Ways To Cope With Anxiety
For many people, anxiety is more than just a feeling of uncomfortable worry that hits every once in and awhile. It’s a state of mind that keeps people up at night, torturing them endlessly and affecting every part of their life.
Anxiety isn’t this way for everyone. Anxiety, as it affects everyone, is a physical response meant to tell you that something is wrong and needs immediate action. Unfortunately, without outside intervention, it can be hard to manage the physical and mental discomfort that anxiety brings. The following are five tips to help those suffering from stress and anxiety cope and gain insight into their psyche.
1. Challenge Anxious Thoughts
Those who experience anxiety have to deal with a lot of irrational and negative thoughts. You may assume that the worst will happen, and you’ll convince yourself that your worry is based on reality. It may have become a habit to believe in the worst-case scenario, and any positive result may feel foreign to you.
To fight these thoughts, you must actively think of them. Challenge them when they pop into your head. This will break your usual pattern of negative thinking. Ask yourself: Is this fear really based in reality? Is there a more realistic outcome to this event? If there is any positive outcome that may come from a situation, then will yourself to believe that that’s the one that’s going to happen.
2. Recognize Your Negative Thinking Patterns
3. Cultivate An Optimistic Outlook
4. Take Time for Yourself
Kids And Anxiety: By The Numbers
- About 2.6 million American children and adolescents were diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression in 2011-12
- The prevalence of current anxiety increased from 3.5% in 2007 to 4.1 % in 2011-12,
- Median age of onset for anxiety is 11 years
- An estimated one in 20 American children has anxiety.
- There areat least 1 in 200or 500,000kids and teens that have OCD. In children, OCD tends to first appear between the age of 6 and 12.
When Is Anxiety Harmful
Some people have severe or very frequent anxious reactions to situations and events. If the symptoms start to affect someones social, work, or personal life, this may indicate an anxiety disorder.
Severe anxiety can cause people to avoid certain situations or environments. For example, someone may stop going for job interviews or social events to avoid feelings of anxiety.
People with have an irrational fear of places that might be difficult to escape. It can cause some people to stop leaving their home.
Anxiety becomes problematic when it is not proportionate to the situation or is persistent and disruptive.
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Tools To Help You Cope With Anxiety
One of the most important things to remember about anxiety coping is that coping actually happens inside of you. There are many strategies to help you cope, but what will eventually help you cure your anxiety forever is your own mental strength. Everyone has it, but it often requires taking care of your body and re-training your mind for how you should react to anxiety and stress.
Still, the following will help promote better coping, and give you an opportunity to control some of the issues that lead to anxiety symptoms:
These things may not cure anxiety on their own, but they will help you learn to control the way anxiety affects you, and you’ll often find that they assist your ability to mentally cope – in some cases enough to cure it completely.
How Can You Help Someone Dealing With Anxiety
The best way to help someone dealing with anxiety is to provide support. Listen to and help the person come up with a plan, and validate their feelings even if you dont understand them. You can also suggest doing a calming activity together, such as a deep breathing exercise. Helping them find a support group or resources can be helpful.
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How Common Is Anxiety In Children
Anxiety and anxiety disorders are considered the most common mental health problem in childhood. Separation anxietyis common in younger children, whereas older children and teenagers tend to worry moreabout school or havesocial anxiety. While OCD can occur at any age, in children it usually appears between the ages of 6 and 12.
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.
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Look At Your Worries In New Ways
Social interaction with someone who cares about you, like friends or family, is the most effective way to calm your nervous system and diffuse anxiety. Talking face to face about your worries can make them seem less threatening.
Worrying about negative “what if” scenarios zaps your mental energy and increases feelings of anxiety. Challenge your anxiety by identifying these worrisome thoughts and accept life’s uncertainties.
Treatment For Anxiety & Panic Attacks
Managing life with anxiety and panic attacks can feel insurmountable at times. Fortunately, managing anxiety is possible through a combination of professional help and self-care. Treatment options for anxiety include:
- Medication: Anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants and buspirone can help reduce symptoms of anxiety.
- Psychotherapy: Therapeutic techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy and occupational therapy can help individuals better identify anxious thoughts and change behavior patterns to cope with anxiety more effectively.
