Anxiety is an emotional reaction to a perceived threat and often known as fight/flight response. This is an adaptive response designed to protect the individual from harm. When in real danger anxiety serves to promote our safety. However, when it becomes overly exaggerated it can disrupt normal life and become extremely debilitating.
If you are struggling with anxiety, it is very important to know that you are not alone. Anxiety problems are very common, whether it is because of genetics (inherited traits), experience and learning, stressful or traumatic events as well as the basic uncertainty of life. Many people confuse fear with anxiety. Fear is what you experience when you are actually in a stressful or threatening situation. Anxiety on the other hand is more of a future-focused emotion. Your body is putting you on alert for some possible future dangerous assumed situations. One emotion is about the anticipation of an event, while the other is about actual experience of the event.
According to DSM-V, anxiety is diagnosed when the individual finds that there is excessive anxiety and worry occurring more days than not for at least 6 months at school, home, work or social events. Worry is also accompanied by restlessness, easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance. These symptoms should not be attributable to drug or alcohol use, medication, or organic reason as Hyperthyroidism.
It can manifest as chest tightness, shortness of breath, heart palpitation, trembling, or sweating. It can appear I different forms and at different levels and intensities. It can vary from uneasiness up to a full-blown panic attack.
My goals in treating anxiety will be reducing over all frequency, intensity and duration of the anxiety so daily functioning is not impaired or affected and resolve core conflicts that is the source of anxiety.
Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy together with abdominal breathing, relaxation techniques, physical exercise, working on replacing catastrophic with realistic thoughts, habituation to body sensations associated with anxiety, exposure and desensitization on facing phobic situation instead of avoiding to help reduce sensitivity to perceived threats. Teaching mindfulness and staying in the here and now also helps the client to master anxiety.
Moreover, life style changes as stress management, eliminating stimulants and sugar from the diet, slowing down and simplifying life, altering attitude about perfectionism, and excessive need to please people and needing to control.
Anxiety is treatable and possible to master and overcome.
Tips for Managing ANXIETY
. Create awareness of your thoughts, inner narrative, is it health or unhealthy
. Learn to manage these thoughts by reframing, stopping, holding them captive or journaling. You have to know and hear your thoughts if you want to challenge them. That comes with time out from the hectic life doing meditation, relaxation or exercise.
. With anxiety watch for polarization or exaggeration. Reframe that by remembering previous success.
. Predicting the best and the worst scenario in the situation outcomes.
Ask yourself would this matter in a week, month or a year, to put it in a reasonable, realistic, and rational perspective.
. Keep a thought log to track anxious thoughts and their triggers
That will help increase self-awareness.
. Know your triggers in order not to avoid them but to manage them appropriately.
. Writing slows down your mind and it can be a reference for you to go back and read it
. Write down a list of your automatic negative thoughts
. write a list of things you can control versus things you cannot control
. You need to think in new ways about your unhealthy habits
These habits whether in action or thought are usually strengths misused
. Anxiety is common, you are not alone, nothing to be ashamed of or hide because of.
. Mindfulness, and meditation, using the app Pacifica that helps people with breathing, relaxation, and mindfulness exercises.
. Practicing deep breathing exercises to help yourself to be grounded, focused
Also, hugging yourself, crossing your arms across your chest with both feet planted on the floor. Alternating between both hands tapping yourself on the back, this is called the” Butterfly Hug Technique” this movement produces bilateral stimulation and self-soothing. Love the idea of hugging yourself. That with deep breathing will help with the anxiety you might be feeling.
. Together with deep breathing and grounding, walking and focusing on the foot hitting the ground will interrupt the feeling of anxiety.
Tips for Anxiety
. Have a plan for the day and share it with someone you trust.
. Do not allow anybody’s presence to cancel your life.
. Stay in the present—5 THINGS TO SEE, 4 THINGS TO TOUCH, 3 THINGS TO HEAR,
2 THINGS TO SMELL AND 1 THING TO TASTE.
. Always remember to state your blessings.
. Talk to yourself or write about the present.
. Physical safety: Body is not in danger
. Mental safety: You are able to choose your belief system and patterns of
Thinking and have the awareness that will get you where you
Want to go.
. Emotional safety: You are able to identify how you feel, recognize what your
Intuition tells you and then act on it.
. Spiritual safety: Believing and trusting in a Higher Power. Using this belief as a
Mean of protection for yourself and others around you.
What makes you feel safe when you are alone, with others, different situations?
What makes the setting/ people safe? If it is unsafe, what changes can you make to turn it safe?
How can you protect yourself?
What do your answers say about you?
What things around you help you feel grounded and safe?
How do you protect yourself from your own negative feelings and unhealthy / hurtful thoughts or beliefs?
Pick a positive feeling you want to have at the beginning of the day and practice behaviors and thoughts to bring that feeling.
Make a list of your negative unsafe thoughts and write a counter/reframe one.
Notice when you begin to feel anxious/ unsafe during the day, chart those times, identify triggers and then consciously do something that brings safety and self-comfort.
When you are able to overcome a situation, reward yourself.
Find your favorite music and listen to it
What does your safe place looks like, single word to describe it.