As fictitious as it may sound to say that you actually can learn how to get rid of anxiety within mere seconds, regardless of how intense your anxiety is, I encourage you to dispel such skepticism as what I have to say on this matter can truly change your life forever, just as it has changed mine.
The amount of psychological agony you can expect to no longer experience as a result of this newfound perspective is absolutely priceless. It doesn’t matter which end of the spectrum you’re on either.
Whether you cannot go a single day without experiencing a panic attack or if you only experience a minuscule amount of anxiety in social situations, my advice on how to get rid of anxiety will be equally beneficial. Such information may not be esoteric to avid meditators, but it likely will be for most people who are often lost in thought all day long without being consciously aware of it.
The degree with which any one person will suffer psychologically is highly, if not entirely, dependent upon the attention one gives toward that which is painful. Assuredly, there are some forms of torture that even the most enlightened yogi would deem unbearable.
However, the reality is that people who meditate frequently are able to cope with pain, psychologically and physically, much more adeptly than someone who has never learned how to get rid of anxiety, let alone meditated before. This is not to say they don’t suffer, but rather that the amount of suffering they do experience is infinitesimal when juxtaposed to a non-meditator. This is unequivocally true, both theoretically and empirically.
Be that as it may, you need not be an experienced meditator who’s clocked in thousands of hours of silent meditation to successfully learn how to get rid of anxiety in just a handful of seconds. Rather, all you need is an understanding of the root cause and the nature of your psychological suffering (i.e. discursive thoughts), as well the coping skills needed to immediately disarm anxiety the moment you’re consciously aware of it. Such skills are accessible for anyone with any level of anxiety.
With regards to the psychological suffering associated with anxiety, your attention is everything. In moments when we’re highly anxious, it seems as though the only thing that truly captures our full undivided attention is our anxious thoughts.
We dwell on all the reasons why we’re fearful and why we should remain fearful, even if the thing being feared is just in our imagination. In such an instance, we desperately wish we knew how to get rid of anxiety. It is the amalgamation and consistency of these useless fear thoughts that is the problem here, not the emotion of anxiety itself.
Ask yourself, what is the breakthrough that occurs the moment you realize you are no longer anxious? Is it that the imaginary or irrational threat you cultivated in your mind has somehow left or dissipated from reality? Or perhaps you’ve found a safe space and have removed yourself from the thing that was causing your anxiety in the first place?
Although these are definitely plausible ways on how to get rid of anxiety, the problem is that you lose all control in the process. When taking such a passive role you become a victim to the whims of your anxiety, and you allow your emotions to control you instead of the inverse.
Another problem with hiding from your fears or simply waiting for your anxiety to subside is that there is no known time limit on such an occurrence. Sitting around waiting for your fears to go away means that you may remain anxious for hours or even days insofar as you are constantly feeding your mind discursive worry thoughts.
With that being said, this is not the best way on how to get rid of anxiety. However, there is a solution to this problem, and that solution is mindfulness meditation.
Keep in mind that what I’m not going to do here is tell you to just focus on your breath when you feel anxious. Such tepid advice would be insulting not only to you, but to myself as well. Although deep mindful breathing is certainly very useful for helping someone learn how to get rid of anxiety, it pales in comparison when juxtaposed to the breadth of techniques I’m going to explain to you.
The two skills I’m referring to and which are the ways on how to get rid of anxiety are as follows: Paying attention to the physical sensations you feel when you are anxious (e.g. racing heartbeat, sweating, trembling, muscle tension, fatigue, butterflies, etc.) and to also recognize that your thoughts are just thoughts and nothing more.
When you completely redirect your attention away from your discursive fear thoughts and toward the involuntary muscle contractions in your shoulders or the pounding of your heart beating through your chest, then it is literally impossible for you to remain anxious.
The only way you can feasibly maintain your anxiety at any level would be if you were to continue feeding it by repetitively thinking to yourself over and over and over again of all the reasons why you should be afraid of the thing you’re afraid of.
Such automaticity in one’s thinking patterns ceases to exist when one’s attention has been nonjudgmentally redirected onto something that does not have any emotional baggage attached to it; something that is void of any and all emotion. This “something” is the many sensations that are available to observe in one’s physiology.
