Many of us experience anxiety. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18-54 experience anxiety, and women are 60% more likely to develop anxiety in their lifetime. The stress of work, relationships, money, and the general pressures in our society are all contributing factors to this epidemic. And we need to talk about it!
Many people report repetitive, obsessive thoughts, and as panic starts to set in, they wonder “what if?” In my practice, I see many individuals struggling to manage those “what ifs?” They are distracted by their anxious thoughts and worry obsessively about what could happen in the future. They are stressed by the thought that their future plans will not work out, or generally experience obsessive thoughts about managing their finances, approaching a co-worker about a frustrating incident, or worry about managing their daily tasks.
What can I do to begin the process of treating my anxiety?
Anxiety can be treated using many types of treatments, and there is no “one size fits all” method for managing your anxiety. Below are 5 tips to help you begin to manage your worry, and in combination with therapy, these tips can help you work towards a life free from repetitive thoughts, obsessive behaviors, and crippling worry.
- Practice Mindfulness. Sit in a relaxed position and take 3-5 minutes to focus on your breath. If your mind wanders, try not to judge your thoughts, just notice them and come back to your breath. Mindfulness is a practice, but a useful one once you spend some time working on it.
- Practice Self-Care. Take a walk, call a friend, go to a yoga class, or meet a colleague for coffee or tea. Find anything you enjoy doing and schedule it at least 1-2 per week. Self-care is also a practice, but the benefits of finding time for yourself will be noticeable pretty quickly.
- Challenge your thoughts. Ask yourself, “What is the evidence that I have to support this thought?” “Am I reacting to the facts in a given situation or to my feelings and perceptions?” These important questions will help you challenge your anxiety and decrease your worry.
- Understand the root cause. Where does your anxiety come from? Have you always been a worrier or have you recently noticed anxiety, worry, and stress becoming part of your daily routine? Have you had any major life changes lately? Are you anticipating a new event or change?
- Set an intention for your day. Take control of your thoughts and set an intention for your day. Maybe that intention is to notice your anxious thoughts and challenge them. Maybe that goal is to be less judgmental of yourself, or treat yourself the way you treat others.
I encourage you to start exploring your anxiety and working towards a less stress filled, more fulfilling life. If you would like to learn more, or if you would like to work with me, please contact me directly for a free 15-minute consultation at 312-729-5089.