How To Manage Anxiety
For those that did not have the opportunity to listen live – I wanted to provide the article below that highlights some important points of anxiety.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is any physical or cognitive (mental) distress that is negatively impacting you in life. This is what I like to call the simple definition. Commonly experienced as worry or stress.
Who has anxiety?
As long as you are living and breathing. Then you qualify as a candidate for anxiety.
The differences in anxiety have to do with the severity and the form in which the anxiety presents itself. For instance, there is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is commonly known among military veterans. When you think about PTSD, try and consider yourself being in a situation in which you witnessed something life-changing. Maybe a close friend passing right in front of you…
This event will become a part of you and such – cause anxiety. The anxiety in PTSD can be noted when the person hears noises that relate to the event, sees someone that resembles the event, or an environment that resembles that of the event. Symptoms can include: nightmares, excessive sweating, hand tremors, and/or avoidance of anything that relates to the traumatic event as that may incline the person to experience anxiety.
An example is called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is one of many forms of anxiety.
For today’s topic, I want to focus on generalized anxiety. Which basically means exactly what it says: a general form of anxiety.
What are common symptoms of anxiety I may experience?
- Consistent worry over things in your life that you often have limited control over. For instance, “will the people at the party like me”; “will my boyfriend’s family or friends like me”.
- Hand tremors, rapid heartbeat, or excessive worry when in an uncomfortable situation.
- States of daydreaming. You basically pretend to listen to someone but at the middle or end of the conversation you are sitting there like “what did they just say?”
- Problems sleeping due to consistently thinking about thoughts that may be irrational, out of your control, or simply causing excessive worry. For instance, “will I get the pay raise I’ve been working so hard for?”; “how are we going to pay all these bills?”
- Overeating or not desiring to eat (when anxious).
A take-home message
Two important factors to remember when it comes to your symptoms of anxiety are CONTROL and AWARENESS. Make an effort to reflect back on your life and on what specifically causes your anxiety as well as how you react mentally and physically. If you do, ask a close friend or family member for help. Gain control over your anxiety as this will give you the edge in managing the symptoms and living a healthy balanced lifestyle.
You probably have experienced a little bit of what I am talking about. People that love you. Your kids, friends, and those that care about you – want you to be as close to 100% as possible. Because if you aren’t… that “little monster called stress and anxiety” will get you and take over
What are coping skills that I can use to manage my anxiety?
1. Deep breathing to lower the heart rate.
4x4x4 is an exercise that I came up with a while back. It’s really simple. Inhale for a duration of 4 seconds, exhale for a duration of 4 seconds and practice it 4 times. The difference is this exercise and what you may be doing now is that in this exercise you are (a) focusing on your breathing and numbers versus the anxiety (b) you are engaged in a true deep breathing cycle.
2. Visualization to reduce racing thoughts.
Practice playing out situations that cause anxiety in your head or life. For instance, if you grow anxious when going to job interviews – “I want you to drive to the interview site the day before and become familiar with your setting/environment. Do research on the company so that you feel more comfortable and in control. Lastly, practice interview questions”. Overall, this technique provides you with a feel of control and security.
3. Write down positive “I” statements that impact your anxiety-driven thoughts.
For instance, if you grow anxious due to the thought “if I don’t get this job my life will be over”. Write down some positive “I” statements and post them in your home, car, or phone. An example of positive “I” statements may include, “I’ve been through many difficult times in life and have always made It through”.
4. Surround yourself with supportive individuals.
If you feel comfortable – include your friends and family in your anxiety so that they may be your sounding board or reinforcement during difficult times.