Understanding and Responding to Anxiety Disorders
By Jessie Lucas
Feelings of anxiety are very normal. Everyone gets them, and in many cases, they are actually healthy. When anxiety happens too often or interferes with our daily lives, it is possible to develop one or more anxiety disorders.
Finding the happy medium between healthy worry and an anxiety disorder can be difficult and requires thoughtful attention. The good news is the longer you practice, the easier it gets. Some people even learn how to automatically respond to their anxiety in positive and constructive ways.
Keep reading to learn more about how newly discovered treatments that combine ancient wisdom with new technology are helping millions of people find relief.
Behavior Therapy and Anxiety Disorders
I developed anxiety as an adult and a parent. After a while, it turned into panic attacks and hijacked my mood more days than not. I fought it for a long time, thinking I needed to “win” against anxiety and overcome it. But when I started learning from my anxiety, I discovered what my body and mind were actually saying. I learned how to increase my self-awareness and discovered new areas of growth and gratitude.
The more you learn how to develop healthy behaviors, the easier it will be to heal anxiety and create stability in your life. You may find it surprising, but anxiety isn’t supposed to be a bad thing. Fear, anxiety, and worry are helpful tools that can warn you when things are going wrong and point you in the right direction. Anxiety disorders typically develop when these feelings occur too often or get out of control.
Mental health awareness is critical for managing and reducing anxiety. When you practice mindfulness on a daily basis, your experiences with anxiety will improve. Over time, it is possible to completely resolve the negative aspects of anxiety. Practicing Buddhism for anxiety has been found to be especially effective.
During the coronavirus epidemic, anxiety levels increased dramatically for many of us. Now that we understand coronavirus better, we are getting back on top of our fears and anxieties. In many cases, the experience has made us stronger. Learning how to understand and respond to anxiety in more effective ways can soothe your mind and even increase your resilience and emotional intelligence.
How to Cope With Anxiety
When anxiety strikes, it’s important to manage it quickly, or it can get out of control. There are many stress reduction techniques that are simple and easy to learn and can be done almost anywhere. Breathing techniques are a powerful way to combat anxiety that is often effective at restoring peace and clearing your mind. Breathing and relaxation exercises are included in almost every strategy for stress management taught by therapists.
There are many different approaches to overcoming anxiety. Some are ancient, like Buddhism, and others are more modern, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Biofeedback and relaxation treatments have been developed and are being used to create positive outcomes with anxiety disorders. Most of these techniques can be used in combination with each other to create a personalized approach that is extremely effective.
When I don’t have the time for an appointment with my therapist, I use treatments I can do myself. My therapist taught me how to use CBT during our sessions, and I understand it well enough that I can do it on my own. I use CBT to unpack my anxieties in a safe, comforting way that helps me find peace. There are even a number of apps, like Woebot, that can help guide you through CBT. I recommend you give several different apps a try and see which one you like best.
Instead of trying to dampen or turn off anxiety, I have found it helpful to listen to what my mind and body are trying to tell me. I’ve learned a lot about myself by simply listening, and paying close attention has made coping a lot easier. In some cases, I’ve resolved an anxious feeling entirely and grown stronger as a result.
Move Your Body
Take a somatic approach and get active when you feel anxious. Your mindset matters, and when you combine it with the power inside your body, it can actually shift your biochemistry. If I can’t figure out the source of my worry, or if it’s a problem I can’t take care of right now, then I find other problems I can fix. I’ll do the dishes, clean my room, or go for a walk. As I take assertive actions and fix these little problems, my mind gains confidence and focus.
With time and practice, you can get better at transforming your anxiety into positive energy. You will empower yourself to better manage the problems that create anxiety in the first place.
Every time you feel anxious, it’s helpful to take things step by step. It’s important to remember that you don’t need to have all the answers right now. If you don’t know for certain what the next step is, find something that will help and do that. When I don’t know the next step, I get a glass of water and find something small in my life that needs fixing.
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Big, insurmountable problems are usually made up of smaller, more manageable issues. Finding something that will help is often easier than finding the total solution, and if you find enough helpful things, the problem may resolve itself on its own.
You can learn how to manage stress using these techniques. I suggest you take a proactive approach. Exercise reduces anxiety, especially weight training, so if you don’t have one, start an exercise program. If you do have one, find ways to expand it and do more.
Effective Planning Speeds Healing
Listening and paying attention to your anxieties won’t always make them go away, but ignoring them almost always makes them worse. Being more mindful not only helps manage the amount of anxiety I experience, it often helps me fix whatever is going on.
It’s important to avoid getting caught up in “being positive.” Ignoring the bad and making everything sound good can lead to toxic positivity. You should focus on the good in a situation, but you shouldn’t ignore the bad. Finding a healthy balance is often the solution to anxiety and fear, and the emotions that need attention won’t go away until you address their roots. We get anxiety for good reasons, so pay attention to your mind and body and listen to what they have to say. If there’s a good reason for the anxiety, it is a call to action to help you fix a problem.
It is easier to learn how to cope with anxiety when you create a plan. A robust exercise routine is a powerful tool that can help you see immediate results. If you have health concerns, check with your doctor or health care provider. The benefits of yoga are accessible to almost everyone, and are especially helpful for the sick and infirm. Yoga can help you relieve stress through a combination of breathing, stretching, and physical exertion. Consult with your doctor if you need help choosing the right form of exercise.
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How mindful are you of your anxiety levels? I recommend you take a proactive approach. Incorporate breathing exercises, mindfulness, and yoga into your daily and weekly routine, and I guarantee you will see positive results. Ask yourself what three simple things you can do to reduce your anxiety and commit to doing them right away.
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