Anxiety is one of the most common reasons that people seek help for themselves or for someone they care about. Anxiety rates are higher now then they have been in past years. The Center for Anxiety reports that 40 million adults between the ages of 18 -54 struggle with anxiety. It seems to be taking […]
Anxiety is one of the most common reasons that people seek help for themselves or for someone they care about.
Anxiety rates are higher now then they have been in past years.
The Center for Anxiety reports that 40 million adults between the ages of 18 -54 struggle with anxiety. It seems to be taking over our society. Generally most people will report feeling anxious about their future and the future for their children. It is on the rise, as concerns increase over politics, government, social issues, school systems, medical health and mental health issues. If you struggle with anxiety—know this, Your Not Alone!
So what it is and what can be done about it?
Anxiety is feeling of worry nervousness or unease typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Life is filled with uncertainty and this is what creates the sense of unease or a experiences.
Luckily our bodies are made to respond to perceived threats. This is your nervous system that responds with three main survival mechanisms of Fight, Flight, and Freeze. These response are automatic and are activated to help you survive a frightening, overwhelming or dangerous circumstances. Because it is automatic–it by passes your thinking brain; because under threat–there is no time to think about options–Survival is the Key!
For example if a tiger is chasing you, that’s not the time to sit down and consider the best options. Your nervous system acts faster then you can think and immediately responds with survival action. Which is good for you and greatly increases your odds of surviving even a tiger.
The above system is also activated by intense worry and fear–like with anxiety. That same system attempts to respond to perceived threat. This is why your body has so many symptoms of anxiety. It is actually doing what it is suppose to be doing.
Our responses to the perceived threat or looming event can range from mild to intense experiences of anxiety. These can be physiological reactions of sweating, shaking, nervous pacing to urges to run, to strike out or to want to hide. These responses are geared to help us survive potential threat.
We can spend a great amount of energy or ” survival energy” worrying about what might happen or could happen. This is the core of what anxiety is; which I call the “what if’s…..” fears. Clients will often say they spend a great amount of time thinking about all the what if’s to the point they become frozen or feel unable to take action or make a decision. The accompanying feeling of intense dread to the point will trigger physical reactions as your body responds with survival instincts. This can turn into a cycle of frequent sense of feeling anxious and stressed most of the time. This is why it’s important to change how you cope with anxiety. Here are five tips to change how you cope.
- Don’t Avoid It! The most most common way that most people deal with anxiety is to avoid the event or experience that they are so worried about. This actually may seem like a good idea, however it doesn’t help the symptoms and the more you avoid the smaller you world becomes. Avoidance may initially seem to help things, like you may not feel so anxious or upset. However, the anxiety will usually just show up in a different form. Better to notice and calm self down, so you can better manage your thoughts and worries.
- Challenge those “what if’s….” This is honestly really difficult to stop those thoughts. However, you can change them. I like my client to say something like this instead, “Even though I am worried about …I know I can get through this. I have been through worst and got through tough stuff before”. Notice how the thinking shifts from focusing on the fear toward coping or managing it.
- Stop Future Forecasting! Most people who suffer with anxiety are frequently forecasting the worst outcome. This may seem like a good idea, like being prepared for the worst. However, that creates more feelings and symptoms of anxiety and panic. The more you focus on the worst it limits your ability to act or to make healthy decisions. It also inhibits from living in the right now–if you focus is on weeks from now or even months.
- Practice the Pause! This may seem easy, however pausing seems counter intuitive when your anxious. Pausing is an important key to dealing with anxiety. Pausing means to make space, to slow down, to breathe and calm your symptoms of anxiety. Calm minds and bodies make better decisions. So in the pause, do deep belly breathing, and if the space is available do gentle stretches and release physical tension.
- Do self-care. Take time every day even for 5-10 minutes to go for a walk, walk away from your desk and take a break, chat with a friend, be sure to get good sleep, eat regularly and stay hydrated. Self-care helps to release tension and support finding a balance in life.
Those are some quick ideas to help with your anxiety. Here is a great website to consider more idea. https://www.get.gg/anxiety.htm
Anxiety is common however there ways to live with it and to feel more freedom and peace by practicing some of these steps. It can also be helpful to meet with a therapist to talk over your worries and fears.