Anxiety is something that affects about 40 million adults ranging from the ages of 18 to 54 in the United States alone. For those suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, everyday is filled with reminders that you are not like the average person. While progress can be made via things such as talk therapy, there are always going to be a step or multiple steps taken backwards as part of the lifelong journey during your movement towards your goals.
A huge part of recovering from any illness is knowing how to recognize when you start to slip up and bringing yourself back to your “center.” We are going to discuss some of the warning signs that your symptoms are beginning to take charge of your day to help you get that power back where it belongs.
Recognize Your Own Body
The best place to start looking for answers to your anxiety and how and why it works the way it does is within your body. No two bodies are alike so what may be true for your friend or family member may not pertain to you in the same way. Anxiety is said to be a mind disorder but so much of it is manifested physically. It’s not simply a mind concern. Looking for the physical signs is sometimes easier to do than looking for thought patterns.
Your thoughts may take a bit longer to decipher, while physical symptoms can be found much quicker. Do you notice your palms sweating before you become anxious? Maybe you begin to lose your breath? This could help you slow down your symptoms before they get into a full-blown panic attack.
Don’t Forget to Breathe
You’ve probably heard it a million times. You’re getting all hyped up, overwhelmed or angry and someone tells you to take a breath. Just take a moment to breathe. While this may seem like such a simple and silly solution, it has been proven to do wonders for those suffering from anxiety. The thing is, you aren’t going to notice drastic results right away.
It’s kind of like meditation in the fact that learning how to utilize the tool can take quite a bit of practice. It’s important that you completely clear your mind as you breath and really try to block out all external stimulation. Getting lost in the breath and following the breath is what’s going to benefit you the most. Keep in mind, also, that just because you are manipulating your breathing and making it more stable doesn’t mean you are going to not have anxiety at all. That would be nice, yes, but it’s definitely not the point in the exercise. It’s about gaining more control while also allowing the feelings to run their course.
Pay Very Close Attention to Detail
Many people imagine anxiety and think of someone lying on the floor sobbing in a full-out panic attack. While this can happen, of course, it’s not the norm for everyone. Oftentimes it’s the everyday moments that add up and cause people the most anxiety. Their peaks may not appear on the outside to be as dramatic but they can be just as debilitating.
The great news is, no one has to fight this disorder alone. There are many people, very successful people, who suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety can cause us to become very controlling over our decisions, to the point of obsession. Worrying about what to wear for the day, what we may or may not have said to someone, whether or not someone is going to judge us when we are sitting alone on the bus.
Be Honest About What’s Important to You
Anxiety has a way of “hamster-wheeling”. This means that, once that anxiety hamster gets to running, the faster he runs, the more difficult it is for him to stop running and go back to a normal walking pace. Now that we have learned how to recognize and pinpoint symptoms, we should discuss how we go about changing the behaviors themselves.
When you are feeling anxious, it may help to ask yourself what are you really feeling? What is really bothering you? Stressing over what to wear? Are you worried about what others will think of you? Maybe it’s best to reach for something that speaks to you to practice not caring what people think of you. Our anxiety likes to take small events and moments and blow them out of proportion. Talk to your anxiety and we guarantee you’ll start to learn how to talk it off the metaphorical cliff into the abyss of distress.
Reach For a Helping Hand
When you really think about the statistic we mentioned in paragraph number one, it’s crazy to think about just how many people are experiencing similar symptoms as yourself, isn’t it? It’s one thing to hear the numbers but it’s another to absorb them. Anxiety is the most common mental illness in all of the United States combined. Let that sink in for a moment.
Those are only the reported cases. Many other individuals aren’t diagnosed but experience the very same symptoms. WIth that being said, talking about your anxiety disorder can help you to relate to others and realize you really aren’t alone at all. There are plenty of caring people out there who know exactly what you’re going through. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are also amazing counselors, doctors and psychiatrists that can help assist you in your treatment plan which will be customized specifically to your needs.
Anxiety sufferers are going to have their moments where they feel completely isolated or helpless but there are always resources available. See if there is a friend or loved one who wouldn’t mind helping you track your symptoms. The more you know about your own anxiety, the better you are able to explain yourself to others. When you can explain your anxiety to others then you can ask for and receive the type of help you need.
Anxiety Doesn’t Have to Rule Your Life
While anxiety is a difficult illness to deal with, there are many ways to deal with it. So much of getting healthier has to do with making yourself more aware. This is why so many sufferers of mental illness read a lot. Reading and journalism are two great ways to get in better touch with yourself.
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