Furthermore, mere observation of your physiology is not enough as it matters whether you decide to judge those sensations or not. Choosing to either judge or not judge the way your body feels when you’re nervous is literally the difference between experiencing hours of unnecessary mental anguish and experiencing a few seconds of anxiety. The difference here is as consequential as they come.
It’s absolutely imperative that you objectively and therefore nonjudgmentally focus your attention on your body’s physiology, as opposed to judging the attributed sensations as being “good” or “bad.” Let me explain why this matters. Let’s imagine someone in a social situation who’s experiencing an influx of anxiety.
They start to sweat profusely, and their face turns red. If they were to give their subjective opinion about the changes in their physiology, the result would be that they’re no longer being mindful. Their judgements about their physiology would encompass thoughts such as, “Ugh, everyone will notice I’m sweating and will think I’m gross.” or “Great. Now I’m blushing.
Someone’s going to know I’m nervous.” Indulging in these kinds of worry thoughts is the precursor to further suffering as they do nothing but reinforce your fears, regardless of how irrational your fears may in fact be.
Doing this is the opposite of how to get rid of anxiety.
On the other hand, if this same person knew how to get rid of anxiety and were to instead objectively observe their physiology without judging it in any way, then what they would get is a complete redirection of their attention away from negative self-talk and toward the way it feels as their body temperature rises and perspires or to the warmth being radiated off of their blushing cheeks.
The specific area of physiology they choose to focus on is not what’s important here. Rather, what is important is that they actually do find a point of focus somewhere in their physiology and wholeheartedly redirect their attention toward it.
Negative, critical thoughts about yourself can increase your anxiety to a disturbing degree. Objective, nonjudgmental thoughts about yourself can increase your equanimity to a prodigious degree.
With this being said, I clearly understand how an anxious person who doesn’t fully understand how to get rid of anxiety can find paying attention to the sensations of their aroused body to be unpleasant. Having a flushed face, trembling knees, a racing heart, intense fatigue, and a dry mouth are oftentimes very unpleasant experiences.
Be that as it may, for the sake of self-care and reducing unnecessary psychological suffering for yourself, as well as learning how to get rid of anxiety in just seconds, indulging in negative, reactive thoughts will only exacerbate your anxiety and increase the duration of your suffering.
When you nonjudgmentally redirect your attention toward the way your body is feeling, whether that be paying attention to the pounding of your chest as your heart races or paying close attention to the way it feels as your knees shake, the fuel with which anxiety desperately needs to survive simply cannot be sustained. All that will be left is pure physiology. This is how to get rid of anxiety in seconds.
Fear originates in the mind and when your attention has been completely redirected to something objective, such as your body’s physiology, then what you are experiencing is no longer anxiety, but instead it is merely the physiological aftermath of what was once anxiety.
Thoughts are Just Thoughts
Paradoxically, your thoughts do not have inherent meaning within them. Thoughts are just thoughts and nothing more. They often appear without our consent seemingly out of nowhere. Thoughts, just like emotions are transitory experiences which come and go. This means that your fears are only momentary, just as your happiness is only momentary.
Understanding this fact is key to learning how to get rid of anxiety in seconds.
The only meaning thoughts have, regardless of how arbitrary or discursive the thought is, is whatever meaning you choose to give it. There isn’t a scintilla of effort needed to pretend that thoughts don’t have inherent meaning within themselves, because objectively speaking, they simply don’t.
Thoughts arise in and out of our minds all the time and are oftentimes not the result of our own doing, but rather they are a consequence of consciousness.
When we’re anxious, we become bombarded with an influx of anxious thoughts which illuminate themselves from the dark corners of our subconscious mind in a sort of automatic or reflexive manner. We then instantly attribute artificial meanings to the images and words inside of those thoughts, which then reinforce our fears.
For most of us, when thoughts arise, we often believe them to be true.
It is true to say that you do in fact have the option to either entertain each thought that arbitrarily pops into your conscious awareness as being veridical or to objectively observe your thoughts as just inevitable transient experiences in the mind. Understanding this fact is imperative before you truly understand how to get rid of anxiety.
For example, our thoughts may make us question our ability to do something adeptly or they may convince us that some sort of impending doom is shortly awaiting us in lieu of actual evidence. Having such thoughts arise in consciousness and to robotically believe them to be true because “you thought them” is the direct source of the problem here. Deep introspection should unveil this illusion to you.
