Did you know that Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness? Here in the US, over 40 million adults struggle with anxiety. That’s about 20% of us!! Anxiety leads to missed work, opportunities lost, and can simply ruin our day. This is why we need strategies for dealing with anxiety, in the short and long term.
WHAT IS ANXIETY?
Anxiety affects most people from time to time. It is a built in survival tool, given to us to help us be aware of potential dangers or trouble in the road ahead. In these small instances it can be that gut instinct that something is wrong and help us to avoid a bad decision. When something is truly wrong, anxiety is a healthy, natural reaction to a situation that soon passes once the problem is resolved.
Symptoms of Anxiety
- Numbness and tingling
- Chest pain
- Neck tension
- Stomach upset, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Pulsing in the ear
- Burning skin
- Fear of impending doom
- Shortness of breath
- Electric shock feeling, a bit like pins and needles
- Shooting pains in the face
- Heart palpitations, elevated heart rated
- Weakness in legs
- Feeling like you are going to go crazy
- Inability to rest
- Sleep problems
Unfortunately however, our healthy and natural anxiety response can sometimes run amuck, producing an excessive amount of anxiety. We don’t know exactly why some people get anxiety disorders and others don’t; there’s no one single cause. What we do know is that triggers like prescription medicines, sleep changes, hormonal imbalances, illicit substances, stress, changes in brain chemistry, genetics, environment, and traumatic events can all contribute to extra anxiety.
Anxiety disorder is when anxiety gets out of control, and becomes a constant state in which we live our lives. It begins to inhibit us from moving forward in any direction, and can lead to panic and even heart conditions.
Dealing With Anxiety: Short term solutions
Regardless of whatever the cause of your symptoms may be, our tips will help you get better at dealing with anxiety in the moment. When anxiety levels spike, you can use these strategies to calm down.
Assess your negative thoughts from a distance:
Sometimes when we feel our anxiety levels bubbling up, there’s a specific worry triggering us. You might find yourself repeating thoughts or focusing intensely on bad things that might happen.
Make an effort to breathe, and take an imaginary step back from your own worried head and the anxious thoughts racing inside of it. Now, as if you were a seperate person, examine each of those repetitive thoughts. Ask yourself, how realistic is this thought? Do those disaster scenarios I’ve been imagining have anything to back them up? Practicing this skill can help you identify your irrational and unproductive thoughts, which will keep them from taking over completely.
Develop your escape plan:
When I say escape plan, I don’t mean you should literally run away from whatever is stressing you out. Rather, I mean you should develop a simple, and practical relaxing ritual to help you escape from rising anxiety whenever it pops up. Here are two examples:
- Breaking to breathe: The oldest trick in the anxiety book is breathing. We can take a moment to stop and breathe in public, at home, with friends or family, anywhere. Taking long slow breaths will force your body to relax a little bit, relieving you from some of those physical symptoms of anxiety. By focusing on your breaths rather than anxious thoughts, you will be able to take away some of their power. After a breathing exercise, you might be able to see more clearly that your fears aren’t realistic.
- Aromatherapy: Personally, aromatherapy is one of the best ways for me to manage my own anxiety. I tend to carry a small container of fragrant essential oil or balm wherever I go. When I start to feel my anxiety, I excuse myself, and go somewhere quiet to take a whiff. Something about the smell of herbs and flowers calms me down, and changes my focus. Lavender, sage, sweet orange, and patchouli are great relaxing scents to use for this tip.
Dealing With Anxiety: Long term solutions
Although anxiety disorders are highly treatable, most of us never get help. Based on the statistics, we know that only about 40% of those with anxiety disorders will ever seek out professional treatment. Unfortunately, the most common “treatment” for anxiety is a prescription for anxiolytics. Here at intervention.com, we don’t believe this is enough.
Anxiety disorders are an addictive state, and unfortunately nowadays is often tackled with prescription anxiety medication rather than looking at healing the source of the problem as we do here at intervention.com in our anxiety treatment program. Holistic treatment is the only true long term solution for anxiety. You must take the time to work on the source of your anxiety. Deep seated beliefs, our childhood, habitual behaviors, physical triggers: these things have to be addressed. Simply put, if you avoid the source of your anxiety, the symptoms will persist.