How to cope with anxiety | Olivia Remes | TEDxUHasselt

Translator: Denise RQ
Reviewer: Robert Deliman Imagine that you’re getting ready
to go to a party. You feel excited, but also nervous, and you’ve got this feeling
in your stomach almost like another heartbeat. There’s something holding you back,
holding you back from getting too happy. “No, you mustn’t get too happy. Better to be cautious, otherwise,
something bad might happen.” You start wondering,
“Who should I talk to when I get there? What if no one wants to talk to me?
What if they’ll think I’m weird?” When you arrive at the party, someone comes up to you
and starts talking with you, and as this is happening, your mind starts racing,
your heart begins pounding, you start sweating, and it feels almost like
you’re dissociating from yourself, like it’s an out-of-body experience,
and you’re just watching yourself talk. “Keep it together,” you say
to yourself, but you can’t. And it’s just getting worse: after a few minutes of conversation, the person
you’ve been speaking to leaves, and you feel utterly defeated. This has been happening to you
in social situations for a long time. Or imagine every time you go out,
and you’re in crowded places, you feel this panic starting to arise. When you’re surrounded by lots of people, like on a bus, you start
to feel hot, nauseous, uneasy, and to prevent this from happening, you start avoiding a lot of places
which makes you feel lonely and isolated. You or the person
in both of these scenarios have anxiety disorders, and what I can tell you
is that anxiety is very common, much more than people think. Right now, one in 14 people
around the world have an anxiety disorder, and each year, it costs
over 42 billion dollars to treat this mental health problem. To show you the impact
that anxiety has on someone’s life, I will just mention that anxiety can lead to depression,
school dropout, suicide. It makes it harder to focus,
and to hold down a job, and it can lead
to relationship breakdown. But a lot of people don’t know this, that’s why, a lot of times,
people sweep anxiety under the rug as just nerves that you need
to get over, as a weakness, but anxiety is so much more than that. A reason why so many people
don’t think it’s important is that they don’t know what it is. Is it your personality? Is it an illness?
Is it a normal sensation? What is? That’s why it’s important
to differentiate what is normal anxiety
from what is an anxiety disorder. Normal anxiety is
an emotion that we all get when we’re in stressful situations. For example, let’s say,
you’re out in the woods, and you come face-to-face with a bear. This will probably make you feel
a little bit anxious, and you’ll probably want
to start running like crazy. This anxious feeling that you get is good
because it protects you, it saves you, and it makes you
on a hightail it out of there, although maybe it’s not such a good idea
to start running when you see a bear. I really don’t think
you can outrun a bear. Anxiety helps us meet
our deadlines at work and deal with emergencies in life, but when this anxiety emotion
is taken to the extreme and arises in situations
which don’t pose a real threat, then that’s when you might have
an anxiety disorder. For example, people
with generalized anxiety disorder worry excessively and constantly
about everything going on in their lives, and they find it very difficult
to control this worry. They also have symptoms
like restlessness, fear, they find it hard to fall asleep at night,
and they can’t concentrate on tasks. In spite of whatever kind of anxiety
you might be suffering from, there is something
that you can do to lower it. It works, and it’s simpler
than you may think. All too often, we’re given
medication for mental disorders, but it doesn’t always work
in the long run. Symptoms often come back,
and you’re back to where you started. So here’s something else to consider: the way you cope or handle things
has a direct impact on how much anxiety you’re experiencing, and if you tweak the way you’re coping,
then you can lower your anxiety. In our study
at the University of Cambridge, we showed that women living in poor areas have a higher risk for anxiety
than women living in richer areas. These results didn’t surprise us,
but when we looked closer, we found that women living in poor areas, if they had a particular set
of coping resources, they didn’t have anxiety, while women living in poor areas
without these coping resources had anxiety. Other studies showed that people who had faced
extreme circumstances, who had faced adversity, been
through wars and natural disasters, if they had coping resources, they remained healthy
and free of mental disorders, while others, facing the same hardships
but without coping skills went on a downward spiral
and developed mental disorders. So what are
some of these coping resources, and how can we use them
to lower our anxiety? And before I dive into what they are, I’d like to point out –
and I think this is so interesting – you can develop these coping resources
or coping skills on your own through the things that you do; you can take charge
of your anxiety and lower it, which I think is so empowering. Today I’ll be talking about
three coping resources, and the first one is feeling like
