Anxiety can range from mild to severe. It can cause a tiny knot to form in your stomach or it can cause you to not leave your house for years. Anxiety is not fun on any level. The best thing you can do to overcome anxiety is to catch it in its early stages, before it gets out of hand and turns into panic.
Anxiety involves a myriad of emotions including worry, fear, sadness, guilt and shame. Anxiety can make you pay attention to those intrusive thoughts that others can easily brush off. On top of all of that, anxiety makes you sweat, have digestive problems, tremble, have digestive problems, and even hyperventilate. While some anxiety can be good for you, like warning you to not take the short cut through the dark alley, other anxiety can be debilitating if not treated.
The more you know about your anxiety, the better you will be able to stop it in its tracks.
Anxiety is an emotion. Sounds simple, right? But when you add in all of the negative reactions that follow this emotion, it becomes more complex. Some people have been known to have anxiety about having anxiety. The fear of having a panic attack gives people a lot of stress because they are very intimidating and offer a sense of lost control.
The good news is that there are many ways to tackle anxiety.
Be Careful What You Drink
This is hard to say because everyone loves a good cup of coffee or an ice cold soda. However, that caffeine could be triggering your anxiety. Caffeine is classified in the diagnostic and statistical manual for diagnosing mental health disorders as a substance that can be abused and addictive. Basically, that means it’s bad for you. It can even cause disorders such as caffeine-induced anxiety disorder, caffeine intoxication and caffeine-induced sleep disorder. Ever tried to quit caffeine? The withdrawal effects are terrible, another sign that caffeine is not that good for you.
The simple explanation of why caffeine is not good for you is that caffeine binds to the receptors in the brain that cause stress and anxiety. It gives the stress receptors a little jolt that causes them to react in the fight or flight mode. Caffeine has even been known to induce full blown panic attacks. Some researchers even believe you can overdose on caffeine.
Another drink that has been linked to anxiety is alcohol. While we think having a drink now and then can calm us down and make us less anxious, it can actually have the opposite effect. Drinking alcohol can mess with your blood sugars, make you dehydrated, and increase your heart rate. All of which can lead to anxiety.
Alcohol can deplete the serotonin levels in your brain. This means the happy chemicals in the brain aren’t so happy anymore. Anytime depressive symptoms are near, so is anxiety.
Pop a Pill
Okay, so this is not the number one choice to tackle anxiety. Anxiety medications can become addictive if abused. Sometimes, however, medication is a necessary option. The pill you pop, most likely a benzodiazepine, must only be given to you by a doctor and you must only take it as prescribed and as needed. There are also some alternative relaxants that have been shown to work great at fighting anxiety. For instance, there is a lot of evidence to support the use of chamomile for fighting anxiety. No matter which you choose, working with a doctor is the only safe way to combat anxiety with medication.
Face it Head On
Sometimes the best thing you can do to overcome fear and anxiety is to just face it head on. If it is flying that makes you have anxiety, the more exposure you have to flying will help you overcome your fears. If it is speaking in public that gives you panic attacks, you can overcome this by practicing speaking in public more often.
Another name for this is systematic desensitization. The best way to perform systematic desensitization is with the help of a therapist. However, you can do this on your own too.
Just breathing does not mean breath hard until you hyperventilate and pass out. It means focus on your breaths to help you calm down. There are many breathing techniques that work extremely fast, in under ten minutes, to help you ease your anxiety. These include breathing into a paper bag, progressive relaxation, abdominal breathing, alternate nostril breathing, and guided visualization.
It is important to remember that calming breaths are those that are long and you inhale through your nose. You can exhale through your nose or your mouth but while doing so, think of the word “relax” if you exhale through the nose or say the word “relax” if exhaling through your mouth.
Talk it Out
Keeping your thoughts, fears and anxieties to yourself will only make things worse. The best treatment for anxiety is to talk about it with someone, preferably a counselor who is trained in treating anxiety. Talking about the issues going on in your life can help you figure out why you are anxious in the first place. A counselor can help you determine the exact cause of your anxiety rather than you just trying to guess what the problem could be. Once the cause is determined, a treatment plan can be developed.
There are many different activities that can be incorporated with talk therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy, that can help you overcome your anxiety problems. You counselor may have you participate in art therapy, music therapy, play therapy or family therapy. You and your counselor will determine which techniques are best for you.
Anxiety can interfere with many areas of your life. But, it is very manageable and millions of people have found ways to overcome their issues with anxiety. Other than the treatments listed above, there are many other ways to combat anxiety including exercise, yoga, meditation, drama therapy, and attending support groups where you can connect with others who are suffering from similar issues.
Reach out and get help. You do not have to suffer any longer. Make the call today to seek help in conquering your fears and anxieties. Because having anxiety is so common, professionals have a wide range of tools that can help you succeed in your treatment. Anxiety does not have to interfere with your life anymore. Take back control of your emotions and live the happy life you deserve!