- Systematic desensitization:Desensitization involves gradually exposing a person to an anxiety trigger point, so they eventually become comfortable with it. A licensed mental health professional trained on how to safely desensitize anxiety should be sought for this approach.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese treatment that works by sticking thin needles into specific pressure points on the body, thought to restore inner balance.
- Meditation: Successful meditation can allow individuals to better understand the source of their anxiety and how to manage it.
- Breathing exercises: Deep breathing exercises help individuals avoid hyperventilation and feel more calm, reducing anxiety attacks.
- Yoga:Practicing yoga can promote mindfulness by centering the mind and body through movement and stationary poses.
Related Topic:Moderate anxiety treatment
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If Youre Experiencing A Panic Attack
A panic attack is a sudden and intense response to fear or perceived danger when in fact no threat is present. Generally, it comes on abruptly and causes a host of mental and physiological responses, such as:
- a feeling of losing control
- trembling, sweating, shaking
- the sensation youre dying
Having a panic attack can be terrifying, especially if you havent had one before. The first step in coping with a panic attack is understanding whats happening in your body.
Tell yourself that although it may feel like it, you arent going to die from a panic attack, says Sherman.Find some privacy and dont try to fight it.
Sherman says that by paying attention to whats happening in your body, like your heart rate, you can notice when your symptoms start to decrease. This will help you gain perspective and get your feet back on solid ground.
When Should You See A Professional
For most people, anxiety and stress post-lockdown will be mild and will fade quickly as people settle back into their pre-lockdown routines.
However, there are some signs that indicate you may benefit from seeking professional help. These include experiencing distress or anxiety that persists for weeks and is impacting your ability to function well at work or at home.
Others may find theyre still managing to get through their day, but have strong worries about COVID or leaving the house that dont go away and make it difficult to focus or be present. Lots of people may have bad days or occasional feelings like this, but help may be needed if these experiences are severe and/or persistent. If you are feeling hopeless and thinking of harming yourself, please seek help immediately.
While some people may require longer to readjust post-lockdown than others, theres support available to help people return to their pre-lockdown lives and enjoy the freedoms that go along with it.
If this article has raised issues for you, or if youre concerned about someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
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Try To Model Healthy Ways Of Handling Anxiety
There are multiple ways you can help kids handle anxiety by letting them see how you cope with anxiety yourself. Kids are perceptive, and theyre going to take it in if you keep complaining on the phone to a friend that you cant handle the stress or the anxiety. Im not saying to pretend that you dont have stress and anxiety, but let kids hear or see you managing it calmly, tolerating it, feeling good about getting through it.
How Does The 4
Breathing techniques are designed to bring the body into a state of deep relaxation. Specific patterns that involve holding the breath for a period of time allow your body to replenish its oxygen. From the lungs outward, techniques like 4-7-8 can give your organs and tissues a much-needed oxygen boost.
Relaxation practices also help bring the body back into balance and regulate the fight-or-flight response we feel when were stressed. This is particularly helpful if youre experiencing sleeplessness due to anxiety or worries about what happened today or what might happen tomorrow. Swirling thoughts and concerns can keep us from being able to rest well.
The 4-7-8 technique forces the mind and body to focus on regulating the breath, rather than replaying your worries when you lie down at night. Proponents claim it can soothe a racing heart or calm frazzled nerves. Dr. Weil has even described it as a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system.
The overall concept of 4-7-8 breathing can be compared to practices like:
- Alternate nostril breathing involves breathing in and out of one nostril at a time while holding the other nostril closed.
- Mindfulness meditation encourages focused breathing while guiding your attention to the present moment.
- Visualization focuses your mind on the path and pattern of your natural breathing.
- Guided imagery encourages you to focus on a happy memory or story that will take your mind off your worries as you breathe.
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When To Talk With A Mental Health Professional
Chronic anxiety also can point to an underlying mental health issue. When your anxiety causes extreme distress or interrupts your ability to function on a daily basis, or when panic attacks are frequent and debilitating, its important to reach out to a mental health professional. They can provide a treatment plan, which may include specialized antianxiety medicine, psychotherapy, or both.
For more information, call UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital at 1-877-624-4100 or 412-624-1000.
Why Do I Feel Like This When Im Not In Any Real Danger
Early humans needed the fast, powerful responses that fear causes, as they were often in situations of physical danger however, we no longer face the same threats in modern-day living.
