Anxiety Survival Kit | Everything you need to know about managing anxiety | Greensboro Anxiety Counseling

Anxiety Survival Kit | Everything you need to know about managing anxiety | Greensboro Anxiety Counseling

As odd as this may sound (to you), I love working with anxious people. I have a little bit of anxiety myself. The article below is a clear and easy to read Survival Kit for Anxiety. Use it for education, enlightenment and resource.

Anxiety more often than not – is the most consistent obstacle you struggle with. Think about it. Anxiety sneaks up on you when you are in uncomfortable situations such as during a presentation. Anxiety even impacts you during the everyday “normal” situations, such as when you are running late to work or an appointment. Your anxiety often pulls you away from pleasurable activities. As a result of anxiety you may experience difficulty with getting out of bed, spending time with peers, going outside when it’s dark, or excessively checking your house for intruders or loud noises. The list of anxiety driven situations or “triggers” can be lengthy for some.

Let’s start with a basic understanding of anxiety

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is any physical or cognitive (mental) distress that is negatively impacting you in life. This is what I like to call the simple definition. Commonly experienced as worry or stress.

Who has anxiety?

As long as you are living and breathing. Then you qualify as a candidate for anxiety.

Now that you understand what anxiety is and who typically has anxiety. Let’s shift to the survival kit.

The survival kit for anxiety is composed of:

Definition: Understanding anxiety in a clear and basic fashion (no confusion or fancy terms)

Strategies to manage anxiety

Short-term relief for anxiety

Prevention exercises for anxiety

 

Clear & Simple definition of Anxiety:

Stress or worry that you feel is causing a few too many negative changes. The negative changes can be noted as feeling fear when going into certain environments or even seeing your hands shake under specific situations.

 

Common symptoms of Anxiety:

  • Problems focusing or concentrating.

  • Difficulty making decisions or making up your mind.

  • Daydreaming or feeling as if you are in a “trance” like state.

  • Hand tremors.

  • Overly sweaty.

  • Nervous.

  • Feeling on edge.

  • Easily provoked or agitated.

Basic Strategies to manage anxiety:

  • Deep breathing.

  • Going for a walk.

  • Exercise.

  • Get better sleep.

  • Stress ball.

  • Meditation.

  • Counseling.

  • Counting from 20 to 0.

  • Role playing.

  • Visualizing what will happen prior to engaging in the act.

In addition to the strategies listed above, here is a resourceful video focusing on managing anxiety at work.

  • Sleeping is often one of the key areas that can be impacted by anxiety. Utilize the strategies highlighted in the chart below to get better sleep.

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Basic Strategies to manage anxiety:

 

Practice Meditation

With meditation you have several options to choose from. You can join a meditation class or self-help book – something related to yoga or Pilates will do just fine. Or if you are squeezing for time, then short periods of meditation can work as well. A simple strategy is to give yourself 5 to 10 minutes in the car, in the bathroom, or pretty much anywhere that you can be alone. During this time – allow yourself to take 4 to 6 really deep breaths.

This strategy helps you:

  • Simply reset the clock of stress.

  • Catch a break.

  • Regain your sanity.

  • Regain control over the situation.

  • Manage your stress and anxiety.

Journal or Writing or Recording

I don’t like to limit the option to only writing – as some people simply do not enjoy writing. With today’s technology – there are options such as typing, texting, audio or video recording or anything that you can come up with that documents your thoughts. You can document your thoughts by recording them into your smartphone or adding an Evernote app to your phone to jot down thoughts during the day.

Ideally it’s best practice to spend at minimum 10 minutes – while later reflecting back on how you feel now versus then. One small tip: different environments can bring out varying emotions. For instance, documenting in your car outside of work can be very different then at home in your room.

This strategy can help:

  • Reduce tension or stress brought on by the day.

  • Focus and concentrate on what’s important.

  • Reduce anxiety or worry.

  • Anxiety self-help book.

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Say YES more often

In some ways, I’m kind of quoting the movie “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey but only in thought. The purpose of saying “yes: is to help with gratitude and control. We often travel through life with a boulder over our heads. The boulder represents stress, anxiety, depression and many more troubling emotions or distressful symptoms.Yet, during the minimal times that we allow ourselves to let go of control their tends to evolve positive outcomes.

Saying “Yes” – has limits. Be smart on what you say “yes” to, while making sure that when you do it helps with your overall emotional stability.

This strategy helps with:

  • Allowing you to feel happier.

  • Providing more opportunities to experience positive thoughts.

  • Feeling a sense of accomplishment.

     

Learn to say NO

Well – I don’t think there is a movie for saying “no”. This technique works in the same manner as the one above. You may be the type of person that feels obligated to say “yes” and when you do not say “yes” you experience an uncomfortable feeling. A feeling that makes you feel as if you did something wrong or let someone down. This feeling may be associated with anxiety or personal frustration from what you said. Just say “no”. Think about what it is that the other person is asking you – process it – and if you find it harmful or in any way negative to your mental wellbeing “say no”.

This strategies helps with:

  • Learning to have a “voice” and feel empowered.

  • Creating new a new self-care skill.

  • Creating healthy boundaries.

Self-Care “Treat yourself”

Just as the title says – “treat yourself”. Make it part of your weekly routine – honestly- I suggest daily routine. Why not? You work hard each and every day. Why not present some sort of “treat” = “self-care” for yourself. The healthier and happier you are the better you will perform, the better you will feel and the happier people around you will feel. Trust me, if you are an exhausted mother – your husband or kids will notice.

Ways to include self-care in life:

  • 10 minutes – 10 times per day give yourself some sort of treat. This can be listening to a few of your favorite tunes or bundling up a few 10 minutes to get your nails done.

  • Get your nails done once a month.

  • Go for a walk.

  • Have someone give you a massage.

  • Read your favorite book with no distractions.

  • Ask your spouse to watch the kids while you lock yourself in your room with NetFlix.

Short-term relief for Anxiety

  • Deep breathing exercise – 4x4x4 – Inhale for a duration of 4 seconds – hold it in for 4 seconds – release for a duration of 4 seconds.

  • Talk to someone – pick up your phone and call someone you trust to vent on what just took place. Talking about the anxiety allows the mind then the body to feel release from the binding anxiety.

  • Eye of the tiger – visualize yourself at your ideal location. This could be picturing yourself at the beach holding a margarita while viewing the wave’s crash in front of you.

  • Reflection – Internally walk back to what just took place and how you reacted. Admitting the truth of the situation allows a similar reaction to that experienced when venting.

Anxiety Prevention exercises

  • Stay ahead of the game by understanding your “warning signs”. Make a list using your phone or on a sheet of paper to recognize what your warning signs are.

  • Live Healthy – be mindful of what you eat or drink and how that in turn impacts your anxiety. For instance, if you find that your anxiety warning sign is driven by feeling on “edge” – coffee or caffeinated beverages may need to be monitored, reduced or completely eliminated.

  • Learn to say “no” – Creating a role that is surrounded by “assertiveness” will help you feel empowered – this in turn supports your ability to manage anxiety.

  • Preparation – Become knowledgeable as to which situations lead to what outcome. By doing so – you will feel in control and ahead of the game.

  • Resolve past issues that currently impact you today. This may require time to reflect and associate how past issues impact today’s decisions.

  • Take care of yourself

 

The more you understand yourself the better you will handle obstacles. Anxiety will always take place in life – that’s a guarantee that we can not avoid. However – you can learn to prevent anxiety and reduce its symptoms if you invest in yourself.

 

photo by ben white unsplash

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