Dealing with anxiety can seem like a never-ending process. Feeling a bit anxious about things is not all that unusual. It’s only when that anxiety gets out of hand and starts interfering with our ability to act in our own best interests that problems arise.
But how can you tell the difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder? And how do you deal with anxiety if it is an issue in your life?
Anxiety becomes a serious issue when it starts to interfere with daily life. When, as doctor Jerilyn Ross says, you start to think that “around every corner, there’s the next possible disaster.” At that point, the person has lost perspective and their anxiety has entered the realm of the disorder. But that’s not to say they’re powerless to right the ship. There are in fact a number of effective coping mechanisms one can learn to reduce anxiety levels. Here are a few of the most effective:
Challenge your negative thoughts. When a negative thought enters your mind and threatens to derail you, ask yourself: “How is this relevant to what I was doing?” Asking yourself this question can help you see that you’re in danger of losing focus. As the old saying goes, “Be where your feet are.” That means resist the temptation to indulge negative thoughts and get on with the task in front of you.
Practice relaxation techniques. It’s a medical fact that people in the grips of anxiety tend to hold their breath or breathe sporadically. You can often override this physiological response by being mindful of your breathing. If you sense that you’re tightening up and your breathing is losing its natural rhythm, stop what you’re doing and take a series of slow, deep breaths. Once you’ve returned to a calmer state it’s a good time to remind yourself to be where your feet are and move ahead with the task at hand. Whatever was causing the anxiety can wait.
Identify those things that trigger you. In order to know how to deal with anxiety you need to know what’s triggering it. Are there any common factors that accompany your anxious episodes? For instance, have you had trouble with anxiety after drinking a second cup of coffee in the morning? Do you feel anxious every time you encounter a certain person? If so, why? Is it something that can be defused? If there’s a trigger that resists a simple solution you may need to consider more involved coping techniques.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT teaches people how to incorporate different ways of thinking about those things that typically trigger anxiety. In many cases, it’s a matter of removing yourself from the situation and trying to see it as a 3rd party observer would. In other cases, it’s more involved. But the goal is to change the way you think about those things that typically trigger anxiety. It will likely take some time, but it’s worth it.
Meditation. Meditation has been helping people relieve stress and anxiety for thousands of years. It can be a very effective tool that helps you purge negative, anxious thoughts from your mind. There are scores of websites and internet videos that can teach you basic meditation techniques. It’s also a safe bet that there are numerous places in your community where you can learn and practice meditation.
Should your anxiety resist common mitigation techniques like those outlined above, you may want to consider medication. There are more anxiety medications on the market today than ever before. Including one that is threatening to make most others obsolete. It’s called ketamine and it’s being hailed by many mental health professionals as the most important breakthrough in the treatment of depression and anxiety in decades.
Some research indicates that up to 80% of patients can find relief from their symptoms after a series of IV Ketamine infusions. Before you move to a more well-known alternative ask your doctor or mental health professional about ketamine.
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