Despite this, our minds and bodies still work in the same way as our early ancestors, and we have the same reactions to our modern worries about bills, travel and social situations. But we cant run away from or physically attack these problems!
The physical feelings of fear can be scary in themselves especially if you are experiencing them and you dont know why, or if they seem out of proportion to the situation. Instead of alerting you to a danger and preparing you to respond to it, your fear or anxiety can kick in for any perceived threat, which could be imaginary or minor.
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Dont Avoid Things Just Because They Make A Child Anxious
Helping children avoid the things they are afraid of will make them feel better in the short term, but it reinforces the anxiety over the long run. Lets say a child in an uncomfortable situation gets upset and starts to cry not to be manipulative, but just because thats how they feel. If their parents whisk them out of there, or remove the thing theyre afraid of, the child has learned that coping mechanism. And that cycle has the potential to repeat itself.
Can Anxiety And Depression Be Treated Together
Yes. No one has to suffer from anxiety disorder or depression, and certainly not both. People with anxiety disorder should speak with a psychiatrist, therapist, or other healthcare professional about their symptoms and start treatment as soon as possible. If you suspect you have both anxiety and depression, Connolly recommends getting a thorough evaluation from a psychiatrist as a first step. “It’s really crucial for people with both to have a good assessment to rule out bipolar disorder,” she says.
Important: If you or someone you know needs help coping with anxiety or depression, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK . The Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they text to 741741.
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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.
Resources For Parents Of Anxious Children
- Lebowitz, E.R.,et al. Parent-Based Treatment as Efficacious as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Childhood Anxiety: A Randomized Noninferiority Study of Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions.Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Accessed February 25, 2021
- Merikangas, K., Hep, J., Burstein, M., Swanson, S., Avenevoli, S., Cui, L., Benejet, C, Swendsen, J. . Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in U.S. adolescents: results from the National Comorbidity Survey ReplicationAdolescent Supplement .Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 49, 980-989. doi: 10.1016/j.jaac.2010.05.017 Accessed February 25, 2021
Public Events Or Performances
Public speaking, talking in front of your boss, performing in a competition, or even just reading aloud is a common trigger of anxiety. If your job or hobbies require this, your doctor or therapist can work with you to learn ways to be more comfortable in these settings.
Also, positive reinforcements from friends and colleagues can help you feel more comfortable and confident.
How To Do It
To practice 4-7-8 breathing, find a place to sit or lie down comfortably. Be sure you practice good posture, especially when starting out. If youre using the technique to fall asleep, lying down is best.
Prepare for the practice by resting the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, right behind your top front teeth. Youll need to keep your tongue in place throughout the practice. It takes practice to keep from moving your tongue when you exhale. Exhaling during 4-7-8 breathing can be easier for some people when they purse their lips.
The following steps should all be carried out in the cycle of one breath:
When you inhale again, you initiate a new cycle of breath. Practice this pattern for four full breaths.
The held breath is the most critical part of this practice. Its also recommended that you only practice 4-7-8 breathing for four breaths when youre first starting out. You can gradually work your way up to eight full breaths.
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How Can I Help Myself
Face your fear if you can
If you always avoid situations that scare you, you might stop doing things you want or need to do. You wont be able to test out whether the situation is always as bad as you expect, so you miss the chance to work out how to manage your fears and reduce your anxiety. Anxiety problems tend to increase if you get into this pattern. Exposing yourself to your fears can be an effective way of overcoming this anxiety.
Try to learn more about your fear or anxiety. Keep an anxiety diary or thought record to note down when it happens and what happens. You can try setting yourself small, achievable goals for facing your fears. You could carry with you a list of things that help at times when you are likely to be become frightened or anxious. This can be an effective way of addressing the underlying beliefs that are behind your anxiety.
Try to learn more about your fear or anxiety. Keep a record of when it happens and what happens.
Increase the amount of exercise you do. Exercise requires some concentration, and this can take your mind off your fear and anxiety.
Learning relaxation techniques can help you with the mental and physical feelings of fear. It can help just to drop your shoulders and breathe deeply. Or imagine yourself in a relaxing place. You could also try learning things like yoga, meditation, massage, or listen to the Mental Health Foundations wellbeing podcasts.
Avoid alcohol, or drink in moderation