Anxiety comes in many forms and levels for each person. You may experience certain triggers for your anxiety or feel high levels of stress that peak at certain times. While many people live with their anxiety and can still function each day, others experience crippling levels that stop them in their tracks.
Here are a few common ways to cope with your anxiety. These practices are common because many people find them effective when dealing with anxiety problems.
#1) Learn the Signs of an Anxiety Attack
You may develop anxiety symptoms over time and not immediately know what they are. It’s not uncommon for people to experience the symptoms of an anxiety attack and seek treatment with a doctor for their physical health. Along with general feelings of apprehension and dread, you may experience symptoms like:
- Rapid heart rate
- Sweating or clamminess
- Upset stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle tension
With these symptoms, you can see who someone having an anxiety attack might think they were having heart problems or a physical medical problem.
Knowing these symptoms can help you deal with your anxiety when you first start to notice it. You can start to figure out whether your upset stomach is because of something you ate or because of your anxiety.
#2) Take Specific, Focused Breaths
You may have heard the advice to breathe deeply when you feel your symptoms of anxiety arise. However, there is a specific way to breathe that can help you take control and give you something to focus on.
Breathe in for four counts and then out for four counts. Repeat this for five minutes, only focusing on your breathing and these beat counts. This diverts your focus and lowers your heart rate. Here are a few other breathing techniques to try as well.
#3) Challenge Your Thoughts
Anxiety creates negative thoughts that can take root in your brain. Thoughts that you may not believe when you are calm become real and dangerous when you are anxious.
Talk time to examine these thoughts. Right them down on paper and question their reality. This may help you prevent your emotions from spinning out of control.
#4) Find Calming Techniques that Work for You
Everyone has different solutions and coping techniques that break down their anxious thoughts and behaviors. While some people might enjoy meditation and find it an effective tool for lowering anxiety levels, others might not find as much value in that process. Test different strategies for coping with your anxiety and see which ones work for you. These could include going for a walk, writing down your feelings, cleaning your home, or talking to someone.
The key is to make these coping mechanisms healthy. For example, going for a walk is a healthy way to cope, but working out to the point of bodily failure isn’t.
#5) Identify Your Anxiety Triggers
At first glance, it may seem like your anxiety is triggered randomly or spikes at unexpected times. However, there may be very real factors that cause your anxiety to grow. A few examples of this include:
- Your calendar or workspace are not organized, making you feel overwhelmed by everything you need to do.
- You have not slept well over the past few days or have maintained a poor diet.
- Your caffeine intake has spiked recently.
- You are around specific people or events (like the holidays) that cause you stress.
- There is one stressful factor in your life that is causing your anxiety to spread to other areas.
It can be challenging to take a high-level view of your anxiety to learn what triggers you. However, by following patterns in your mental health and reflecting on different anxiety spikes, you can start to find the source of your stress.
#6) Find Someone to Confide in About Your Symptoms
In the event that you cannot identify your anxiety symptoms and take steps to reduce them, try to find someone who can do this for you. This could be a significant other who you can call when you feel an anxiety attack coming on. They will sit with you while you breathe or challenge your negative thoughts in a way that you can’t.
This person could also be a close friend, co-worker, or parent. Explain your anxiety symptoms to them – ideally when you aren’t feeling stressed or symptomatic – and give them tools to help you cope. This way, when you call and need help, they will be ready.
Make sure that this person is okay serving as your go-to anxiety help source. They may not be available to talk when you need them or able to shoulder this emotional burden, making them unable or unwilling to take on this role. Getting their support in a time of relative calm can prepare them to help you when your anxiety spikes.
Seek Professional Help to Deal With Anxiety
While these techniques may work for some people, they aren’t going to be perfect for everyone.
Your anxiety might reach levels where you could benefit from professional help. By speaking with a counselor, you can share your anxiety symptoms and get to the root of the issue. They will be able to provide additional coping methods that can work for your specific mental needs.
At Loving Life Today, we’re here if you need help with managing your anxiety and stress levels. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more about the counseling and therapy services by downloading our free info packet. We look forward to helping you find a way to decrease your anxieties and get back to enjoying your days.