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Navigating Anxiety: Tips for Managing Stress

Navigating anxiety is pretty commonplace in everyone’s day-to-day lives. Anxiety lives in everyone, however little or big it may be. However, there is a difference between being a little anxious about something versus having an actual anxiety disorder. Those who have an anxiety disorder experience frequent and excessive anxiety, excessive worrying, feelings of being overwhelmed, fear, terror, and panic in everyday situations. 

If you suffer from anxiety, know that you are not alone. 40 million adults in the United States are affected by anxiety every year. Thankfully, it is possible to help alleviate anxiety on your own with professionally verified coping mechanisms. Below is an overview of strategies for coping with anxiety and stress and how to manage those symptoms

What is Anxiety?

Simply put, anxiety usually involves a persistent feeling of dread, fear, and uneasiness. Anxiety is not the same as worrying about things or just stressing about certain things. People with an anxiety disorder experience these symptoms more frequently than they should. For people with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. Imagine feeling a sense of dread and fear every single day, without being able to pinpoint why. 

Symptoms and signs of anxiety depend on the person, but can ultimately consist of the following:

  • Feeling stressed, wound up, or on edge

  • Being easily fatigued

  • Having difficulty concentrating

  • Being irritable 

  • Having headaches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains

  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry

  • Having sleep problems

Practical Techniques for Managing Your Symptoms

Anxiety can be managed with appropriate treatment. Learning about your anxiety, its triggers, and how to manage your symptoms will allow you to potentially overcome your anxiety. You can learn the following strategies more in-depth, or you can consult with a trained professional. For example, at Vecc and Associates, Registered Intern and Trained Mind-Body Specialist, Michelle Page provides groups for our clientele and the local community. This training helps to educate and solicit techniques and strategies to combat paralyzing anxiety and help elevate the ongoing panic. Below is a brief overview:

Relaxation Techniques

An anxious person has trouble relaxing, but knowing how to release muscle tension can be incredibly helpful for someone struggling with an anxiety disorder. Due to the mind-body connection, easing the tension in our body can help reduce anxious symptoms and stress. These techniques include progression muscle relation, abdominal breathing, and isometric relation exercises. 

Breathing Techniques

Physically, anxiety can be extremely draining. Sometimes, in severe cases, anxiety will trigger hyperventilation, which is rapid breathing that raises oxygen levels and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. To avoid this, make sure you are breathing correctly by placing one hand on your lower abdomen and the other on your chest. These are called belly-breaths.  Make sure your abdomen moves rather than your chest. This can help when you feel an anxiety attack coming on. 

Cognitive and Behavior Therapy

Cognitive therapy focuses on changing patterns of thinking and beliefs that are associated with your anxiety. Cognitive therapy strategies include rational & positive “self-talk”, reality testing, attention training, and cognitive reconstruction. Behavior therapy involves exposure to deliberately confronting your fears in order to desensitize yourself along with relaxation techniques. Both of these therapy practices can help you maintain control over your anxiety and your triggers in a healthy way. 

Support Groups and Education

There is truly nothing more powerful than knowledge, and being educated on anxiety and stress can be one step closer to conquering your symptoms. Do extensive research, join support groups that make you feel safe, and even seek professional help. 

  1. Source: National Institute of Mental Health (2024) Anxiety Disorders

  1. Source: Better Health (2022) Managing and Treating Anxiety

  1. Source: Siri Kabrick (2021) 11 Tips for Coping with an Anxiety Disorder

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