Get Yourself Out There
If you suffer from mild to moderate social anxiety, you might just feel like you are in a rut most of the time. What is the best way to get out of a rut? Do something.
Although it can be tempting to avoid social and performance situations if you suffer from social anxiety disorder , it is important to get yourself out there. That means accepting invitations to go places and do things that make you uncomfortable. At the same time, you need to prepare yourself to properly handle being out there.
You Answered Yes To Question
If you answered yes to one or more of the questions, you might have an anxiety disorder. Most people deal with stress in their lives, but when stress begins to significantly interfere with our functioning and/or causes impairment, it might be more problematic than âeveryday stressâ. The good news is that anxiety disorders can be successfully treated. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, and think that they are negatively interfering with your life, it might be time to seek treatment!
It will be important to begin with a structured clinical evaluation by a professional to see if you meet criteria for an anxiety disorder, which will inform your treatment plan. Our mental health impacts many aspects of our lives, such as our physical health and our quality of life, which is why it is so important to address any mental health problems with effective treatments!
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a licensed professional. To begin your search for a mental health professional, go to the ADAA’s Therapist Directory.
How Do I Know If I Need Help
Fear and anxiety can affect all of us every now and then. It is only when it is severe and long-lasting that doctors class it as a mental health problem. If you feel anxious all the time for several weeks, or if it feels like your fears are taking over your life, then its a good idea to ask your doctor for help, or try one of the websites or numbers listed at the back of this booklet. The same is true if a phobia is causing problems in your daily life, or if you are experiencing panic attacks.
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Talk To A Therapist With Experience In Anxiety Attacks
People often fear the worst when they’re having an anxiety attack. Most of the time, theres no underlying physical problem, such as a real heart attack. But you should get the medical all clear if you have repeat anxiety attacks, just to be sure you dont need additional treatment. Then find a cognitive behavioral therapist with experience treating anxiety to help you through.
Taking Action To Manage Your Anxiety
Once you make your way through these three steps, you can start to manage your anxiety daily in ways that allow you to grow as a leader and be more resourceful and productive.
The following tactics can help ground you.
Control what you can
Many faith traditions teach us to accept what we cannot control, without preoccupation or panic. But in the middle of an anxiety attack at work, you probably dont have time for philosophy. So heres what to do when things feel completely off the rails.
Structure your time. A solid body of research shows that improved time management disposition meaning your attitude toward how you organize and value your time has a positive impact on mental health. And its especially crucial when youre gripped by anxiety.
First thing in the morning, create a to-do list and a detailed schedule for your day. I like to do it while having my coffee. You might use 30-minute increments to spell out when youll shower, take a lunch break, make a phone call, or tackle that report that needs to get done. This is what many experts call timeboxing. While youre at it, try to avoid what cognitive behavioral therapy terms cognitive distortions. These are the catastrophic thoughts, self-judgments, and all-or-nothing ideas that often accompany anxiety.
Be careful not to overschedule or overestimate your productivity instead focus on the critical work and leave time to take care of yourself.
Develop techniques for situations you cant control
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Where Do I Go From Here
In addition to talking to your family doctor, check out the resources below for more information about social anxiety disorder:
AnxietyBCVisit www.anxietybc.com or call 604-525-7566 for self-help information and community resources.
BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions InformationVisit www.heretohelp.bc.ca for info sheets and personal stories about social anxiety disorder. Youll also find more information, tips and self-tests to help you understand many different mental health problems.
Resources available in many languages:* If English is not your first language, say the name of your preferred language in English to be connected to an interpreter. More than 100 languages are available.
HealthLink BCCall 811 or visit www.healthlinkbc.ca to access free, non-emergency health information for anyone in your family, including mental health information. Through 811, you can also speak to a registered nurse about symptoms youre worried about, or a pharmacist about medication questions.
Crisis lines arent only for people in crisis. You can call for information on local services or if you just need someone to talk to. If you are in distress, call 310-6789 24 hours a day to connect to a BC crisis line, without a wait or busy signal. The crisis lines linked in through 310-6789 have received advanced training in mental health issues and services by members of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.
Stop An Anxiety Attack With Belly Breathing
Feeling short of breath is a hallmark symptom of an anxiety attack. But you can make the feeling worse by taking short, shallow breaths. Try belly breathing instead to stop the anxiety attack.
Carbonell compares the type of breathing youll need with the breathing of infants, whose bellies rise and fall with each inhale and exhale. When an anxiety attack starts, exhale deeply, loosen your shoulders, and focus on some longer, deeper inhales and exhales that let your belly rise and fall. Place one hand on your belly if you need to feel this happening.
