Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America and affects 40 million adults. This is about 1 in 5 adults that are affected annually. While Anxiety disorders are very treatable, less than 40% reach out for professional help. In order for the anxiety to be considered a problem, it usually causes some physical, mental, social, family, or career difficulties before person acts.
The following are some basic characteristics of anxiety:
- Feeling nervous
- Inability to stop or manage worry
- Excessive fear about many items
- Difficulty relaxing
- Physical restlessness
- Frequent irritability
- Fear about future events
- Being easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
- Muscle tension
- Sleep problems (too much or too little)You may use a Likert scale, say 1-5 (1 indicates no problem and 5 indicates a severe problem). The higher you score, the more your anxiety is a problem.
Here are some potential anxiety management strategies:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is my specialty. Here are some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy steps that help most people:
- Recognize that we start getting anxious when our negative self-talk takes over.
- Recognize then that breathing accelerates, adrenaline is secreted, and our heart begins to race (flight or fight), which is needed to run away from a life-threatening problem
- Challenge your negative self-talk (for example, I’m never going to resolve this problem, etc.)
- Change the negative to a true thought such as the following:
- I will get through this
- I can do this
- I can feel my heart rate slowing down
- This feeling will pass
- I am feeling anxious now, but I have the power make calm myself
- Do not move to catastrophe mode
- See what could go right
- Do not beat yourself up
- Tell yourself something that might be likely, truthful, and positive
You may also try items like the following:
- Muscle Relaxation
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Positive Self-talk
We can go over details regarding each above in future communications if you wish.