Put Your Anxiety To Rest
Theres no way to completely cure any anxiety disorder, but the right combination of solutions can provide much-needed relief. In fact, treatment helps most people with anxiety reduce their symptoms enough to regain full control over their daily lives.
If youre ready to put your anxiety disorder to rest for good, we can help. our office in West Los Angeles, California, or to schedule a visit with one of our experienced mental health specialists.
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Stop Spending Your Time Fighting The Anxiety And The Anxious Thoughts
Let them hang out with you while you go do something else.
Youll find that by taking this non-defensive stance, the anxiety eventually eases up without you doing anything about it. It might take a while, but it will happen. In the meantime, remember that in the short-term, both alternatives involve feeling the anxiety.
In the short-term, its there if you try to get rid of it and its there if you stop trying to get rid of it. So why bother with all that effort? It goes nowhere anyway, so whats the point? Give yourself a break and try accepting the anxiety instead of fighting it.
I see this work for people all the time, and I know it will work for you if you give it a chance.
Interested in learning some of the most common and most effective strategies I teach my clients for dealing with anxiety and worry? Check out my self-help video series, How to Stop Overanalyzing, with over 3 hours of content covering the skills I teach to almost all of my clients in the first 5 therapy sessions.
About Dr. Stein
Make Stress Your Friend
Along similar lines, health psychologist and world-renowned speaker Kelly McGonigal makes the case for a positive rethinking of stress. In this talk, she explains, its not so much the stress itself that is harmful, as the way in which we think about it.
Instead of seeing stress as your enemy, you can make it work for you. Stress and anxiety are nothing but a sign that you care about something, and this care can be molded into something that wildly improves your performance instead of inhibiting it.
But isnt this just wishy-washy, think positive, smile-at-yourself-in-the-mirror-and-your-depression-will-go-away kind of pseudo-science?
Not really. McGonigal grounds her beliefs in pretty solid scientific evidence, ranging from observational studies to randomized trials, and her book The Upside of Stress, is studded with references to numerous studies which showed actual results.
One such study tested out a simple three-step process for dealing with stress and anxiety in the workplace, and yielded positive results. Here it is, as laid out by McGonigal:
The first step is to acknowledge stress when you experience it. Simply allow yourself to notice the stress, including how it affects your body.
The second step is to welcome the stress by recognizing that its a response to something you care about. Can you connect to the positive motivation behind the stress? What is at stake here, and why does it matter to you?
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Identify And Learn To Manage Your Triggers
You can identify triggers on your own or with a therapist. Sometimes they can be obvious, like caffeine, drinking alcohol, or smoking. Other times they can be less obvious.
Long-term problems, such as financial or work-related situations, may take some time to figure out is it a due date, a person, or the situation? This may take some extra support, through therapy or with friends.
When you do figure out your trigger, you should try to limit your exposure if you can. If you cant limit it like if its due to a stressful work environment that you cant currently change using other coping techniques may help.
Try The File It Mind Exercise
The File It technique works particularly well if youre lying awake at night thinking of all the things you have to do or havent done, or if youre rehashing something that happened during the day.
These are the steps for performing this exercise:
The idea with this exercise is that youre taking a moment to name your triggers, examine them, and then consciously put them aside with a deadline to tackle them later. In other words, youre validating your own feelings and making a plan to deal with them, one by one, when its a better time.
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What Makes You Anxious
Because anxiety is a type of fear, the things weve described about fear above are also true for anxiety.
The word anxiety tends to be used to describe worry, or when fear is nagging and persists over time. It is used when the fear is about something in the future rather than what is happening right now.
Anxiety is a word often used by health professionals when theyre describing persistent fear. The ways that you feel when youre frightened and anxious are very similar, as the basic emotion is the same.
Do I Need Treatment For Anxiety
Thereâs a lot you can do on your own to relieve anxiety, but sometimes you need help. Psychotherapy and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety disorders.
Signs that itâs time to talk to a mental health professional include:
- Constant or nearly constant anxiety
- Anxiety that gets in the way of your daily activities, like work or social life
- Anxiety about things that donât actually threaten you
- Panic attacks
Check your health insurance policy to see what mental health services your plan covers. Then, review a list of your in-network providers to find one to connect with.
âYou donât want to add to your anxiety by paying big out-of-pocket fees,â Kissen says.
Your primary care doctor may also be able to recommend a mental health professional with experience treating anxiety and anxiety disorders.
Rosmarin notes that itâs important to find a provider you click with and trust. He also says therapy doesnât need to go on indefinitely to be effective.
âA course of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety may be eight to 10 sessions,â he says. âThereâs also data to suggest that people feel substantially better after just one therapy session for panic disorder.â
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How To Reduce Anxiety
Feelings of anxiety â uneasiness, dread, fear, or an inexplicable sense of impending doom â can be deeply unpleasant. Whether anxiety presents itself as an upset stomach, heart palpitations, a nervous tension that colors everything, or even a panic attack, the discomfort and distress can be extremely challenging.
Weâre not talking about general, everyday anxiousness here, but clinical anxiety â the kind that can be all-consuming and, sometimes, debilitating. When classified as a disorder, anxiety is âpersistent and excessive worryâ where individuals can lose rational perspective and âexpect the worst, even when there is no apparent reason for concern,â according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Chronic or severe symptoms may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder , which affects close to 40 million adults in the US and, according to the World Health Organization , 1 in 13 globally. Thankfully, there are effective therapies and medications as doctors and healthcare professionals determine the best treatment options that are right for you.
