Anxiety is a feeling of fear and worry, typically about an event or an uncertain outcome. If fear and worry are left unchecked, it can develop into anxiety. When anxiety and its resulting depression overtake our lives, it can impact our health, our relationships, and our personal success, whether in school, at work, or even in life in general. For many of us, anxiety has become a major roadblock to a healthy and productive life.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety has become the most common mental health disorder in the United States. One in eight children suffer from anxiety, making it difficult for them to concentrate in school and remember things that have been learned. They also have difficulty bouncing back from challenges, socializing or even taking care of themselves.
When childhood anxiety is left untreated it can lead to adult anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depressions Association of America (ADAA), anxiety affects one in five adults in the US. The common treatment for adult anxiety is medication such as benzodiazepines or benzos (an opiod). These drugs are involved in one third of all emergency room visits and 30% of the deaths due to pharmaceutical overdoses every year.
What Causes Anxiety
A stressor is an event that causes stress. When uncontrolled stress is present, it may lead to anxiety and depression. Anxiety can be a normal part of life when faced with stressors such as changes in a school, or a job, personal relationships, presenting in front of a crowd, or making a big decision to name just a few. Some of the signs of anxiety include the following:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Sleep difficulties
- Sudden periods of intense fear
- Pounding heart
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling of impending doom
- Panic Attacks
How to Learn to Cope With Anxiety
Anxiety is a normal event in most people’s lives. What is important is how we learn to cope with anxiety. While there is no one way to completely eliminate anxiety, it is important to find healthy coping skills that will work for you. Short of taking medication to control anxiety, here are three practical and healthy ideas for managing your anxiety:
- Self-Control is the battle between the cognitive and emotional brain. Fear and worry are part of the emotional brain, while logic and reason are part of the cognitive brain. It is important to learn how these two parts interact with each other and how they control your reactions to stressors in your life.
- Stress Management teaches how to manage stress and anxiety. Stress, the trigger that leads to anxiety, needs to be managed in order to reduce anxiety.
- Physical Wellness involves taking care of your body through proper diet, rest and exercise. It is one of the things that you can control in your life.
Self-control and stress management involve your thought processes, which sometimes are difficult to control due to a lack of discipline and effort, while physical wellness involves your action process. Of the three factors in anxiety management, physical wellness is the easiest to address because it involves physical action and doing rather than thinking and feeling.
In the following posts in this series we will discuss some simple ways to develop the coping skills of self-control, stress management and physical wellness. To learn more about our anxiety management program, here is a link to our Anxiety Management program brochure: https://www.conovercompany.com/downloads/anxiety-management.pdf