you’re in control of your life. People who feel like they’re
more in control of their life have better mental health. If you feel like
you’re lacking in control in life, then research shows that you should engage in experiences
that give you greater control. I’ll show you what I mean: do you sometimes find that you put off
starting something because you just don’t feel ready enough? Do you find it hard to make decisions like what to wear, what to eat
who to date, which job to take up? Do you tend to waste a lot of time deciding what you might do
while nothing gets done? A way to overcome indecision
and this lack of control in life, is to do it badly. There’s a quote by writer
and poet GK Chesterton that says, “Anything worth doing
is worth doing badly the first time.” The reason why this works so well is that it speeds up your decision-making
and catapults you straight into action, otherwise, you can spend hours deciding how you should go
about doing something or what you should do. This can be paralyzing and can make
you afraid to even begin. All too often, we aim for perfection,
but never end up doing anything because the standards
that we set for ourselves are too high, they’re intimidating, which stresses us out
so we delay starting something, or we might even abandon
the whole thing altogether. Do it badly frees you up to take action. I mean you know how it is: so often, we want to do
something perfectly we can’t start until it’s the perfect time,
until we’ve got all the skills, but this can be daunting and stressful so why not just jump into it
just do it however, without worrying if it’s good or bad? This will make it that much easier
to start something and as you’re doing it badly to finish it, and when you look back, you’ll realize, more often than not,
that actually it’s not that bad. A close friend of mine who has anxiety started using this motto,
and this is what she said, “When I started using this motto,
my life transformed. I found I could complete tasks
in much shorter time periods than before. Do it badly gave me wings to take risks,
to try something differently, and to have way more fun
during the whole process. It took the anxiety out of everything
and replaced it with excitement.” So do it badly, and you can improve
as you go along. I’d like to ask you to think about this: if you start using this motto today,
how would your life change? The second coping strategy
is to forgive yourself, and this is very powerful if you use it. People with anxiety think a lot about what they’re doing wrong, their worries,
and how bad they’re feeling. Imagine if you had a friend
who constantly pointed out everything you’re doing wrong, and everything
that was wrong with your life. You would probably want to get rid of this person
right away, wouldn’t you? Well, people with anxiety
do this to themselves all day long. They’re not kind to themselves. So maybe it’s time to start
being kinder with ourselves, time to start supporting ourselves, and a way to do this
is to forgive yourself for any mistakes you think you might have made
just a few moments ago to mistakes made in the past. If you had a panic attack
and are embarrassed about it, forgive yourself; if you wanted to talk to someone, but couldn’t muster up
the courage to do so, don’t worry about it, let it go; forgive yourself
for anything and everything and this will give you
greater compassion towards yourself. You can’t begin to heal until you do this. And last but not least, having a purpose and meaning in life is a very important coping mechanism. Whatever we do in life,
whatever work we produce, however much money we make, we cannot be fully happy until we know
that someone else needs us, that someone else depends on
our accomplishments, or on the love that we have to share. It’s not that we need other people’s good words
to keep going in life, but if we don’t do something
with someone else in mind, then we’re at much higher risk
for poor mental health. The famous neurologist
Dr. Victor Frankel said, “For people who think
there’s nothing to live for and nothing more to expect from life, the question is getting
these people to realize that life is still expecting
something from them.” Doing something with someone else in mind
can carry you through the toughest times. You’ll know the why for your existence and will be able to bear
almost any how; almost any how. So the question is do you do at least one thing
with someone else in mind? This could be volunteering, or it could be sharing this knowledge
that you gained today with other people, especially those who need it most, and these are often the people
who don’t have money for therapy, and they’re usually the ones with the highest rates
of anxiety disorders. Give it to them, share with others, because it can really improve
your mental health. So I would like to conclude with this: another way you can do something
with someone else in mind is finishing work that might benefit
future generations. Even if these people will never realize
what you’ve done for them, it doesn’t matter, because you will know,
and this will make you realize the uniqueness
and importance of your life. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “How to cope with anxiety | Olivia Remes | TEDxUHasselt

