged in your work or being present with your friends and family. By focusing, you can channel anxious energy and use it as a motivator towards what you can control.

The more work you do while you're relatively calm means, the more you'll be prepared for anxiety. Developing a plan to cope with your anxiety before it hits means that all you have to do is carry out the plan when you're feeling anxious. If it's within your means financially, consider consulting a professional. 

Whether it's your family doctor, a licensed therapist, psychiatrist or the help from a life coach they all have tools and resources to help you. The stigma against taking care of your mental health is falling, with more people taking medication and seeking therapy. Do not let this stigma get in the way of improving your health. Not only can anxiety make your life miserable, but the added stress can also cause health problems down the road.

As you navigate your anxiety, developing coping methods are essential to handling stress. Learning how to identify anxiety, distancing yourself from it, and channeling it all takes time and practice. With the help of BetterHelp this can all be easier. Taking care of your mental health is essential to improving your overall health. Your quality of life will improve as well. With anxiety in check, you will have more room for actually living.