4 Tips for a Better Anxious Life

Anxious America

Most people experience nervousness before something stressful or scary, such as speaking in public. Living with an anxiety disorder is quite a different experience. Anxiety is casually thrown around, but here are what symptoms of anxiety look like:

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
  • Having difficulty controlling worry
  • Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), 40 million people in the U.S. (18.1% of adults over 18) live with an anxiety disorder.

 

Some Helpful Ways to Live with Anxiety 

I have been clinically diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which basically means I can experience any of those symptoms at any point during my day due to genetics, stress, and unhealthy thinking patterns. And so, I know what it’s like to have anxiety attacks that turn into panic attacks and to have to explain my erratic behavior to those around me. I know what it’s like to feel tense and sore the day after a panic attack; how your chest feels tight and painful from stress; what it’s like to have swollen eyes THE DAY AFTER from crying too much. Trust me, I get you (if this is how you feel). And so, I offer you a couple of different ways you can deal with your anxiety.

 

1. Breathe.Deliberately slow your breathing, counting to 10 before taking another breath. This truly helps to calm your body and bring your system into focus.

2. Write it out.What are you so afraid of? Write down your thoughts, feelings, wishes, fears, dreams… whatever comes to mind! If I write out what upsets me, it starts the process for me to actually think it out instead of just repeating harmful thinking patterns to myself. This is how you can begin the healing process. 

3. Get active.I always feel better after getting the juices flowing. It clears my mind. Go to the Recreation Center or the HPE Complex on campus! There are many fun group classes you can take at either facility. If that’s just not your thing, you can go for a walk, run, or bike on local trails. Do a home workout using Internet resources, such as YouTube. I find yoga videos to do all the time to help relax my body and mind after a long day of life.

4. Talk to someone.This is always the most helpful thing for my anxiety and stress. Talk to a friend or loved one and get a different perspective on your thoughts and fears. Ask for encouragement and support when needed! 

 

Source: The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (2018).