  1. I suffer from a kind of anxiety that renders me completely unable to do anything or to think about anything else if I have to confront someone or if I know I will have an argument with someone. For example, I received a bill from a craftsman that was 50% higher than initially planned. I was so afraid to confront him and to get into this argument with him that after a few days I gladly paid the whole sum, including the extra 50%, just to get rid of that anxiety. Another example – my neighbours keep slamming their doors so hard that my whole flat vibrates and I sometimes even wake up from it. The thought of confronting them causes such a panic in me, that I rather accept the noise level. The fear of getting into an argument with someone, when I know it will happen, causes sweating, my heart pounds and this won´t stop for days, until I either jump into the situation, just to make it stop, or I give in and accept a disadvantage. In situations where I accidentially get into an argument, I completely lose my ability to think and to speak calmly. I start to hyperventilate and eventually SHOUT at the other person, often insulting them. I lost customers like this. It´s pure panic.

  2. Yes, I do that all that time I just go with bad I love challenges I just do it once’s I’m done I’m proud of myself every pray , I thank myself n the lord for everything for not letting me down

  3. My anxiety is so damn hard at the moment. I have anxiety attacks every few minutes. I just want u to know that u are not alone and that a lot of people can relate to this. It's not easy but it helps me to know that I'm not alone. I hope this helps u too. If u wanna share what u are worrying about just tell me ❣️❤️❤️

  4. I am watching this video because I wanted to cope myself to go to a party and her initial description just hit me. Totally accurate.

  5. Okay I have test on Monday I was thinking to just skip the class but I will try even if I know I will do bad let’s see

  6. I like how she started by saying goals too big give you anxiety. And ended by saying: "save the world! Save everyone around you and take the responsibility of everyone else on your shoulders."

  7. Hi, i’m Laura. I am a 14 year old girl from the Netherlands.
    Lately I've been struggling with depression and anxiety. I am becoming obsessed with facts and a lot of these facts are about death. I am very smart and I have an fotographic memory so I don’t really forget thinks. My mom thinks my feeling are fading away because of all these facts. I still do have feeling, but I never that about them. She also thinks, because I read so much, I don’t enjoy life anymore. This is very true. I think that that is the reason why I’m obsessed with the death. I can stare at a wall for hours and just think about life. My mom thinks this is weird. She wants me to go to an psychologist. Do you guys think that is a good solition? Does a psychologist reslly help?

    If you take the time to reply to me, thank you deerly!

    Also, I’m sorry for the grammar, hope you’ll understand it.

  8. Thank you for your inspiring video! But how can I constantly forgive myself? My mistakes are so many…

  9. Her Beauty and Voice are above the moon's beauty at night.
    She should really be in Top 10 prettiest womens ever lived

  10. Haha… ha… I have no friends and am basically a hermit… and I have no purpose in life. I have no people in my life and I’m too scared/anxious to go out and be around people.

  11. If you’re having problems with anxiety then search for ‘We are only human’ on Facebook. It could help.

  12. Did not understand the last part. About help finish something of someone else or do it in secret. How do You finish someone's else's work I mean. Would You have to know how to do what they were even working on and at the same time know how to do that. That was not explained at all well or lack there of explaination. At least to me.

  13. Putting yourself in control as a way to fix anxiety is something I discovered myself. That's why i'm trying to put myself in tiny practice leadership positions as much as possible. For example , running a server and playing as the Dungeon Master in D&D, and just being more assertive in conversations in general.

  14. being told you can get rid of anxiety gave me a bit more anxiety because i have tried her coping skills but it just isn't enough to get it to normal/healthy levels, i really hate that i can't get it to work

  15. I've almost read all the comments. I cannot believe the fact that everyone is trying to help each other with many words… I feel like I still believe in good in our hearts, understanding and improvement effort. Thank all these great people 🙂

  16. I have panic attacks every Day through the whole day lately and for some reason this actualy made me feel a lot Better.

  17. I have a family who doesn't support me. Every time I feel extremely anxious, I'm told to get over it. I'm anxious about EVERYTHING. What if this coffee makes my heart beats too fast and I have a heart attack? What if I go outside too long and get heat stroke? If I stare at the TV too long, will it harm me? If I lay for too long, will I get a blood clot? But I'm just told that I worry too much and I need to stop. I sometimes don't even want to leave my room… and THAT even makes me anxious

  18. Not in every matter, but some things I tend to worry about stuff before it even happens…overthinking to the point I feel sick. It’s a lot of the unknowns and the what if’s. The worry about failure and repercussions and possible embarrassment. Dealing with change and getting out of your comfort zone is difficult. The status quo seems to be the safe place but is it really?? The struggle is real.

  19. Here are 10 tips I have for dealing with anxiety:

    1) Find the trigger and confront it. Running away from the problem rarely solves anything in the long term, but confronting your problems may help reduce the effects of a potential trigger. For example if you repeatedly but yourself in a situation out of your comfort zone, such as with public speaking, then the stress reaction elicited may reduce over time, and as a result it will not be as terrifying to do a class presentation or such (exposure therapy).

    2) Harness anxiety by turning the negative into a positive, e.g. if stressed about workload, get it done rather than procrastinating. Or use your experience of anxiety to help others with similar problems.

    3) Find a distraction. If you are plagued with negative thoughts, then do activities which prevent you from focusing on negativity, i.e. keep yourself busy.