How could “you” have thought something when you had no control over the content of that thought, nor the manifestation of the thought itself. It simply arose, seemingly out of thin air with contents that you did not conform.
My point here is that thoughts simply rise in and out of consciousness on a near constant basis without our consent and that we needn’t dwell on every single thought that makes its way into our awareness as though the information within it is inherently sacred or factual. Instead, we can objectively observe our thoughts for what they truly are, just thoughts, not veridical predictions about future events.
I’m not saying that thinking itself or introspection is inherently bad. However, when you’re highly anxious your thoughts will almost always be laced with a prodigious amount of irrational criticism and self-doubt.
When in such a fight or flight state of mind, the most productive thing you can possibly do is to redirect your attention away from your discursive thoughts and toward the physiology of your body, as well as to objectively observe each thought that arises as just a thought and not something that must be true by default.
If you’re still unsure how to get rid of anxiety, then you may find the following analogy useful:
Pretend for a moment that your mind is like a giant factory; a factory that produces millions upon millions of products securely shipped in boxes each and every day. These boxes travel throughout the factory by way of conveyor belts which seem to bend and turn in every direction possible to ensure that the maximum number of boxes can be shipped out of the factory to individual stores. In this analogy, the “factory” is your mind, and the “boxes” filled with products are your thoughts.
Each box resting on the moving conveyor belts contain within them contents (ideas, beliefs, opinions, and memories) which are themselves the precursors to emotions. You have the choice to either stand in front of the conveyor belt and objectively observe each box (thought) that passes by or you can open (dwell on) each box that passes in front of you, entertaining all of the contents that each box has within it, albeit pleasant or unpleasant. The option to do this is readily available to you and it always will be.
There is no need to frantically open every box that passes in front of you, opening up a new pandora’s box filled with worry thoughts and unwanted emotions. These boxes on the conveyor belt are infinite and you cannot control the number of boxes that pass in front of you, nor can you make all the boxes go away. However, what you can do is allow the boxes, or thoughts, to drift in and out of the factory of your mind by objectively observing them for what they truly are.
Using the skills laid out herein can undoubtedly make your anxiety disappear within seconds. Regardless of if you’re experiencing a modicum of fear or if you’re having a full-blown panic attack, the results will be the same: The psychological experience of anxiety will cease to exist. Also, notice here that I’m talking about the dissipation of psychological anxiety, not physiological anxiety.
The differences between these two “forms of anxiety” are as stark as they come because the former one exists, while the latter one doesn’t. Below, I’ll explain this in further detail.
What about physiological anxiety?
You might be thinking to yourself that anxiety is not all psychological, but that it is also physiological. For example, once you redirect your attention to the many different sensations arising in your body, your heart will still be pounding rapidly, your knees will still be trembling, and your face will still be blushing. How is this not anxiety?
Well, when we compare the physical symptoms of anxiety to that of a more favorable emotion like excitement, then the closer we get to understanding the illusoriness of physiological anxiety.
Let’s think about the emotions of fear and excitement for a moment. Looking at them closely, it doesn’t take long before we realize they are physiologically identical. Obviously, fear and excitement are very different emotions, and they affect us differently. However, the differences between them, as well as the way they affect us are based solely on the thoughts we associate with them, not with the way it makes our body feel.
Whether you’re feeling dreadfully fearful or joyously excited, your body’s physiology will not differ in a way that will allow you to distinctly recognize which one is which. Instead, it is the culmination of your thoughts which dictate whether you are experiencing fear or excitement. Think about this for a moment.
Let’s picture a woman whose heart is pounding, whose palms are sweaty, whose hands are trembling, and whose eyes are crying. Is this a description of a woman who has just been kidnapped or is it a woman who has just been asked by her loving boyfriend to marry her? By merely observing her physiology, we simply cannot come to such a conclusion.
In an episode of the Making Sense Podcast, neuroscientist Sam Harris articulated that the physiological residue of anger (i.e. racing heartbeat, shakiness, muscle tension, etc.) that one experiences after they have successfully diverted their attention away from their discursive anger thoughts is no different than experiencing any other sort of unwanted physiological pain, such as having sore muscles or a crick in one’s neck.
