Do You Suffer From Anxiety?
Anxiety is a part of life today. It is not necessarily bad. In fact, it could be a warning signal. Without anxiety, we would not anticipate difficulties and be prepared for them. However, people who suffer from an anxiety disorder are essentially phobic about the feeling of state of anxiety and try to avoid it, in the process exacerbating it. Some people experience excessive anxiety about real-life concerns like money, relationships, health, academic performance etc. Some battle with social anxiety, about being judged by others. In fact, people can experience anxiety related to just about anything. Anxiety becomes a disorder when it interferes with our daily lives and our ability to function. People suffering from chronic anxiety often report the following symptoms:
- Muscle tension
- Physical weakness
- Poor memory
- Inability to relax
- Constant worry
- Shortness of breath
- Poor concentration.
Some of us may not struggle with a clinical disorder, but want to manage sporadic but intrusive bouts of anxiety and stress. Here are some small but effective and steps every day to manage your anxiety:
Where does anxiety stem from? Consider how anxiety affects your life. Do you always aim for perfection? Seek the aproval of others or try and always be in control of the situation? Often identifying your responses to these three factors can help you understand where your anxiety stems from.
Keep yourself busy. Often idle time, or too much time to ponder over things, can lead to overthinking and magnifying the issues that produce anxiety. It is absolutely essential to keep your mind as well as body busy so that you don’t obsess over trivial things. Give a definite structure to your daily life.
Challenge anxious thoughts. Ask yourself a few questions: Is this worry realistic? Is this really likely to happen? If the possible outcome does take place, what would be so bad about that? Can I handle that? This will also help you sift fact from fiction. Is something you are worrying about really likely to happen to you?
Prepare. Train yourself to also think about how you would prepare for the worst case scenario. Ask yourself, what could I do in this case? How can I prepare for whatever may happen? An answer to at least one of these questions will help reduce anxiety and give a sense of some control of your life. So instead of worrying about, for eg., “I have high blood pressure so I’m going to get a heart attack and die”, you could ask yourself, “I have high blood pressure and if I want to avoid getting a heart attack, what is it that I can do? Should I change my eating habits and get some exercise?” Worry is often fiction but concern is based on facts.
Use encouraing words. The next step would be to use positive, precise and encouraging statements to help you put things into perspective. For instance, “This feels bad, but there ought to be a way out of this.” Or “I do have some strategies to cope with it.” It will make you feel empowered.
Stay socially connected. You don’t have to lead a hectic social life (it would be impossible if you suffer from social anxiety), but at least a basic social support is crucial to managing stress. Speak to those who care for you, be it family or a friend. Talking with others can do a world of good. You could even get together for an activity that helps with your anxiety – like joining a yoga class.
Remain grounded with spirituality. Putting your faith in the universe and in the forces that are far greater than us also helps alliviate anxiety. Surrender to those who watch over you, look back and recall little instances in your life when you have been helped, unexpectedly. That is definitely divine powers at work. Assure yourself, “I’ll float through this just fine.” Accept that you cannot control life. Relinquishing control is not being helpless. It means letting the universe do its job without you meddling.
Contact a therapist. Sometimes anxiety can be difficult to manage without professional help. If you have done all you could in terms of self-help but have not been able to achieve the results you were hoping for, it’s time to reach out to a professional mental health expert. There is no shame in it. Mental problems are no longer a stigma. Accept that you do have anxiety but it is going to be only temporary because help is available. All you have to do is make good use of it in order to recover and go back to having a full, productive life.