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What To Do When Having Anxiety

Set Small Achievable Goals

What Having Anxiety Feels Like

Anxiety sufferers tend to set unrealistically high expectations for themselves. To counteract this tendency, set goals that you can easily accomplish. This builds your confidence and your sense of accomplishment.

When you are learning skills to handle stress and reduce your anxiety, small steps work best. For example, if your goal is to integrate deep breathing into your life, start by practicing for one-minute intervals three or four times a day instead of for an hour all at once.

Setting small, achievable goals will help will take you farther than you can imagine over time. It will help you reach your final destination: a happier, low-anxiety life.

What Causes Anxiety In Children

Research shows that biology, biochemistry, and environmental factors play a role. While anxiety disorders do run in families, a family history doesnt mean a child is destined to develop a disorder. Much depends on the childs nature, innate sensitivity, experiences, and family dynamics. For some children, stressful or traumatic events can set off an anxiety disorder.

Write Down The Signs Of An Anxiety Attack

Once you know youre having an anxiety attack, try to jot down a few of the symptoms and thoughts you are experiencing. This can help you put your anxiety attack into perspective.

One of the things that worsens anxiety and can make it develop into a panic attack is looking at those symptoms in a catastrophic way, says Cheryl Carmin, PhD, director of clinical psychology training at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center and a professor at Ohio State in Columbus.

Also Check: How To Help A Person With An Anxiety Attack

Things To Do If You Feel Anxious

Everyone goes through periods of feeling anxious and worried. After all, its a normal human experience. And whether youre dealing with occasional bouts of anxiety or trying to manage excessive worries, doubts, and fears, having tools to help you calm your mind and body can reduce the intensity and duration of these feelings.

Here are nine strategies that can relax your mind, ease your anxiety, and help you regain control of your thoughts so that you can feel better.

Find Healthier Ways To Motivate Yourself

Jobs For People With Generalized Anxiety Disorder

People with high-functioning anxiety often believe that their anxiety fuels them. A lot of people feel like they need the anxiety to help them achieve and to keep their edge, Kaufman said. That can work to a point, but its not sustainable. Thats because when youre anxious, you try to protect yourself from the threat of failure, and that takes away the energy you need to succeed.

He said intrinsic motivation is what really inspires us. If you pursue something because you want to get better at it, that fear isnt there. You dont need to waste all this energy on protecting yourself.

Its a tough shift to make. To start, ask yourself whether theres a different, more efficient way to do things. If youre not sure where to begin, look to the parts of your life when youre not anxious.People often feel less anxious with a hobby, for example. Thats because, with a hobby, you focus more on the process than the outcome. By not focusing on the end result, you could be less anxious. Are there behaviors you use with your hobbies you can carry over to activities when the stakes are higher?

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Relax Your Body To Ease An Anxiety Attack

It’s easy to say, “Just relax,” right? But once you start to observe your body during an anxiety attack, you might find that certain parts of your body clench up during an attack. Make a deliberate effort to tighten and then relax those parts of your body.

Or, if those parts feel like they wont obey during an anxiety attack, pick a body part that will respond, such as your toes or your shoulders. The more you can breathe deeply and relax, the easier it will be to cope.

Stay In Your Time Zone

Anxiety is a future-oriented state of mind. So instead of worrying about whatâs going to happen, âreel yourself back to the present,â says Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety. Ask yourself: Whatâs happening right now? Am I safe? Is there something I need to do right now? If not, make an âappointmentâ to check in with yourself later in the day to revisit your worries so those distant scenarios donât throw you off track, she says.

Read Also: How To Get Anti Anxiety Medication Without Insurance

Dont Say: Why Arent You Seeing A Therapist/on Medication

Theres nothing wrong with showing concern for a friend, but be careful it doesnt come across as accusatory. Suggesting your friend should be doing something can create a sense of shame if they arent, or make them feel like theyre being judged. If they do need to see a counselor or take medication, those are decisions they need to make on their own and at their own pace.

How Do I Get Help

Do I Have Anxiety?

Talking therapies

Talking therapies, like counselling or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, are very effective for people with anxiety problems, including Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which takes you through a series of self-help exercises on screen. Visit your GP to find out more.

Medication

Drug treatments are used to provide short-term help, rather than looking at the root of the anxiety problems. Drugs may be most useful when they are combined with other treatments or support.

Support groups

You can learn a lot about managing anxiety from asking other people who have experienced it. Local support groups or self-help groups bring together people with similar experiences so that they can hear each others stories, share tips and encourage each other to try out new ways to manage themselves. Your doctor, library or local Citizens Advice bureau will have details of support groups near you.

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Who Is At Risk For Anxiety Disorders

A mix of genetic and environmental factors can raise a persons risk for developing anxiety disorders. You may be at higher risk if you have or had:

  • Certain personality traits, such as shyness or behavioral inhibition feeling uncomfortable with, and avoiding, unfamiliar people, situations or environments.
  • Stressful or traumatic events in early childhood or adulthood.
  • Family history of anxiety or other mental health conditions.
  • Certain physical conditions, including thyroid problems and heart arrhythmias .

Anxiety disorders occur more often in women. Researchers are still studying why that happens. It may come from womens hormones, especially those that fluctuate throughout the month. The hormone testosterone may play a role, too men have more, and it may ease anxiety. Its also possible that women are less likely to seek treatment, so the anxiety worsens.

