How To Manage Your Anxiety
We all feel anxiety at times. It becomes problematic when it feels unmanageable, which means different things for different people.
- The key to managing anxiety is learning to identify it, understand it, and respond to it with self-compassion.
- Mindfulness techniques like breath work, meditation, and yoga can reduce anxiety and improve cognition.
- Routines help reduce general feelings of anxiety and are often effective antidotes for those with more serious mental health disorders.
- If your anxiety is holding you back, simply imagining success, and encouraging yourself as you would a friend, has also been correlated with motivation and the achievement of goals.
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When I was nine, I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder by my first-ever therapist. My parents dragged me into treatment after repeatedly catching me cleaning their bathroom. I didnt mind, but I was confused. I didnt see anything wrong with what I was doing: organizing their medicine cabinet by color and size, throwing out expired antibiotics and sticky bottles of cough syrup. My favorite part was wiping down the sink with warm water, feeling my worries wash away with stubble and soap scum. Cleaning gave me the sense that I could find inner order among the outer chaos our cramped New York apartment, murmurs of my parents struggling marriage, the growing pains of adolescence.
Its all a practice.
How Parents Can Help Their Children Overcome Anxiety And Depression
The change in my daughters voice was a jolt to my heart. Previously marked by joy and excitement, her voice was now void of emotion. She was struggling with more than sadness she was experiencing full blown depression. Something needed to be done. I wondered, How I can I help her overcome anxiety and depression?
Maybe, like me, you have experienced a similar emotional shift in your kids. They may have moved from worry, stress, or fear to anxiety or gone from grief to depression. Perhaps your kids friends are going through mental health struggles too.
Unfortunately, anxiety and depression affect an ever growing population of kids and families today. When we understand how to best approach our kids and their swirling emotions, we will be more effective in helping them overcome anxiety or depression.
Reading The Signs: What Anxiety Looks Like In Children
Anxiety disorders reveal themselves in physical and psychological ways. How an anxiety disorder manifests depends on the age of the child and the type of anxiety disorder. Because anxiety can manifest through physical symptoms, its important to consult a pediatrician to make sure the behaviors and symptoms are anxiety-related and not due to an underlying medical condition.
Some general symptoms:
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Tone Your Inner Power Daily
Think of your inner power as a muscle just like any other muscle. The more you use it, the more toned it becomes and the more you are able to accomplish. Every time you practice a healthy life strategy, you actually increase your ability to conquer your anxiety. What you couldnt do yesterday, you can do today. With practice, your new skills will become automatic. This is how you create lasting freedom from anxiety.
In the words of Aristotle: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are like other forms of mental illness. They dont come from personal weakness, character flaws or problems with upbringing. But researchers dont know exactly what causes anxiety disorders. They suspect a combination of factors plays a role:
- Chemical imbalance: Severe or long-lasting stress can change the chemical balance that controls your mood. Experiencing a lot of stress over a long period can lead to an anxiety disorder.
- Environmental factors: Experiencing a trauma might trigger an anxiety disorder, especially in someone who has inherited a higher risk to start.
- Heredity: Anxiety disorders tend to run in families. You may inherit them from one or both parents, like eye color.
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Childhood Anxiety Can Worsen As Children Grow Left Untreated Anxiety Can Impact Both Physical And Emotional Health Here’s How To Help Your Child Manage Anxiety On Their Own
Fathers bravely patrolling the perimeter of bedrooms to show a frightened child there arent any multi-legged, hairy creatures hiding under their bed is a nighttime ritual regularly performed in homes around the world. But when spider anxiety prevents you from sleeping away from home or traveling, thats a problem. Its not the spider that stops you from doing adventurous things its youand your anxietythat stops you.
Its important to know the difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder though. Fear of spiders, bugs, birds, monsters, or strangers are considered common childhood fears that may cause temporary anxiety in a child. Thats a normal response. But, regardless of the trigger , normal anxiety turns toxic when it begins to occupy the childs thoughts in an all-consuming way and negatively affects the childs ability to engage in normal activities and behaviors.
Whats The Outlook For People With Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can often go undiagnosed and untreated. Fortunately, treatment can help. The right treatment can help improve your quality of life, relationships and productivity. It can also support your overall well-being.
You dont need to live with constant worry and fear. If you notice symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Its best to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Doing so can limit the problems that anxiety disorders can cause. Often, a combination of medications and counseling for anxiety can help you feel your best.
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Take A Moment To Slow Down
Take moments throughout the day to relax and center yourself. Deep breathing or taking part in an activity you enjoy can help break the anxiety cycle.
What would be great is if we practice the deep breathing, the relaxation technique throughout the day, said OMara. Set an alarm for morning, noon and night for five minutes.
Take a walk, listen to music, get a massage or practice yoga on your lunch break. Taking mini breaks will help take your mind out of stressful moments and make you more productive, too.
Michelle Llamas has been writing articles and producing podcasts about drugs, medical devices and the FDA for nearly a decade. She focuses on various medical conditions, health policy, COVID-19, LGBTQ health, mental health and womens health issues. Michelle collaborates with experts, including board-certified doctors, patients and advocates, to provide trusted health information to the public. Some of her qualifications include:
- Member of American Medical Writers Association and former Engage Committee and Membership Committee member
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Health Literacy certificates
- Original works published or cited in The Lancet, British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and the Journal for Palliative Medicine
#selflove #selfcare #wellness #wellbeing
Dr. Kelsey Latimer, from the Center for Discovery in Florida, points out that self-care would most likely not be associated with posting to social media unless it was a spontaneous post, as self-care is focused on being in the moment and tuning out the social pressures.