I found this perspective to be incredibly insightful and useful as it made me realize that when I’m feeling anxious, I don’t have to believe what my body is telling me.
This is to say that when my body is experiencing the physiological aftermath of anxiety, I don’t have to mindlessly and automatically give in to the whims of my monkey-mind and therefore cultivate thoughts which mirror the way my body feels. I can instead just objectively observe any physiological sensations that arise, just as I would with any other sort of unwanted pain that couldn’t be immediately thwarted.
I think about the physiological pain associated with anxiety much differently now. When my heart uncomfortably beats out of my chest during an influx of anxiety, I simply focus my attention toward the way it feels. I become interested in the physiological sensations associated with it. In fact, I sometimes find such objective observations to even be intellectually pleasurable as I find it interesting to navigate through all of the many different sensations arising in my body.
Do these skills on how to get rid of anxiety come with caveats?
It is unequivocal to say that using the skills I’ve mentioned on how to get rid of anxiety will allow you to make your anxiety disappear in seconds. Although, there are some things that you need to be aware of first. Most importantly, you should realize that the various skills I have described on how to get rid of anxiety are but mindfulness meditation techniques, and like all other forms of meditation, the art of being mindful requires a lot of consistent practice.
How much practice? Well, it’s different for everyone. You needn’t go off to a silent retreat for 3 months to acquire the benefits I’ve illustrated thus far, although it certainly could help. Rather, you need only practice using these skills on how to get rid of anxiety every time you notice yourself becoming anxious.
The moment you recognize you are in fact worried, nervous, fearful, or any other incarnation of anxiety, then you should immediately redirect your attention toward the physiological sensations arising in your body, as well as noticing any and all thoughts that arise as just thoughts that have no inherent meaning within them.
That is how to get rid of anxiety in seconds.
Practicing this over and over again for each time you become anxious will allow you to become better adept at not only noticing when it is that you’re actually anxious, but it will also decrease the amount of time that you’ll remain anxious too.
If you find it to be virtually impossible to focus your attention on your heartbeat, your breathing, or the butterflies in your stomach when anxiety consumes you, don’t get discouraged. Remaining mindful during moments of high anxiety can be very challenging, but like most things, the more you do it the better you’ll get at it.
It has taken me about two years of practice to get to where I am now, and I still have a lot of work left to do. It is the amalgamation of the time I spent practicing my skills in moments of intense, panic inducing anxiety that has allowed me to learn how to get rid of anxiety in mere seconds. Of course, there are many times I fail at this, but there are also many times when I succeed.
Every new anxious situation I find myself in is a new opportunity to practice the aforementioned techniques on how to get rid of anxiety. And I know the more I practice these techniques, the more adept I will become at making my anxiety disappear the moment I notice it arising.
Some of you reading this may be discouraged seeing as how it took me so long to get to where I am now, but keep in mind that my anxiety was on the extreme end of the spectrum when I first started dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and learned about mindfulness meditation and how it can be used as a tool to help regulate emotions.
So, depending on how severe your anxiety is, it may only take a handful of times before you can learn how to get rid of anxiety seconds after you notice its presence.
Furthermore, it’s also important to understand that when you do become lost in thought moments after successfully honing in your attention on something like your breath or your heartbeat, this should not be a cause for concern.
It is inevitable that you will eventually lose your focus and become completely lost in thought even if you fully understand how to get rid of anxiety with mindfulness meditation. When this happens, you need only gently redirect your attention back to objectively observing whichever area of physiology you were attentive to moments prior.
All things considered, the amount of time it will take for you to learn how to get rid of anxiety is not what is important as that is information that can never be known.
Instead, you should focus on improving your ability to 1.) Notice when you are anxious, 2.) Nonjudgmentally redirect your attention away from your discursive thoughts and toward the physical sensations arising in your body, and 3.) See any and all thoughts that appear during bouts of unwanted anxiety as just transitory phenomena void of inherent meaning.
One of the most lucrative aspects of mindfulness meditation is that it makes what would normally be an emotionally tortuous situation with no end in sight into a slightly uncomfortable, tolerable moment that will only last for as long as you decide to dwell on the idea of it.
To know how to get rid of anxiety in seconds, you need only practice the skills described throughout this blog post nonjudgmentally, consistently, and resiliently.