Written by: Rachel Eifert MS, LPC, CSAC, CS-IT
Living in a fast paced society that is constantly on the go and struggles with patience has been just one of the many reasons why over 264 million people worldwide struggle with an anxiety related disorder. I will never forget my first experience with anxiety; I was busy, very busy, juggling changes and a very demanding job. One day I felt like my heart was going to burst through my chest. I started to focus more and more on the symptoms and then I rushed to the hospital certain that I was having a heart attack. Although it was a relief to find out I wasn’t having a heart attack hearing that it was merely anxiety was eye opening and a shock. At that point in my life I wasn’t sure what anxiety really was, what caused it, or how to address it. Today I have learned plenty about anxiety and how to manage it and have learned that keeping it under control meant taking care of myself in all aspects. I have learned to slow down and be in the moment, stop taking on too much, I learned to prioritize my needs and to find balance in my work/home life and to challenge distorted thoughts that kept me stuck. What I learned about anxiety is that my body was telling me something, something needed to change otherwise nothing would change. I decided to listen.
It is important to know that you are not alone and recovery is possible. Reach out and talk to a friend or family member about your experiences and challenges, chances are they can relate to your experience. Here are some other ideas to help you break the cycle of anxiety:
· Exercise regularly
· Eat a healthy diet
· Try to get restful sleep
· Reduce stress
· Talk about your feelings
· Focus on your self care. Do something for you.
· Take a time out
· Volunteer in the community and build healthy peer support
· Take a yoga class, listen to music or meditate
· Do your best!
· Maintain a positive attitude and avoid people who are overly pessimistic or toxic
· Ask for help
Remember, counseling is a great place to go to figure out what triggers your anxiety response and help you uncover deeply embedded beliefs and attitudes that are also a factor. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown in research studies to be effective in the treatment of panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, among many other conditions. CBT addresses negative patterns and distortions in the way we look at the world and ourselves. Uncover those things that hold you back and empower yourself to live your best life. You are worth it.