    4) Invest yourself in a hobby, read a book which you feel will enlighten you in some way or start a routine of going gym or playing sports to build confidence and increase endorphins. This also links in with goal-setting. If you set a goal and achieve it then you will get a boost in neurotransmitters responsible for a good mood.

    5) Maintain a social network. Often anxiety can make you feel isolated so discussing these problems with a good listener can help you feel connected. Some people may shy away from this in fears of upsetting the recipient. If this is the case then only give a limited account of what is wrong. For example, if you do not want to say that you are suffering from depression/anxiety because you feel they wont understand or will find it distressing, explain it as being worried but not being sure what the cause is.

    6) Act as a self-therapist. Personally I wouldn’t want to pay for a therapist as the money I lose may increase my anxiety – because I’m cheap lol, but you may not even need a professional to listen to your problems. Talking to yourself about your problems and brainstorming ideas out load regarding what may help alleviate negative symptoms may help you. Personally I found it useful to go over my thoughts out loud while having a shower or lying down (provided you’re in a private and comfortable setting).

    7) Remember other people (even celebrities) are going through the same thing

    8) Understand that life is full of tests. Maybe these trials happen for a reason?

    9) Music can help, especially when artists discuss issues relevant to what you’re going through. Personally I find Kid Cudi a good listen (Soundtrack to my Life, Reborn, Cudi Montage etc.).

    10) Spiritual contentment. Perhaps religiosity can help relieve feelings of emptiness.


  20. It is very important not to overthink things such as risks. Sometimes you just gotta be stronger than you think you can and beat that fear and anxiety that is eating you up. Anxiety, fear, trauma and regret is the three/four imo worst feelings. Hatred and severe anger the most destructive. The most invalidating thou is fear and anxiety, and also depression. Remourse and regret and trauma also ranks up as the worst feelings a human can experience. I consider becoming a coach in some years. Anxiety coach, the most important thing imo in beating anxiety is getting past the fear of risk, be more willing to take risks and build up a belief that if that risk comes, you find a way to deal with it. Nomatter the danger, anything from fear of bugs, learn to take the bug up into your hands and take it out of the window. Or to actually pretty dangerous situations, but a dangerous situation that you for some reason HAS to complete and do. Build up strengh and belief that you can overcome the challenge, and if THAT happens, you or the medics find a way to deal with the consequense if it goes wrong. People with lot of anxiety, both rational and irrational lacks the bravery to take risks, and that is totally okay and totally human. But you can exercise the brain to be more willing to take risks and go with the flow, see where it leads, and build the belief in that if that happens, you will find a way to deal with it and think positively about it, consider the worst, and the best things that could happen, and believe in the best things will happen, and if the worst happens, you find a way to deal with it. That is imo how you cope with SEVERE anxiety, and there are no easy way out of it, you need to be very strong and practise selfbelief, and risktaking.. The day you master those, anxiety won´t beat you as easily.

  21. These are good advices, maybe hard to perform, but good. And they are scalable, so you can start with small steps.

  22. I have asthma and whenever I get anxiety I actually get short breath which makes me panic and then the worst thoughts and voices attack me. Sometimes I control it by writing songs, breathing in and out through my mouth or calling a person important to me

  23. 1) @7:50 DO IT BADLY – frees us to take action… "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly, the first time" @8:20
    2) @10:58 FORGIVE YOURSELF – If you had a friend who treated you like you do, you'd dump them.
    3) @12:32 HAVE A PURPOSE & MEANING IN LIFE … do for others. Even if we feel there is nothing for us in life, life still expects something from us.

  24. Struggling with intense anxiety for past 15 years. my condition has caused me to loose jobs and being completely misunderstood. i go to bed with adrenaline and i awake with adrenaline. My last job caved in because i started getting panic attacks again 3 months ago. i then caught an Uber to the hospital and admit myself into The Psychiatric ward for the 1st time. I could not turn off my worry and adrenaline.. i am 31 years old, i take diazepam, temazepam, efexor and beta blockers. None of them really work for me cause my level of stress is quite high After the traumatic experience i had which i feel snapped in my brain and feeling that sense of normality has changed. Im doing the best i can but its so difficult to challenge my conditioned thought process.
    i wont give up ever. I'll keep up the fight and any others out there take care. never give up

  25. im 12 and i get very anxious a lot and i thought i was getting better dealing with my nerves till around about now, i’m doing an acting workshop on a show for two weeks in a few days and i don’t know anyone who is going to it and i’ve been so nervous and have had this sick feeling for a couple of days now. this video helped me especially the comments. one thing that can help me is just thinking ‘what’s the worse that could happen’ i mean seriously are u going to die? no. will you be emotionally scarred for life? no. yeah maybe it might not go well but that annoying feeling WILL go away and u won’t think about it in a week or two. just fake it till you make it, fake the confidence and the ‘social butterfly’ thing and be who YOU are that’s the only thing that matters. get up, do it for YOU

