Anxiety Happens: How to Handle it & Actually Feel Better

Anxiety happens. It is more than just life’s predictable nervous moments. Everyone can feel anxious before a first date or big job interview. Anxiety is much more than that.

You may feel as fear controls your words, thoughts, and behaviors. This leads to relentless worry. Everything turns into a worst-case scenario in your head. The mere thought of stepping out of your comfort zone can inspire dread (and social anxiety). However, anxiety is a common, diagnosable mental health issue. It can be handled, addressed, and managed.

How and Why Anxiety Happens

We live in a society that provokes anxiety in so many ways, e.g.

  • Perfectionism
  • The workaholic culture
  • Social media distractions, 24/7
  • Unhealthy physical, social, and financial standards

With all of that as the baseline, we’ve now been thrust into a climate of fear. From health crises to political division to social unrest and beyond — there seems to be no respite. This anxiety-based mindset is not about truth or logic. It’s about fear and loss control, hence, you will need help to tackle your anxiety. You can begin with some personal changes.

Self-Help Steps Handle Anxiety and Feel Better

1. Practice Mindfulness

So much of our anxiety is rooted in thoughts about the past or future. Mindfulness guides you to stay in the present moment. It helps to practice exercises like deep breathing and meditation. Look for and choose those activities that make you “lose track of time.” Pay attention only to the here and now. Without judgment, observe your thoughts and emotions as they come and go.

2. Identifying the Root Causes

Anxiety is rarely — if ever — the result of an immediate external stimulus. It is the inevitable outgrowth of long-term root causes. Through practices like journaling, you can monitor the patterns that will help reveal these causes. Keep track of triggers, emotions, and physical symptoms. Your journal will enhance your self-awareness. It will also come in handy at your therapy sessions (see below).

3. Practice Self-Care

Anxiety will have a harder time taking hold when your mind and body are in balance. This can be accomplished through a daily self-care commitment. Some of the components to include in your regimen include:

  • Keep a regular sleep schedule (bedtime and rising)
  • Make healthy eating choices (including less caffeine and alcohol)
  • Get in some exercise and physical activity every day
  • Develop some stress management techniques (see #1 above)

4. Take Action

Identify something you can easily and immediately change — no matter how small or “minor.” Empower yourself by demonstrating that you indeed have some control in any given situation. Take positive action before the fear can spiral.

5. Practice Gratitude

Get your mind out of the fear space and into a perspective of gratitude. Take stock in what’s going well. Use your journal to keep a daily list of anything that makes you feel grateful. Shifting your focus in a new, positive way has been shown to effectively counter the tendency toward worry and panic.

Ask For Professional Guidance

All the self-help in the world may not change the fact that you are consumed with constant worry. Working together with an experienced therapist can bring about some much-needed outcomes. For example:

  • Recognizing the patterns of fear
  • Creating new coping skills
  • Getting yourself unstuck
  • Establishing meaningful relationships
  • Finding immediate and sustainable relief
  • Discovering peace and tranquility in the midst of your struggles

I invite you to reach out today. You will find yourself in a safe, confidential environment. (Right now, due to COVID-19, all of my anxiety treatment sessions for adults are online.) Let’s connect and set you up with a 20-minute phone consultation. You can find the relief you seek. Read more about anxiety treatment. Your healing and your recovery begin as soon as you make contact.

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