Managing Anxiety: Self-Help Strategies For A Calmer, Happier Life
Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the US and affect over 40 million adults. In most cases, they are highly treatable and yet it is estimated that only a third of sufferers receive treatment.
As well as impacting on your quality of life, anxiety has many negative effects and can lead to serious illnesses. So it is important to seek help. Mild forms of anxiety may be treated with outpatient therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication. However, in some instances hospitalization may be required. Some centers offer an interim approach such as partial hospitalization. This helps patients to transfer from hospital while receiving the ongoing support they need. You can learn about Compass Health Center and other providers online.
Anxiety feels slightly different to everyone. And not everyone experiences the same symptoms. However, general symptoms include some or all of the following:
- A feeling of doom or dread
- Intense feelings of panic or fear
- Interrupted sleeping patterns
- Shortness of breath
- Dry mouth
For mild forms of anxiety, symptoms can sometimes be managed by adopting simple strategies, and changing behavior and thought patterns.
1. Breathing Techniques
Feeling anxious can be extremely distressing. Therefore, having a few tools to deal with episodes can provide relief and reassurance. Breathing is something that we can do anywhere. Calming your breaths sends signals to the brain that everything is okay and that it can stop sending anxiety signals to your body. This is a simple technique but it requires perseverance and practice. When you’re feeling anxious, try the following:
- Take a long deep breath in through your nose and fill your lungs
- Hold your breath for the count of three
- Exhale slowly through your mouth and relax your face, shoulder and stomach muscles at the same time
- Repeat as needed
2. Recognize The Signs
It’s useful to recognize the signs of anxiety. What happens first? Does your breathing become irregular? Do you feel that sense of nausea in your stomach? Begin to notice the initial signs and work out what is causing them. This can help to plan for stressful situations or, if possible, avoid them.
3. Catastrophic Thinking
If we’re prone to anxiety, we often think the worse. So, if someone is late, we may worry that they have been involved in an accident. If our boss doesn’t greet us, we may start worrying that we’re going to lose your job. These are examples of catastrophic thinking.
Catastrophic thinking often involves something that hasn’t happened. As soon as thoughts enter your head, tell yourself that this is not happening now. Next, tell yourself that whatever happens, you can cope. Recognizing that you’re causing your own suffering also helps to dispel anxiety. We get so caught up in the feelings and sensations we feel that the situation is occurring right now when in fact it isn’t and what we’re experiencing is anxiety.
There are many ways of dealing with anxiety and it’s important to figure out what works for you. If you feel that you’re struggling and unable to cope with this alone, always seek help. It can be treated, and a trained therapist will help you to find the right coping techniques.