Muscle tension, exhaustion, shallow breaths, nausea, stomach aches, shakiness and heartburn - these physical symptoms can all come with the anxiety territory. They are the painful consequences, shared with the body as warning signs. They often alert us that something is wrong.
Further, worrying is an emotional hallmark of anxiety and perpetuates the cycle. In some instances, anxiety can be so severe that it results in panic attacks or Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
On the other end of the spectrum, anxiety can be considered a normal and natural response to stressors, like speaking in public, passing a test or completing a job interview. Weíve all been in situations where we felt a bit nervous or uneasy.
However, when it doesnít fade, becomes disproportionate to the actual stressor, or becomes increasingly pervasive, functioning is compromised - and so is the quality of life, as the poison begins interfering with relationships, work and activities.
Even the smaller bouts of anxiety, those that seem inevitable, can be better managed. A person doesnít have to accept their anxious feelings because of genetics, a stressful work life or a lack of control over circumstances.
The antidote is inside of each and every one of us - it just must be ignited.
Firstly, it helps to understand what triggers the personís flavor of anxiety. Is it the pressures of a heavy workload, parenting, family concerns, financial strain or schooling?
Considering the root of the anxiety can be beneficial in alleviating it. For instance, if the idea of failing a test causes an extreme amount of anxiety, then time management and studying techniques can reduce the probability of it actually happening. While itís not always that easy, sometimes, it really is. Often, preparation and practice are the keys to counteracting the toxin.
Secondly, itís important to understand that our thoughts can produce those feelings of anxiety. An example of this might include a job offer or a promotion - a seemingly good experience.
When thoughts immediately surround disappointing a boss, not meeting the standards of the position or not being smart enough to complete the work, negative feelings will likely be the result.
In contrast, however, thinking more positively and realistically can result in more positive feelings. Reminding oneself of the education, degrees earned, years of experience or a history of successfully trying something new can reduce the amount of anxiety associated with the situation.
See the difference? Itís simple, but we often fall victim to our own catastrophic thinking patterns.
This process does take time. Challenging those irrational and illogical thoughts with factual information can be difficult, but itís a start to a more balanced perspective.
The elixir for anxiety management is two-fold. After becoming aware of thinking patterns and triggers, the anxiety-ridden individual can take some basic steps to remain calm, collected and objective.
Deep breathing involves slowly moving the breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. It naturally calms and can be utilized in any situation.
Yoga teaches the body how to relax and also releases muscle tension. This can have a tidal wave effect on everyday functioning, as its calming rhythm can be memorized. Progressive muscle relaxation and meditation can have similar effects on the body.
Other self-care techniques can be practiced as well. Bubble baths, reading, writing or any other healthy hobby can release feelings of stress and anxiety. Chatting with a friend or family member is another very basic way to free the mind of anxiety, especially if this person can balance the concerns.
Additionally, guided imagery, like picturing oneself somewhere peaceful and calming, can be helpful. Thought stopping involves mentally saying ďstopĒ when a worry invades the brain, until eventually, it becomes less intense.
Considering the smallness of the situation in the grand scheme of things can put the problem into perspective, thus alleviating symptoms as well.
Moreover, www.helpguide.org suggests scheduling a worry time. Rather than allowing those concerns to follow throughout the day, taking 15 minutes to focus on them can improve the quality of the rest of the day. Furthermore, utilizing the five senses to self-soothe is another recommendation for reduction of symptoms. Lighting candles, admiring the outdoors or listening to music are examples.
Tracking those same worries in a notebook can have an externalizing effect. Rating the worry or determining the likelihood of it actually happening can force objectivity and balance.
Likewise, the website also explains that worrying is most often unproductive; an unfortunate result of inner dialogue, tricking us into believing our worries will solve the problem or get us prepared. The site also reminds that the person is not the anxiety. The anxiety is detached from who the person is, and should be treated accordingly.
Essentially, a person should not allow the anxiety to control them. The remedy is one that can be stirred up within each and every one of us - neutralizing the poison and returning us to a comfortable and peaceful state.
No one wants to look back on their day, week, month or year and realize they were a victim of venomous anxiety, especially when we possess all of the power to stop it.
Because ultimately, we are all our own poison and our own antidote.
Published: March 4, 2012