With the right skills and lifestyle changes, we can better regulate our emotions and train our brain to view life with a more balanced, less fearful perspective. Hereâs how to relieve anxiety naturally, and with awareness.
The Answer Is No You Are Not Stuck With It Forever Because There Is An Alternative To Trying To Control Anxiety: Acceptance
Acceptance is the opposite of control. It means allowing yourself to think and feel whatever pops up, even when it is uncomfortable. If trying to control anxious thoughts is the problem, then allowing yourself to think anxious thoughts must be the solution.
This is probably a very different approach from the way youve been doing things. Its probably a very different approach from what people have told you to do before. But it works.
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When Is My Anxiety Harmful
Identifying what sort of anxiety youre dealing with can be somewhat challenging because how ones body reacts to perceived danger can be entirely different compared to another person.
Its likely you heard anxiety as a blanket term for that general feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. Its often a feeling grown in response to an upcoming event that has an uncertain outcome.
Every person deals with it at one time or another, because its part of our brains response to a perceived danger even if that danger isnt real.
That said, there are times anxiety can get serious and turn into anxiety attacks that initially feel manageable and then gradually build up over a few hours.
Tip : Distinguish Between Solvable And Unsolvable Worries
Research shows that while youre worrying, you temporarily feel less anxious. Running over the problem in your head distracts you from your emotions and makes you feel like youre getting something accomplished. But worrying and problem solving are two very different things.
Problem solving involves evaluating a situation, coming up with concrete steps for dealing with it, and then putting the plan into action. Worrying, on the other hand, rarely leads to solutions. No matter how much time you spend dwelling on worst-case scenarios, youre no more prepared to deal with them should they actually happen.
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What Should You Do If Youre Anxious
So what can you do if you notice yourself feeling anxious? Start by facing your anxiety, advises psychologist Susan Albers-Bowling, PsyD. Then try these 9 ways to calm yourself:
Steer Clear Of Alcohol
Drinking alcohol may take the edge off at first, since its a natural sedative. However, suggests theres a link between anxiety and alcohol consumption, with anxiety disorders and alcohol use disorder occurring hand-in-hand.A 2017 review that looked at 63 different studies showed that decreasing alcohol intake can improve both anxiety and depression.
Heavy drinking can interfere with the balance of neurotransmitters, which can be responsible for positive mental health. This interference creates an imbalance that may lead to certain symptoms of anxiety.
Anxiety may temporarily increase in early sobriety but can improve in the long run. Alcohol has also been shown to disrupt your bodys natural ability to sleep by interfering with sleep homeostasis. And as well later point out, a good nights sleep is incredibly helpful when combating anxiety.
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Try Some Aerobic Activity
During periods of anxiety, your body is filled with adrenaline. Putting that adrenaline toward aerobic activity can be a great way to improve your anxiety. Exercise has numerous advantages for controlling your anxiety symptoms:
- Exercise burns away stress hormones that create anxiety symptoms.
- Exercise tires your muscles, reducing excess energy and tension.
- Exercise releases endorphins in your brain which can improve overall mood.
- Exercise is linked to healthier breathing.
- Exercise is a healthy distraction.
Aerobic activity, like light jogging or even fast walking, can be extremely effective at reducing the severity of your anxiety symptoms, as well as the anxiety itself.
Learn How To Manage Your Anxious Thoughts
Anxiety doesn’t come out of the blue. When you have anxiety attacks, it’s often because your mind tends to spiral into negative thoughts – often without your control. Sometimes you can control this anxiety by keeping these thoughts at bay and learning to dismiss triggers that cause you anxiety.
For many, this is easier said than done. But there are many different strategies you can try that may be effective. These include:
A Question Checklist
When you feel anxious, have a checklist on hand of questions to ask yourself about that anxiety experience. The longer the checklist, the more you’ll find that your thoughts become more realistic. Questions that you can use include:
- Is there a reason to believe something is wrong?
- What evidence is there that something is wrong?
- Is there a chance I’m blowing this out of proportion?
Affirmations not for everyone, but those that do use them find them to be very beneficial. Affirmations are things that you say to yourself to make yourself feel better. These include:
- I’m okay. This is just anxiety and I will get passed this .
- I have a great life and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
- My anxiety won’t control me.
Getting Used to Physical Symptoms
The latter is known as “exposure therapy” and there are countless ways to create exercises that will habituate you to your panic attack triggers.
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Fear is one of the most powerful emotions. It has a very strong effect on your mind and body.
Fear can create strong signals of response when were in emergencies for instance, if we are caught in a fire or are being attacked.
It can also take effect when youre faced with non-dangerous events, like exams, public speaking, a new job, a date, or even a party. Its a natural response to a threat that can be either perceived or real.
Anxiety is a word we use for some types of fear that are usually to do with the thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future, rather than right now.
Fear and anxiety can last for a short time and then pass, but they can also last much longer and you can get stuck with them. In some cases they can take over your life, affecting your ability to eat, sleep, concentrate, travel, enjoy life, or even leave the house or go to work or school. This can hold you back from doing things you want or need to do, and it also affects your health.
Some people become overwhelmed by fear and want to avoid situations that might make them frightened or anxious. It can be hard to break this cycle, but there are lots of ways to do it. You can learn to feel less fearful and to cope with fear so that it doesnt stop you from living.