Learning tools and strategies to help you manage and cope with your feelings will set you up for success when anxiety shows up. Each person can experience different symptoms of anxiety, which also means that what works for one may not work for the other.
Taking care of your mental health should be a priority, so listen to your body and mind to understand what you are feeling.
Symptoms of anxiety and stress include:
- Your heart is pounding for no good reason.
- Negative thoughts and general unhappiness.
- Your mind is noisy, flitting from one thought to the next.
- Feeling exhausted and/or weak.
- Having trouble staying focused.
- Feeling nervous, restless, or tense.
Try one or all of these coping skills when you are being filled with anxiety and find out which technique works best for you.
- Relax your body and muscles, and control your breathing. You can do this through exercises, such as mindful meditation and breathing exercises.
- Massage your hand, which activates oxytocin. Oxytocin acts as a chemical messenger to the brain and has been known as the warm, fuzzy hormone that promotes feelings of love, social bonding, and well-being.
- Take a slow breath. Continue slow breathing for 3 minutes.
- Take a bath. This is an excellent instant fix. Soak in the bath, allowing yourself to calm down. Add essential oils or bath salts. There are many available that promote stress relief.
- Cuddle a baby or a pet. Take a 10-minute break and do nothing but snuggle, kiss, and love on those babies.
- Find something on YouTube that makes you laugh out loud.
- If you imagine a negative outcome to something, you’re considering doing it. Try imaging a positive outcome instead.
- Exercise. Tension is released as you exercise, stabilizing mood and increasing self-esteem. So the next time anxiety rises up, go for a run or walk.
- Go for a ride. If possible, have the windows down so you can breathe in the fresh air. Put on music that you love and soak in the scenery letting go of negative thoughts.
- Make a gratitude list. Taking the time to write down what you are thankful for will reduce the negative thoughts that seem to be overwhelming your mind.
Occasional anxiety is normal, especially when you are faced with a big task or problem. But anxiety disorders typically are not temporary and can get worse over time, often interfering with daily activities.
There are many anxiety disorders but let’s take a look at some of the most common.
- Generalized anxiety disorder. Those diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder have excessive worry and anxiety that last more than six months, causing significant problems in most areas of their lives.
- Panic disorder. People suffering from panic disorder have unexpected panic attacks when they are overwhelmed with an intense fear that rises quickly. These attacks typically are brought on by a trigger.
- Multiple phobia-related disorders. Phobia is defined as intense fear or aversion to specific objects or situations.
- Social anxiety disorder. People with social anxiety have intense worry and fear of social situations. They are worried about feeling embarrassed because of what others may think of them.
- Separation anxiety disorder. This disorder is not just something that children have, as it can also happen with pets and even adults. They worry that harm may come when they are not with a specific person and typically avoid being alone.
Everyone goes through different experiences, and many of us feel overwhelmed by life. Remember that you are never alone and should not feel shame because of how you are feeling. Don’t stay quiet reach out to a friend, loved one, or a professional for support. You may need some therapy, medications, or a support group.
Even if someone does not understand what you are feeling, that does not mean they don’t want to help you find a way to help you remove stressors and find relief.
Again, don’t stay silent. Reach out to someone you trust.
“The strongest people are those who win battles we know nothing about.” – Unknown