Today many people use the term anxious and express feelings of anxiety. The feeling of being anxious is one we all feel at some point in our life. If anxiety is something you experience on occasion, it is often considered to be normal. In this day and age people have begun to add anxiety and stress as frequent experiences they tolerate each day. Deadlines, bills, hectic schedules and long to do lists are all common in everyday life. However, anxiety also is a feeling that can overwhelm you, for many anxiety is something that can get in the way of everyday “normal” functioning. Many do not know that anxiety creates stress on your body and impacts your immune system too.
When we feel anxious our brain triggers the release of stress hormones. You may have heard the term “fight or flight”. When we feel anxiety our body interprets this feeling as stress and potential danger. We are biologically, chemically designed to release a hormone under this condition that has us either fight or run for cover. The more often this chemical is released into your system, the more it has an impact on your immune system, energy, and your ability to think clearly or think at all. For those of you who have a diagnosis of anxiety, you can see and feel all of this in your life and body.
The first step to taking control of your anxiety is to know the feeling of being anxious is normal under certain circumstances. Begin to take note of how often you are feeling anxious and under what conditions.
Temporary feelings of anxiety in life situations are normal and your body can manage it. This may be doing major life events such as planning a wedding, moving, taking an exam, changing a job. When anyone of those temporary life events lasts a longer period of time your body and mind will begin to feel run down.
Some people who have anxiety daily may have it a low level. It may be fleeting throughout the day, with some subtle triggers. Although you feel it, it feels manageable and your day can still remain on track. Often at low levels people begin to accept and tolerate this as a daily part of their life.
For some an event or stressor may last a long period of time, re-occur daily at work or in relationship or in a specific type of event. When this occurs consistently overtime anxiety can lead to other difficulties such as depression or new fears and difficulties. Some who struggle with anxiety daily over a length of time may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD.
Steps to Help Manage Anxiety
- Acknowledgement. Admit to yourself you have anxiety. Once you acknowledge that this is something that is beyond normal and occasional you can begin to move forward.
- Tell Someone. Tell one or two people you trust what you are experiencing. Let them know you are sharing this information with them as one of your first steps in taking control of your anxiety.
- Allow. Our first reaction when we feel something like anxiety is to resist it and try to pretend it is not there. What we resist grows stronger. Acknowledge that you are experiencing anxiety, and to the best you can to work through the anxious moment.
- Techniques. Seek out assistance so you can learn techniques to help you decrease and eventually prevent your anxiety. Meditation and deliberate breathing are two I teach to my clients. There are many techniques out there find three to five that work for you.
- Nutrition. People who experience anxiety should look at their diet. Eliminate foods with caffeine and sugar. They both increase anxiety and stress for your mind and body.
- Time. Make time everyday for yourself. You can begin with 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night. Choose to use that time to help you release your stress and anxiety. You may exercise, journal, go outside and walk in nature. Whatever feels like a release for you.
- Sleep. Many people with anxiety have difficulty sleeping. Some find it easier to sleep somewhere in between morning and bedtime for an hour and then continue their day. Sleep is a time that does allow you to release stress and heal your cells and mind. Meditation and deep deliberate breathing can also help with falling asleep. You may want to ask your doctor about natural sleep aid at first if you cannot fall asleep. You want to begin a healthy sleep routine. The rest will also help to decrease the stress and anxiety.
There are many additional tools and techniques to assist you in overcoming your anxiety. You will find the ones that work for you once you decide it is time for you to take control. What you will do over time is create new habits that support you and nurture you. I often create audios for my clients with daily mantras or meditations or both. Words that support them in their knowing and believing, everything is working out for them. These techniques have helped hundreds of people overcome anxiety, and you can do it too.