|IMPROVING ANXIETY IS SIMPLER THAT YOU MIGHT THINK|
Jerome A. Price, MA, LMFT, LMSW
Everyone experiences anxiety. You might experience anxiety as fear, worry, tension or general irritability. The first step to improving anxiety is to become aware of what it feels like so that you can take steps to reduce it.
Why reduce it rather than eliminate it? We were designed to have anxiety and fear. Anxiety tells us that something is happening that we need to respond to. Without it we wouldn't feel urgency to get something done, pay a bill or operate within the laws. We wouldn't even drive defensively. Therefore, we don't want to eliminate it. We just want to tone it down enough so that we can hear it but not be made miserable by it.
The easiest way to recognize anxiety is to explore where you feel it. Is it the fearful and panicky thoughts that some of us experience? Might the sensation be more in your body? Do your nerves jangle like there's electricity running through them? Do you get a fluttering in your stomach or a funny feeling behind your eyes? The sensations of anxiety can be unique for every individual.
Once you identify when anxiety is happening and how it feels the next step it to notice it. I know many of us automatically notice it, but we also react to it. Once you can notice that it's happening you can also notice what you're thinking about it. Most people are kind of freaked out by it and that raises the anxiety even higher.
What are the actual words you say to yourself when you're anxious. Are you thinking thoughts that comfort you or thoughts that make you feel worse? The simplest antidote to anxiety is to, over time, practice choosing thoughts that are comforting and reassuring such as, "This feels bad but it's going to pass," rather than, "What's wrong with me that I can't control this anxiety?"
When anxiety is more severe it may not respond to such a simple straightforward approach. Controlling anxiety might require a combination of actions such as the above approach as well as aerobic exercise, yoga, tai chi, meditation or neurobiofeedback.
The best solutions usually change the anxiety over time as you address it in more than one way. You might not feel less anxious this moment, but don't give up. Reducing anxiety requires some dedication to changing your views of the world, your ways of solving problems and the activities you choose in your spare time.