According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older.” It goes on to explain that only about 33% of people suffering actually receive treatment.
If you are one of the many people suffering from anxiety, that should reassure you that you are absolutely not alone. Anyone who has experienced anxiety would give a lot of things to get rid of it. But they usually also know it’s just not that easy. Anxiety doesn’t just disappear because you don’t want it anymore. But what you can do is learn to recognizes what causes your anxiety. Then work to manage and overcome it before it gets out of control and you are in a complete anxiety attack situation. Being able to accomplish that can be life changing for someone with true anxiety.
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Recognizing Oncoming Anxiety
There are a few things that go into knowing when you are going to cross the line from simply being nervous to experiencing actual issue causing anxiety. It also varies from person to person. So becoming self-aware is going to be a large part of learning to recognize oncoming anxiety. Asking close friends and family what they notice can also be a big help in the beginning of this process.
The easiest way to begin controlling your anxiety is understanding your behavior and your tells. By this, I mean recognizing what you do when you begin to feel anxious. Potentially before you are even aware that anything is happening.
This can be a REALLY hard step. Ask for help from close friends and family on this one. But be prepared for real feedback when you ask for it. Asking people to critique your behavior can be anxiety-inducing in itself, so be ready to really listen and just accept what they have noticed. Because you can use it to help you in the long run!
Some of the most common examples include:
- OCD Tendencies (counting, cleaning, organizing, tapping)
- Fidgeting (bouncing, shaking, tapping)
- Sweaty palms
There are a lot of different ways that anxiety can show itself. Figuring out how yours does is the first step in managing and overcoming it.
Self Confidence Issues
Anxiety can affect a lot of different parts of your life. One of the biggest ones is your self-confidence. When your anxiety lowers your self-confidence, you may not even realize what you are capable of.
This can become an issue in situations such as:
- job interviews
- meeting new people
- being in a large group
Preparing yourself for these situations by practicing what you are going to say can help significantly.
For an interview, doing things like reading sample interview questions or talking about yourself with a loved one can make you feel more prepared. When meeting new people, having a friend that you already know with you whenever possible can make a huge difference and give you some comfort.
Sometimes, doing whatever you can to make an uncomfortable situation feel, even slightly, familiar can make a world of difference.
The most helpful thing you can do for self-confidence issues is to learn what situations are anxiety-inducing. And making a plan to prepare yourself ahead of time.
Working on Managing Your Anxiety
Once you identify what causes your anxiety you can begin to learn how to manage and overcome it. Different things work for different people, but having a place to start will get you on your way.
The first thing that I have seen make a difference in the lives of loved ones (and myself), is to keep busy.
The first way to do this is to get into a routine. When you schedule at least part of each day, you will have a familiarity to fall back on. For people who work the same hours each week, this is a little more straightforward. For hourly employees, such as retail, or stay at home parents, this can be a little more challenging.
After a work schedule, an easy cleaning schedule is something simple to set up. Creating a daily, weekly, or monthly cleaning schedule that organizes a little time each week can fill in some of your spare free time. It will also take away the time you currently spend worrying about when you are going to fit in cleaning house. It’s a win-win.
If you don’t have a cleaning schedule yet, consider creating one so that you have a little more busy time. Learn How To Create Your New Cleaning Schedule.
The more fun way to keep busy is to schedule some time each week to do things that you enjoy.
This can be anything you like. Hiking, reading, writing, watching tv, going for a walk around the neighborhood. Even taking a class on something you’ve always wanted to learn or doing small DIY projects in your home. Just fit in something that you enjoy doing each week. It will not only help to keep your mind busy but also be time that you enjoy.
Having a Support System
I personally believe that this is the most important part of managing your anxiety. You need to have a great support system. This can include anyone that is going to help you in as positive a way as possible. It can be your spouse, best friend, parents, siblings. Anyone that is going to be there for you and recognize when your anxiety is talking and not you.
When an anxiety attack begins it becomes very difficult to be logical and have a real conversation continue. Many people with anxiety become irrationally upset or inconsolable during an attack. It can cause insomnia, rashes on your body, or uncontrollable crying.
When those things start happening your support person needs to be able to recognize the change and help you to work through all of the emotion involved. This may be anything from letting you get out what you need to say, to stopping what is going on and creating the situation. A lot of this process will rely on your support person being able to go through this with you.
Working on managing and overcoming your anxiety can be very daunting. But taking it one step at a time will make it easier. Break it all down and keep it simple.
- Learn to recognize situations that cause anxiety
- Identify your personal tells
- Work on keeping busy by scheduling parts of your week
- Build your support system
By working on each of these things you will be able to begin managing your anxiety. And, eventually, start to overcome some of the issues it causes by knowing when it is going to come on.
All of this being said, please realize that some things may or may not work for you. Also, realize that this process can take years to really make a true difference. I am also by no means, someone that is certified to give advice on any kind of mental health issues. All of this advice is based on what I have learned about myself and others in my life. If your anxiety is truly affecting your life in large ways, such as keeping you home from work constantly, then you should seek help from a licensed professional.
Good luck with your adventure. I hope you find this information beneficial and that it helps to change your life for the better. If you have things I didn’t mention here that were beneficial to you, please share them with me through email or a comment below!
And don’t forget to stop by the Resource Library to get your FREE worksheet to help you accept your flaws.