Struggling with Anxiety seems to be part of many of our daily routine. Sometimes the symptoms may become severe enough to have a diagnosis within the Anxiety Disorder family but that does not mean that “everyday” anxiety is any less.
Before we discuss anything related to anxiety, it is important to understand what it is and how it is different than ‘worry’. Anxiety is this constant fear that “something” is going to go wrong but you really don’t know what it is while Worry has fear of something going wrong with a specific situation or issue. In order for one to be diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder, there has to be some specific criteria and timeline that I will discuss in the future. I think it is important to understand the base of what Anxiety is before we move onto anything else.
How do you know if you are struggling with anxiety and not just being “dramatic?”
- Worry about everything?
- Have a problem with digestion?
- Have quirks that can be “annoying” to others?
- Struggle with muscle aches?
- Find it difficult to get enough air in while breathing?
- Stay restless?
- Become compulsive randomly?
- Constantly seek validation?
- find yourself having trouble at times managing your emotions?
If this sounds familiar to you, you may be struggling with anxiety.
I am sure it is exhausting to hide these symptoms to appear “normal” when the truth is more and more of us are struggling with anxiety. The stigma related to mental health continues to play a strong role in preventing us from reaching out for help.
If you are finding yourself experiencing an anxiety attack, there are some quick steps you can take.
- We overlook the importance of oxygen all the time. Our brain needs oxygen for it to continue staying calm in difficult situations. Once we stop breathing, our “fight/flight/freeze” mode kicks in which makes it extremely difficult to stay calm to find solutions to the problems.
Ground yourself (or center yourself)
- There are various grounding techniques available online. The one I use most often is to find 5 things you can see around you, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. This forces your body to be present and reconnect to your surroundings.
- I don’t mean “dear diary” kind of journaling but some do find that to be helpful. The most important thing to notice for change is to have a clear idea of the pattern in your behavior. By noting down when, where, length, any other specifics you can recall will help you provide these details to your treatment team. Which leads me to…
Seek treatment! From your Primary Care Physician to your Therapist, your healthcare providers are on your team! Many employers have a program they offer their employees known as the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that includes behavioral health assistance. Depending on the program, you can qualify for some therapy sessions at no cost to you. Generally, the Human Resources department has information regarding EAPs. We are here to help you achieve a healthy lifestyle, which can include freedom from anxiety.
Don’t be shy- call for assistance. You are not alone in your struggle and you don’t have to suffer longer.