Dealing with Anxiety

Everyone feels anxiety at different times in their lives. Anxiety is a normal feeling when a person is anticipating some type of event that causes concern, worry or even elation. However, the feelings of anxiety generally go rather quickly once the event arrives or when thoughts about other things are being considered.
However, there are those who have difficulties in dealing with anxiety which can lead to undue stress that actually harms the mind and body. Left unchecked, anxiety that is stress-induced may lead to serious health issues that will take a heavy toll. The good news is that there are many ways to deal with the onset of anxiety and lessen its impact. All you really need to do is identify when an anxious moment arises and then take the necessary steps to limit its effect.

When Anxiety Strikes

Anxiety is rather easy to spot as you reach a heightened state that usually accompanied by feeling of fear or dread. In most cases, anxiety is a result of anticipating a particular event such as meeting with your boss or wondering if an intruder has entered your home. However, anxiety can also accompany the anticipation of positive events such as waiting to buy tickets for a favorite performer or wedding day jitters.
Experiencing a few moments of anxiety is perfectly normal and do not need to be addressed because your mind and body are built to take a short burst of anxious moments. However, if the anxiety does not fade after a few moments you will then need to take some action.

Time Out: This is not the same as giving your child a time out, but it is in the same ballpark. Here, you take a few moments to calm down, listen to music, meditate, or even get a massage in order to take your mind off the feelings of anxiety. After a few moments, you return to the issue with a clearer head so that you can think about what, if any action to take.

Take Deep Breaths: You should inhale and then exhale slowly several times in order to calm down. The purpose of taking deep breaths is two-fold. This lets out the carbon dioxide and increase the oxygen in the blood which has a calming effect and your focus is shifted from what is making you anxious to deep breathing.

Count to Ten: As with deep breathing, you can also count to ten slowly and then backwards again repeating the process until you are calmer. Again, this is a technique designed to take your mind off what is making you anxious.
Focus on the Positive: Remember that whatever it is which is making you anxious, there are things that you can do to overcome it. By staying focused on the positive, you can tamp down on the feelings of anxiety and keep them in their proper perspective.

Laugh: Laughter is the best medicine for many different things and anxiety is one of them. If helps if you can share a joke or make a funny comment that brings laughter to others which will help you with your anxiety.

How to Lessen the Onset of Anxiety

While there are things that you can do in terms of dealing with anxiety directly, there are also ways that you can prepare your mind and body so that the effects are not nearly as strong. By taking care of yourself first, you can better handle the times when an anxious moment arises.

Eat Healthy, Well Balanced Meals: You’ll want to eat healthy with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Remember to not skip any meals and keep a few energy-boosting snacks on hand in case you run low.
No Alcohol or Caffeine: They will increase the feeling of anxiety and can actually trigger a panic attack. So, stay away from both if you can.

Get Plenty of Sleep: Sleeping enough each day ensures that you are getting all the rest you need so that you can properly recover. Anxiety is stronger in those who do not get enough rest each night.
Exercise Regularly: You do not need an Olympic-level workout routine to improve your ability to resist anxiety. In fact, a good walk, yoga exercise, bike riding, swimming, and other low-impact workouts will provide what you need to keep your body in shape.

Mental Exercises to Reduce Anxiety

In addition to preparing your body, you can also prepare your mind when it comes to addressing the effects of anxiety. Remember, there is no way to completely eliminate anxiety and actually that is a good thing. A short state of anxiousness elevates the senses and prepares you to take action. All you really need to do is keep things in perspective and calm down once the anxiety hits.

Identify your Anxiety Triggers: When it comes to dealing with anxiety, the first step should be what sets them off. Look for commonalities in what makes you anxious and from the pattern you’ll discover certain triggers that could be a person, family, school, work, or other things that are bringing on these feelings. Once you know what it is, then dealing with it becomes easier.

You Cannot Control Everything: No one can control everything and if you could, you probably would not be where you are at right now. So, keep that in mind when you face a situation that is clearly beyond your control.
Volunteer: Working for others can have a very calming effect on the mind, particularly since you are focusing your energy helping others instead of what might happen to you. Volunteer a few hours out of your week to help others and you’ll be helping yourself in the process.

There are many methods available when dealing with anxiety. The trick is to find two or three that you can use when feeling anxious for more than a moment or two and combine that with eating healthy along with exercise. When you do that, you can effectively deal with what anxiety can bring on and lead a healthier, happier life.

About Jason

As "The Man That Men Will Talk To," Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC is a private practice counselor and psychotherapist for men and couples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. He works with struggling men to find happiness in their lives, and with their wives.
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