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15 Foolproof Ways to Increase Anxiety!

In my last blog post, I shared “15 Surefire ways to stay nice and depressed”…So this week I thought I’d write about some fun and easy ways to increase your anxiety as well. Although depression doesn’t like company much, anxiety is one of its trusty companions – So here we go!

  1. Drink lots of caffeine: If you already have anxiety but want to take things to the next level, make sure you consume plenty of caffeine.  It doesn’t matter if you like coffee, tea, energy drinks or soda. Any of them will do. Start early in the morning so that you have enough in your system to get you nice and anxious for the day ahead.
  2. Avoid things that trigger your anxiety: This one might seem a little counter-intuitive.  When we gradually and consistently expose ourselves to things that cause anxiety, anxiety tends to decrease.  Since we are shooting for an increase in anxiety, avoid or escape from the situations that cause anxiety. This way, you’ll reinforce your brain/body’s response to anxiety and be sure to experience a full fight-or-flight response when you have no choice but to be in those situations.
  3. Say no to exercise! Since exercise has some great natural anxiety relieving properties, you’ll want to make sure to avoid doing something that will naturally reduce stress and increase your overall well-being.
  4. Use your imagination. This one’s fun. When anxiously waiting for some future event to occur, make sure to imagine all of the worst case scenarios.  Tell yourself how horribly it could and probably will go.  Get creative and make sure to make up all sorts of interesting stories about this thing that has yet to happen. Forget about times in the past when things went much better than you imagined they would.  If you’re feeling a bit stuck, thoughts about failure, rejection, and embarrassment should get you on the right track.
  5. Judge your feelings and convince yourself that they always mean something. When feeling scared, worried, or uneasy in general, try to tell yourself that this must mean something bad.  Don’t accept anxiety as one of the normal human emotions that we all feel from time to time. Judge your anxiety and judge yourself for having anxiety.
  6. Judge your thoughts, too! This one goes hand in hand with judging your feelings.  When you have a negative, scary, or unsettling thought, remind yourself that this must mean something bad about you or what might happen to you.  
  7. Therapy? Absolutely not. This one is obvious.  In therapy you risk learning more about your anxiety, underlying causes of anxiety, and some really helpful ways of managing symptoms of anxiety.  That would be counterproductive. 
  8. Forget to breathe. When you’re on-edge, try to take quick shallow breaths instead of slow deep breaths.  Deep breathing can help you to calm down and relax quickly and that could be a problem. 
  9. Overwhelm yourself by biting off more than you can chew.  You can never have too much on your plate if you want to keep or to increase your level of anxiety.  Stress yourself out by overextending yourself, refusing to say no, and by spending more time at work.
  10. Aim for perfection. Don’t be okay with anything short of perfection.  Since unrealistic high standards can never be met, you’ll be sure to fall short of those personal standards on a daily basis. In no time, your anxiety will be sky-high!
  11. Put other people’s needs and wants before your own. Neglect taking care of yourself. Please lots of people but neglect your own well-being and self-care needs.  Taking time for yourself to relax, unwind, or to decompress will only keep you balanced.  
  12. Whatever you do, don’t write down the things that are bothering you.  Journaling about the things on your mind only serves to organize and compartmentalize your thoughts. Writing is a form of expressing yourself and processing thoughts, memories, and feelings.  This could lead to feeling a little bit less anxious or overwhelmed and that would defeat the purpose of what we’re trying to accomplish here.
  13. Procrastinate, Procrastinate, Procrastinate. Put things off – even the easiest things that can be done right now.  Let the weight of the things you’ve been putting off stay ever present. When we write lists about obligations, prioritize, and start checking things off of our to-do lists, we magically begin to feel less stressed. Because of that, it’s clear to see why procrastinating is the way to go.  
  14. Get good and hung over as often as possible. Nothing triggers a good ol’ fashioned bout of anxiety like having way too much to drink.  You’ll wake up with a speedy li’l heart rate and a refreshing sense of dread.  If you can’t do this everyday, at least save your binges for the night before a big obligation or event.  
  15. Mindfulness meditations – Nope! Since learning mindfulness strategies helps you practice the art of being present and provides tools for effectively managing thoughts, you’ll want to stay away from guided meditations, yoga, or anything else that grounds you in the present moment.

Warning: Doing the opposite of all of the items listed, might lead to the opposite of the desired result of increased anxiety.

But for real, anxiety is no fun.  It can really control our lives if left unaddressed. If you already experience a high level of anxiety, it would be expected that the thought of going to therapy for anxiety might seem a little overwhelming.  Because of this, we make the process as easy, comfortable, and relaxed as possible.  We’ll lead the way and won’t put any pressure on you to move at a pace any faster than feels right for you. Contact us to get started today. 

 

Joel Schmidt, MA, LMHC

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