People often live with anxiety for years, not knowing how much it is building until they find they are no longer able to relax as often, sleep as easily or enjoy life as purely as they did! When I first meet with someone who is asking for help with “stress”, “feeling overwhelmed” or even “panic attacks”, I ask them two main questions. First, I ask if they know what has brought on this level of anxiety and second, I ask if they are ever able to calm themselves and how. Both questions are aiming at the main point of this post, that the key to anxiety is that, over time, it can be managed. Sometimes this happens with the help of medication, especially when someone is experiencing panic attacks when entering into counseling. Every time, the individual has an ability to increase their efforts of managing their anxiety through a multi-dimensional approach that can be learned, practiced, strengthened and best, individualized to their own needs!
Once a person begins an effort of “talking out” their problems, they usually learn the following which helps them to manage their anxiety:
1) Perspective is critical and can be changed. Once I learn to see my stress from different angles, I am able to lower my stress reaction by increasing acceptance, forgiveness, and gratitude and decreasing self-deprication, fear, negative reactions and attempts to control.
2) Self-Care in the form of exercise and meditative activities needs to be a non-negotiable constant. The exercise part is easy to understand as a form of releasing negative energy and keeping healthy. Meditative activities can include and become effective in calming yourself at the fifteen minute level. I love to do yoga as a meditative exercise and as prevention of injury. I also love to cycle outdoors and consider this my nature meditation as well!
3) Focus is the best antidote to the multi-tasking frenzy we have all worked ourselves into. Thus the beautiful picture included in this article. Isn’t it easy and effective to pull out pictures of our last vacation spot and feel ourselves calm just at the sight of them? Well, focus can be on vacation pictures, a beautiful sunrise or sunset, a song, petting the dog, eating dinner slowly or sitting on the front porch like my neighbor enjoys doing.
4) It is normal to have feelings that are difficult to manage. Once you start talking and accepting your feelings, however messy they may be, or writing them down or drawing them, you realize that you are just human and that it works a whole lot better to get these crazy human feelings out and deal with them vs. stuffing them and letting them get the best of you over time.
So, the key to anxiety is to reflect, accept and deal with your feelings vs. ignoring them! I encorage you to let yourself be human. If you are having difficulty with anxiety and feel you could benefit from some counseling, or coaching, give us a call. We would love to help as we strongly believe that there is no need to just keep suffering in silence!
Call us at 402-330-0960!