Understanding and Managing Anxiety

man holding head

Anxiety can show up and manifest in many ways. At its best, anxiety can be intense, awkward, uncomfortable, and even debilitating. If you have experienced this issue with any consistency, you may describe your symptoms as inclusive of worrying, restlessness, irrational thoughts, and subsequently a lack of focus. At times you may even feel as if you are diving into a rabbit hole no matter how far it takes you. Without some guidance, your anxiety can prevent you from taking the next steps necessary to move on from your current situation.

Sometimes anxiety is simply a normal reaction to the stress that you encounter in your life. There are situations or events that severely impact you such as your high school graduation, first day on campus or on a job, receiving a promotion, buying a new home, or having your first child. In these moments, it is safe to assume that you will have some worry or fear about the unknown attached to these events. However, when you start to see this worry and fear become worr(ies) and fear(s) that you simply must address, thereby causing you to neglect carrying out your daily responsibilities, it lends to a possible treatable diagnosis of anxiety.

There are different types of anxiety which affect people in different ways. One of the more common anxiety discussed and reviewed by many is social anxiety. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, approximately 12% of adults in the United States experience social anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. In addition to generalized anxiety and social anxiety, there are specific phobias that can cause you to change your daily habits in an effort to avoid feelings associated with the specific phobia. Anxiety can also be connected and displayed as a result of another mental health disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or mental health concern such as racial trauma.

There is a little known fact that you have the power to overcome your anxiety. That is not to say that you will get rid of anxiety entirely but rather, you will experience anxiety as it is meant to be experienced. No single technique will be enough to place anxiety at bay forever. Many strategies and coping skills from various sources can help you at different times. Working with a mental health professional is paramount in helping you to decide which behavioral tools are most beneficial to you.

There a few things you can try today that will help you get started on the path of overcoming your anxiety. You can begin a routine. Creating a routine allows you to get rid of some of the unknowns that helps drive anxiety. You can focus on breathing. Controlled breathing can activate an area in the brain involved in self-regulation which will allow you to slow down and become focus on the issue at hand. You can highlight past problem-solving skills and repeat. Review a past situation in which a problem was presented to you and you were able to come to a satisfactory conclusion. Allow the success of solving that problem to resonate with you and use that confidence to tackle your current circumstance.

There is no definitive answer which is all inclusive of how to conquer anxiety. As I mentioned before, a mental health professional can help you with situations specific for you. To find a therapist near you visit the following directories and choose a therapist that best fit your circumstance.