Everyone Deals with Anxiety
We need to feel anxious when we have a test to take the next morning. Anxiety keeps us aware of our need to study and prepare. Anxiety at certain levels is necessary to live a responsible life.
However, anxiety becomes unhealthy when it becomes overwhelming and interferes with daily life. Anxiety symptoms can be divided into the following two categories:
Breathlessness or rapid heartbeat
Sweating or cold, clammy hands
Thinking that something bad is going to happen
The following self-care tips can help relieve your anxiety.
Use slow, deep breathing to reduce your anxiety symptoms. Try this exercise when you are anxious, wherever you are. Count slowly to four as you breathe in through your nose. Breathe deeply into your belly. Now exhale even more slowly through your nose, counting six to eight seconds. Continue to breathe deeply and count each breath for a few minutes. It is difficult to remain anxious when you are doing deep breathing.
Learn your body: Find out how your body works in anxious environments so you can learn to counteract your anxiety.
Let anxiety flow through you: Anxiety causes large amounts of adrenalin to be released. Adrenalin dissipates quickly so the feeling will go away soon if you relax and let it flow through you.
Schedule "worry time": Set aside a specific time each day, from 15 minutes to one hour, to do all your worrying. Spend the whole time thinking of every aspect of your fears. Write them down in detail. When worries come to mind during other parts of the day, save them on a list for the next scheduled worry time.
Exercise: Physical exercise reduces anxious feelings over time. Work toward twenty to thirty minutes of aerobic activity three times per week.
Cut down on caffeine: Limit caffeine to two 6 oz. cups of coffee or one 12 oz. caffeine soda daily. More caffeine stimulates anxious feelings and interferes with sleep.
Stop alcohol and substance abuse: Even small quantities of these substances can increase your symptoms.
Quit smoking: Tobacco use or withdrawal symptoms between cigarettes may increase anxiety and create "edgy" feelings.
Find a professional therapist: A therapist who understands anxiety can help you on the journey to wholeness again.
Larry McElvain, Founder, Discovery Counseling Center
October 22, 2020