Living With Anxiety: Coping Ideas You Can Use Any Time
If you’ve ever dealt with debilitating nerves that affect your mental and physical well being, you’re not alone. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health illnesses, with over 40 million American adults experiencing it. Anxiety is a lifelong condition that affects people differently, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment that will work for everyone. It’s important for people with anxiety to learn about their condition so it doesn’t negatively affect their lives long term.
There are different types of anxieties and treatment options. The sooner a person recognizes the symptoms of anxiety, the earlier they will be able to treat it and take back some control.
Here is how to recognize anxiety and what you can do to handle the effects.
What Is Anxiety?
It’s normal to feel anxious and stressed from time to time. These feelings, however, become a problem when they occur for longer periods of time and prevent you from living your life normally. Anxiety can start to interfere with your work, relationships, or other aspects of your life that you can’t control.
There is a difference between feeling nervous and having anxiety. Anxiety is when your nerves translate to physical symptoms, whether it be the choices you make or a natural bodily response. For example, someone nervous before taking a test might have butterflies in their stomach. A person with anxiety prior to taking a test may have a panic attack that’s triggered by their intense feelings of worry and fear.
Anxiety might cause you to feel a disconnect between your body and mind. Your mind might spiral, your heart could race and you may feel like you can’t get a grasp on what’s happening. This can come in different forms and bodily responses.
Some of the most common symptoms for anxiety include:
- Feeling nervous, tense or restless
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty sleeping
- Trouble focusing or controlling worry
- Having a sense of impending panic, danger or doom
The feelings and outcome of anxiety are different for each person. There are various forms of anxiety disorders people can experience that may explain the reason behind their symptoms. In addition to generalized anxiety disorder, here are five other types:
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Separation anxiety disorder
Anyone can experience anxiety. And the disorder can look and feel like different things from person to person. For some, symptoms might be more obvious. Others may experience a more internal anxiety that isn’t seen by other people. However anxiety might impact you, it’s important to cope with it and understand what you can do to retake control of your mind and body.
How To Manage Anxiety
It’s always a good idea to seek help from a medical professional if you’re struggling with mental health. Psychotherapists can learn about your thought patterns, symptoms and experiences to help you feel better.
A medical professional might recommend ways for you to handle your anxiety naturally through coping mechanisms. These are things you can implement into your lifestyle to keep your mind at ease and anxiousness at bay. If you’re experiencing anxiety and are looking for ways to treat it, here are three things that can help you understand your disorder and make yourself feel better.
1. Acknowledge Your Triggers
Learning the origins of your anxiety and what triggers it can help you treat it. By understanding what is making you feel nervous and uneasy, you can start finding patterns. You’ll be able to limit your exposure to these triggers, or you may discover specific ways on how to cope when the situation arises. You might be able to do this on your own or by talking about your feelings with a therapist.
2. Facts Vs. Stories
When you’re anxious and your mind starts to spiral, it can be easy to think the worst. Your brain can jump to conclusions and trigger your anxiety-related symptoms. When this happens, try focussing on the facts instead of adding your own narrative to it. Question your thought pattern and ask yourself: is what I’m thinking true?
For example, don’t go into a test assuming you will fail and sabotage your entire future. Ground your mind and stick to what you know: you’re going to take a test, you have done what you can to prepare for the test, and you will find out how you did on the test after it’s marked.
3. Take Care Of Your Physical Health
Mental and physical health are two different things, but they also go hand in hand. Taking care of your body can help you feel good and hopefully improve your mental health. This means eating a proper diet and getting regular exercise are things that might boost your mood and overall health.
Exercise doesn’t have to be intense. It can be a simple walk around the block to clear your mind. It helps to find an exercise you enjoy, such as a team or individual sport. Doing something that’s fun will make exercise feel less like an obligation and become a hobby that keeps you healthy at the same time.
Learn More About Anxiety From A Therapist
Anxiety is a lifelong condition. By understanding your condition, you’ll be able to gain back some control from your disorder. You will recognize what triggers your symptoms and how you can cope with them.
Depending on the extremity of your condition, a therapist might recommend taking medication to treat anxiety. Medications come in different forms that help to calm your mind, relax muscles and regulate your mood. The type of medication that’s best for your anxiety will ultimately be determined by your doctor based on your unique symptoms and experiences.
Don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings with a trusted friend or family member. Sharing your anxieties and how you’re feeling about something can make you feel less alone. It will also help your loved ones better understand your condition and how they can help you manage it moving forward.