Panic Disorder Treatment Options

Panic attacks and panic disorders are treatable once the underlying cause is identified. Usually medical conditions and other factors are ruled out before making the diagnosis, says Flo Leighton, psychiatric nurse practitioner, and therapist with Union Square Practice in Manhattan. Getting to the root cause typically takes a couple of sessions, says Leighton. Here are some options that may be recommended to you :

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy , is based on the idea that our thoughts cause our feelings and behaviors, not external things, like people, situations, and events. The National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists says the benefit of this therapy is that we can change the way we think to feel and act better even if the situation does not change. CBT focuses on determining the thought and behavior patterns responsible for sustaining or causing panic attacks. CBT is a time-limited process that employs a variety of cognitive and behavioral techniques to affect change.
  • Medication can be used to control or lessen symptoms related to panic disorder. It is most effective when combined with other treatments, such as the aforementioned cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. Medications used to treat panic attacks and panic disorder include antidepressants, though they take several weeks to reach effectiveness. Benzodiazepines such as Ativan and Xanax work quickly. However they are addictive and should only be used for a short time,
  • Recommended Reading: How To Overcome Sexual Anxiety

    What Are The Different Types Of Anxiety Disorder

    This section provides an overview of the most common types of anxiety disorders.

    • Generalised anxiety disorder
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder

    Generalised anxiety disorder

    GAD is common. The main symptom of GAD is over worrying about different activities and events. This may feel out of your control. You feel anxious a lot of the time if you have GAD. You might feel on edge and alert to your surroundings.

    This can affect your day-to-day life. You might find that it affects your ability to work, travel places or leave the house. You might also get tired easily or have trouble sleeping or concentrating. You might have physical symptoms, such as muscle tension and sweating.

    It is common to have other conditions such as depression or other anxiety disorders if you have GAD.

    GAD can be difficult to diagnose because it does not have some of the unique symptoms of other anxiety disorders. Your doctor is likely to say you have GAD if you have felt anxious for most days over six months and it has had a bad impact on areas of your life.

    Panic disorder

    You will have regular panic attacks with no particular trigger if you have panic disorder. They can happen suddenly and feel intense and frightening. You may also worry about having another panic attack.

    Panic disorder symptoms can include the following.

    You may also dissociate during a panic attack. Such as feeling detached from yourself.

    Social anxiety disorder

    Some common situations where you may experience anxiety are the following.

    Take Care Of Physical Needs

    Anxiety in Women

    The mind-body connection is very real, and your physical wellness can have an impact on emotional wellness. Things like sleep, nutrition, and exercise can play an important part in the management of anxiety symptoms, including anticipatory anxiety.

    If your symptoms include a nervous stomach, you might find it hard to eat regularly, but skipping meals can make you feel even worse.

    In a particularly unpleasant catch-22, anxiety makes it difficult to get restful sleep, but sleep deprivation anticipatory anxiety. As you lie awake, you might worry about your anxiety getting worse. What to do?

    Cutting back on caffeine and practicing relaxation techniques just before bed can often improve your sleep.

    of anxiety and stress and help you sleep better at night. Just try to avoid exercising too close to bedtime, since this can sometimes keep you awake.

    Read Also: How To Stop Symptoms Of Anxiety

    What Biological Factors Influence Anxiety

    The state of a persons health, past or present, plays a large role in triggering anxiety. Those with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease are at risk of constant worry about getting sick or sudden death. In fact, having a heart attack is known to raise the risk of health anxiety by 20 to 30 percent. People with breathing problems such as asthma or who have severe allergies to common substances may live with chronic worry about exposure to triggering substances. Some people are highly sensitive to internal body sensationsinteroceptionand may devote so much mental energy to monitoring, say, their heartbeats that every variation becomes a source of doubt and concern. A large number of peoplein some estimates, as many as 20 percent of the populationare said to be highly sensitive having a low threshold of nervous system arousal, they overrespond to both internal and external stimuli and can be easily overwhelmed emotionally. Their reactivity is linked to the personality trait of neuroticism, one of the strongest risk factors for anxiety.

    Talk To Someone Friendly

    Another very effective technique is to talk to someone you like and trust, especially on the phone. Don’t be shy about your anxiety – tell them you feel anxious and explain what you’re feeling.

    Talking to nice, empathetic people keeps your mind off of your symptoms, and the supportive nature of friends and family gives you an added boost of confidence. If you’re suffering from a panic attack, it also helps you feel more confident that if something were wrong, you’d have someone that can watch over you.

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    What To Do During An Anxiety Attack

    Not knowing what to do during an anxiety attack can be terrifying, and anxiety attacks usually happen suddenly and without warning. You feel helpless, you cant catch your breath and the world around you feels completely disconnected.

    Triggers, such as intense anxiety or moments of high stress, bring on most anxiety attacks but sometimes anxiety attacks can seem like they happen with no cause at all.

    Understand Differences In How Anxiety Manifests

    Why Do I Have Anxiety Symptoms without Feeling Anxious??

    Because of evolution, were wired to respond to fear by either fight, flight, or freeze. For different people, one of these responses will typically dominate. For instance, my spouse tends to freeze and will bury her head in the sand rather than deal with things that make her feel stressed and panicky. I tend more toward fighting, and will become irritable, excessively perfectionistic, or dogmatic if I feel stressed.

    When you understand that anxiety is designed to put us into a mode of threat sensitivity, its easier to understand someone who is feeling scared and acting out by being irritable or defensive, and to find compassion for them. By paying attention to how anxiety manifests in the person you care about, you can learn their patterns and be in a better position to help.

    Recommended Reading: Do I Have Agoraphobia Or Social Anxiety

    See Our Other ‘how To’ Guides

    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.

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