  26. The blueprint of anxiety is that our consious mind try to overpower our brain. Overtime this gets recorded and act as a program that runs on subconsious mind that gradually turns to be a part of routine. our subconsious mind has the power to heal ourself, we need to have self talk that we cannot control anything and go with flow

  27. Yeah I try to think positive
    But then next day I’m exhausted I’m tired of feeling positive and putting the effort in, I can’t find motivation in my self.

  28. This summed up life to well😂
    I have to go somewhere to tomorrow and I don’t have choice. It’s really freaking me out. I’ve felt nauseous all day long and nervous like crazy! So I decided to listen to talks and stuff to distract me and calm me down. And I found this! Another thing that’s freaking me out where I’m going there are no phones allowed😬😫 I always text my friend or sister when I freak out and I won’t be able to😭 And I will not know a lot of the other ppl there. Soooo I hope I can calm down before tomorrow morning so I don’t die inside😂😂

  29. This lady reminds me of a few sweet, kind and soft spoken teachers I had in elementary school. She seems really cool.
    I have mild anxiety from time to time.
    When I was a kid I suffered a lot from anxiety. Sometimes situations for me would almost feel like an ordeal, such as when the teacher would call on me and if I didn't know the answer they would keep trying to get an answer out of me, and for me that was such torture and humiliation. Some kids stared at me and that definitely wouldn't help much!
    I also couldn't help it when my face would blare a bright crimson red when embarrassed or being cooked on the spot. The WORST was when my own friends would tell me/tease me that my face was beat red. I swear one friend I had, it was like she felt it was her duty to tell me my face was red. Yeah sure, like I couldn't feel the scorching heat in my cheeks. lol 😛
    I used to be very shy, quiet, and fearful, ..however over the years I believe I overcame most of it by doing things in school/college that most people would feel very uncomfortable to do. I would read aloud a lot in school…I did many presentations in school..I truly believe doing those helped me overcome a lot of my shyness and anxiety.
    Don't get me wrong I still have a little anxiety and shyness…but honestly I feel like I've came a long way and I feel more open and out going with most people.

  30. Panic and anxiety are not mental health issues… They are learned behaviors, that can be unlearned…

  31. I have 160 pages to read for a book that there is a test for in 6 days. I’m here instead I can’t do it, I guess I’m just going to not read it, I have 26.67 pages to read per day, and instead for a week, I’ve read five other books completely.

  32. Prayer can help… "O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life. O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord." – Inspired by a Baha'i Prayer

  33. I hate playing football. I dont like contact. I get super worried and sad when I remember I have it. I have this feeling 7 days a week. I still have a month or two left of football.

  34. Right now it’s 5am been dealing with really bad anxiety for 5 days now I’m exhausted, I want it to stop but it won’t. It has literally taken over any bit of happiness in my life.

  35. this best describes me..dint know what i was going through until i came around this thank you so much for creating anxiety awareness

  36. Just wonderful, I have been researching "foods that lower social anxiety" for a while now, and I think this has helped. You ever tried – Qanwen Donuke Approach – (Have a quick look on google cant remember the place now ) ? Ive heard some great things about it and my cousin got cool success with it.

  37. I did something wrong five months ago. I said something I should not have said when I was talking with my male instructor (I am a female) He teaches English language and he was encouraging me to write. I grabbed my phone and I told him that I already write some stuff. He told me to show him so I went through my notes (which I wrote when I was depressed) I had never shown those things to anyone but I showed him just one paragraph of them ( I was saying in that paragraph that I am burning without being in fire, I am drowning even though I am not in water, I want to breath … and lots of other stuff) I was hesitated to show him and I hold the phone for about 5 seconds thinking that I shouldn't show him, but something inside me said that It's fine and I did show him. he read it and he asked me if that's what I'm feeling. I said that It was for a long time, and then I hesitated again (should I tell him what happened with me? I thought no I should not but I said what happened!) I end up telling him that my friend cheated on me and I had family issues. I feel so regret even thought it has been 5 months since that happened and I have anxiety and can not sleep. Why did it tell him even though I knew I should not tell him? this is why I feel so regret. I did it even though I knew it was wrong. What should I do? (note: I am 18 and have OCD)

  38. She's talking as if we're living in this world alone ….. has she forgotten about all the judgement people give you it is the main reason you get anxiety in the first place

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