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How Anxiety Disorders Affect People
For people dealing with anxiety disorders, symptoms can feel strange and confusing at first. For some, the physical sensations can be strong and upsetting. For others, feelings of doom or fear that can happen for no apparent reason can make them feel scared, unprotected, and on guard. Constant worries can make a person feel overwhelmed by every little thing. All this can affect someone’s concentration, confidence, sleep, appetite, and outlook.
People with anxiety disorders might avoid talking about their worries, thinking that others might not understand. They may fear being unfairly judged, or considered weak or scared. Although anxiety disorders are common, people who have them may feel misunderstood or alone.
Some people with anxiety disorders might blame themselves. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed, or mistakenly think that anxiety is a weakness or a personal failing. Anxiety can keep people from going places or doing things they enjoy.
The good news is, doctors today understand anxiety disorders better than ever before and, with treatment, a person can feel better.
Why Wont My Fear Go Away And Leave Me Feeling Normal Again
Fear may be a one-off feeling when you are faced with something unfamiliar.
But it can also be an everyday, long-lasting problem even if you cant put your finger on why. Some people feel a constant sense of anxiety all the time, without any particular trigger.
There are plenty of triggers for fear in everyday life, and you cant always work out exactly why you are frightened or how likely you are to be harmed. Even if you can see how out of proportion a fear is, the emotional part of your brain keeps sending danger signals to your body.
Sometimes you need mental and physical ways of tackling fear.
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Why Do I Have Anxiety
What causes anxiety and anxiety disorders is complex. It is likely that a combination of both genetics and environmental factors play a role in why some individuals are more prone to anxiety than others. Some events, emotions, or experiences may make it more likely for the symptoms of anxiety to begin or worsenthese are known as triggers. Anxiety triggers can cause panic attacks in some people and differ from person to person and so working with a mental health professional to identify what your triggers are and how you can react when faced with them can be incredibly helpful.
Find What Relaxes You
There are already things in your life that relax you. You may find it beneficial to make a list of things you enjoy and that help you to relax so you can reference it when symptoms of anxiety arise. When you notice your anxiety rising turn to those activities to help stop symptoms before they escalate.
For example, if you find that a warm bath is relaxing, don’t wait, draw a bath, maybe light some candles or add a few nice scents and get in. Whether it’s a bath, a shower, skipping stones at a park, getting a massage – if it works, do it right away, rather than allowing yourself to become overwhelmed by your anxiety.
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What Makes You Afraid
Lots of things make us feel afraid. Being afraid of some things like fires can keep you safe. Fearing failure can make you try to do well so that you wont fail, but it can also stop you doing well if the feeling is too strong.
What youre afraid of and how you act when youre afraid of something can vary per person. Just knowing what makes you afraid and why can be the first step to sorting out problems with fear.
How can we manage and reduce stress? Our free downloadable pocket guide offers you 101 tips: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-stress.
Tackling Fears Using A List Method
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Dont Drag Others Down
Office drama can be entertaining at times, but it ultimately makes the environment more stressful and lowers morale. Try changing the subject when people talk poorly of coworkers or the boss, or simply come up with a reason to leave the room. Dont respond to texts or emails that seek to drag others down.
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.
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How Much Worrying Is Too Much
Worries, doubts, and anxieties are a normal part of life. Its natural to worry about an unpaid bill, an upcoming job interview, or a first date. But normal worry becomes excessive when its persistent and uncontrollable. You worry every day about what ifs and worst-case scenarios, you cant get anxious thoughts out of your head, and it interferes with your daily life.
Constant worrying, negative thinking, and always expecting the worst can take a toll on your emotional and physical health. It can sap your emotional strength, leave you feeling restless and jumpy, cause insomnia, headaches, stomach problems, and muscle tension, and make it difficult to concentrate at work or school. You may take your negative feelings out on the people closest to you, self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, or try to distract yourself by zoning out in front of screens. Chronic worrying can also be a major symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder , a common anxiety disorder that involves tension, nervousness, and a general feeling of unease that colors your whole life.
If youre plagued by exaggerated worry and tension, there are steps you can take to turn off anxious thoughts. Chronic worrying is a mental habit that can be broken. You can train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more balanced, less fearful perspective.
Try A Meditation For Anxiety From Headspace
With regular meditation, we increase our ability to manage anxiety. Headspace co-founder and former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe says that were not trying to get rid of the anxiety when we sit to meditate thats not how you tackle anxiety. As Andy says, Meditation isnt about resisting anxiety or pushing it away its about changing our relationship to it, being at ease with it, and being okay with it when it arises, without buying into it. When were able to watch the anxiety come and go, then thats a really comfortable, healthy place to be.