And the social pressures around wellness are numerous.
Your self-care doesnt have to look like anyone elses.
The wellness industry has created space for improved mental health, yes, but its also morphed into just another way to be perfect like its easy to have the perfect diet, perfect body, and yes even the perfect self-care routine.
Latimer explains: This in itself takes us out of the self-care process and into the pressure zone.
If you feel strongly about developing a self-care practice, but dont know how to make it work for you, discuss it with a mental health professional and work together to come up with a plan that helps instead of harms.
If its watching TV, watch TV. If its a bath, take a bath. If its sipping a unicorn latte, doing an hour of hot yoga, then sitting for a reiki session, do it. Your self-care is your business.
My experiment in radical self-care evolved over time. I stopped trying to do self-care,I stopped pushing it. I stopped doing what other people said should make me feel better and started doing what I know makes me feel better.
Also Check: How To Journal To Help Anxiety
The Role Of Medication In Anxiety Treatment
When youre overwhelmed by heart-pounding panic, paralyzed by fear, or exhausted from yet another sleepless night spent worrying, youll do just about anything to get relief. And theres no question that when anxiety is disabling, medication may help. But are drugs always the best answer?
Many different types of medications are used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, including traditional anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines and newer options like SSRI antidepressants . These drugs can provide temporary relief, but they also come with side effects and safety concernssome significant.
They are also not a cure. In fact, there are many questions about their long-term effectiveness. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, benzodiazepines lose their therapeutic anti-anxiety effect after 4 to 6 months of regular use. And a recent analysis reported in JAMA Psychiatry found that the effectiveness of SSRIs in treating anxiety has been overestimated, and in some cases is no better than placebo.
Whats more, it can be very difficult to get off anxiety medications without difficult withdrawals, including rebound anxiety that can be worse than your original problem.
How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated
An anxiety disorder is like any other health problem that requires treatment. You cant will it away. Its not a matter of self-discipline or attitude. Researchers have made a lot of progress in the last few decades in treating mental health conditions. Your healthcare provider will tailor a treatment plan that works for you. Your plan may combine medication and psychotherapy.
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Try An Herbal Supplement
If you really feel like trying something medicinal, but aren’t yet ready to broach the topic of medication with your doctor or psychiatrist, consider trying an herbal supplement from your drug store.
There are many herbal supplements that are used in managing anxiety however, it is important to know that herbal supplements are not regulated by the United States Food & Drug Administration the same way that traditional medications are evaluated. Be sure to read about any cautions, warnings or medication interactions before taking an herbal supplement.
Learning To Forget What You Think About Anxiety
As someone with family members or friends who have anxiety or a panic disorder, it’s important to understand what anxiety really is. For example, did you know that someone with anxiety can experience physical symptoms even when they’re not mentally anxious? Did you know that one of the symptoms of a panic attack is a feeling of imminent death or doom, combined with intense physical symptoms that are nearly identical to heart attacks?
If you’ve never had anxiety, it’s extremely difficult to empathize and understand, because it is so much different than the normal anxieties people experience in their everyday life. If you start trying to “cure” your friend’s anxiety by assuming you understand what they’re dealing with, you’re going to struggle, and you may actually upset your friend or family member more.
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Types Of Anxiety Disorders In Children
: Excessive worrying that something bad will happen if the child is not with their parents, caregiver, or anyone to whom they are attached. The child may be reluctant or refuse to stay at a relative or friends house, sleep alone or go to school. Many children experience separation anxiety between 18 months and three years old when it is normal to feel some anxiety when a parent leaves the room or goes out of sight. Usually, children can be distracted from these feelings. However, separation anxiety may surface or resurface when the child is older and especially between ages 7 and 9.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Chronic anxiety and excessive worry about everything and everyday life. A child with GAD worries about the meaning of a canceled play date or a delayed response to a text. Children with GAD fret about bad things happening to people they love or that no one will come to the birthday party they didnt want in the first place. The worry is overblown in relation to the events that sparked the worry. GAD is exhausting as children worry chronically and constantly and cant control these thoughts. In addition, children with GAD often dont trust their instincts and seek constant approval or reassurance from others.
A panic attack usually lasts about 15-30 minutes whereas the resulting fear of another attack persists and that fear of panic returning is what triggers avoidance behavior to avoid another attack.
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Dont Enable Their Anxieties
When someone has anxiety, they may try to avoid certain places or scenarios. As a result, you may have started to modify your behaviour as well. For example, you may have started to avoid certain places or scenarios too, or may have started taking on tasks to help the person continue with their avoidance.
We understand that this may seem helpful as you are stopping the person from worrying in the short term, but this avoidance can actually have a negative impact on them in the long run. Their continued avoidance can perpetuate their worries and prevent them from recognising that they could actually manage in the scenarios that they are evading.
Take A Mental Step Back
Anxiety tends to be focused on the future, so instead, try to focus on the present. Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety, suggests that you ask yourself what is happening and what, if anything, needs to be done right now. If nothing needs to be done now, make a conscious decision to revisit the situation later in the day, when you are calmer.
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Other Risk Factors For Developing Anxiety
In addition to these primary causes of an anxiety disorder, there are other risk factors that can contribute. These include:
- Severe stressors: These include financial ruin due to job loss or losing a loved one on whom you heavily depended.
- Certain personality types: These include Type A personalities and perfectionists.
- Gender: Women are twice as likely to have generalized anxiety disorder as men.
- Underlying medical conditions: These include chronic pain, respiratory conditions, gastrointestinal disorders and heart disease.
- Everyday stressors: These include more minor stressors like a hectic schedule or dealing with an unruly child. Such factors can build up without proper self-care.
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