Have you tried these anxiety coping strategies? Honestly tried?
We’ve read all the articles. All the books. We’ve sat thru hours of counseling. Lost too much time sitting in uncomfortable chairs waiting for our hour with the professional who can help. And yet, here we are. Let’s be honest, just you and I. Me first, OK? Nothing I am going to share with you is new. I may present it a little differently, but you have heard it before. By this point in time, I do not believe you need me to TELL you what to do for anxiety coping strategies.
Your turn. When following advice, did you make a commitment and follow through with it? Actually put those recommended anxiety coping strategies into practice for an extended period?
Honesty. I do not care if you are honest with me or anyone else. Honesty within yourself is what can and will help you with anxiety and with the other aspects of your life.
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry. This excessive worry interferes with everyday matters: health issues, money, family problems, friendship’s, or work difficulties. The physical symptoms can include feeling tired, fidgeting, headaches, muscle tension, difficulty swallowing, breathing difficulty, difficulty concentrating, trembling, and irritability, just to start the list.
Relaxation Tips include:
1: Mindful breathing
Mindful breathing involves slowing down your breathing by breathing in deeply through your nose, and exhaling slowly through your mouth. Start with three or four deep breaths and then settle into your normal breathing pattern. The key is to relax and be comfortable. Keep your breathing pattern slow, deep and easy. Allow thoughts to wander thru and be gone as you just breath.
For more information please see: Mindfulness toolbox
Concentration involves focusing your attention but not thoughts. Focus first on your breathing pattern. How it feels, how deeply and relaxing it is. Move on to how it feels sitting or standing. Not thinking, experiencing.
For more information please see: Concentration
3: Calm your anxiety by relaxing the muscles in your body.
This involves releasing any tension and simply allowing yourself to relax. Start with your feet and allow them to relax, calves, thighs and so on. Try to be aware of the muscles without giving them power over your thoughts. This strategy can help to lower your overall tension and stress levels that can contribute to feelings of anxiety.
For more information please see: Releasing tension
4: Rethink the usefulness of worry.
What most people with general anxiety disorder don’t realize is that they also often believe that worry is actually useful or helpful. And if something is helpful, you are naturally going to want to keep doing it.
To help you manage your anxiety, recognize and rethink any beliefs you might have about the usefulness of your worry. After all, your worries might not be as helpful as you think.
5: Improving your problem-solving ability.
Worries about current problems or hypothetical situations (two types of common worry issues) are managed differently. Deal with worries about current problems by using
problem-solving skills and solve the problem!
When you worry, you are going over a problem in your head. Problem solving is actively getting out of your head and planning and carrying out a solution. Don’t avoid actually planning and solving, or procrastinate. If you must, schedule a time for each day just to examine your life and develop a plan to improve one aspect at a time. Write it down (in your Journal) and write the plan steps. As you complete each step, mark it completed.
Improving your problem-solving ability helps you to solve the problem, rather than worrying about them. For every problem you solve, you have one less for you to worry about.
Because solutions to real-life problems almost always involves some hypothetical situations or uncertainty, you will also be learning to be more comfortable with uncertainty each time you use problem-solving skills.
Research shows that a major trigger for general anxiety disorder is hypothetical situations or uncertainty. The problem is that almost everything in life is uncertain because no one can predict the future. The best way to deal with it is to learn to become more comfortable with uncertainty.
So how do you become comfortable? The best way to do this is by changing your behavior to act “as if” you are comfortable with it. Examples of this strategy might be:
- Going to the grocery store without a list
- Completing a task at work without asking someone else to look it over
- Delegating a task to someone else (and then not checking)
6: Keeping a journal.
Problem-solving skills is usually not very effective in dealing with worries about hypothetical situations. No amount of problem solving will help you to deal with worries about developing a serious illness.
Make a journal page entry about one of your worries, and what you are afraid will happen. Use your feelings, your own words. This can be as simple as you wish, or as complex. Start with a very general outline and over the course of a week or so, fill in the details of your feelings. If you are afraid of developing an illness, you might write about how afraid you are of becoming sick, about what you fear might happen as a consequence.
This will help you to experience the negative emotions associated with your fears and worries: not avoid them. This will feel uncomfortable at first. Face your fears in this way; over time, your anxiety and worries will go down.
A journal can also be used for other things. Keep a daily track. Find your triggers and write how you feel. Are there simple steps you can take to bring yourself back to a calm state? Find a “band-aid” that fits you for the triggers; and one size may not fit all. Different triggers may need different anxiety coping strategies.
If your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise produces endorphins, chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers, and also improve the ability to sleep, which reduces stress.
Regular participation in aerobic exercise can decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects. A 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout. The effects may be temporary but a walk or other simple activity can deliver several hours of relief, similar to taking an aspirin for a headache.
For more information please see: Walking
8. Relaxation Music
It is said that music can soothe the savage beast. If we listen to music that reflects the mood we are in, music can also hype us up or feed into our sadness. I suggest listening to music that leads toward the feelings we want to have right now. Develop play-lists that can keep a calm, peaceful feeling, that keeps a balance in life.
Your favorite genre or type of music may not be suitable for all occasions. For example; for me, listening to Sammy Hagar’s I can’t drive 55 is not the best choice when I am driving in a school zone. It is too easy to get into it and let the speed and driving force of the music take over.
There is a huge selection of relaxation music available for free online. Binaural beats can work subconsciously and is available within a wide range of music styles. Flute music is one of my favorite calming and balancing types. Alternative music is available in many types.
For more information please see: Listening
9. PRACTICE and PRACTICE!
The anxiety coping strategies presented here are help you with suggestions and tips to deal with general anxiety. If you practice them daily, they can become new habits that are a part of your routine. Like an exercise program, it is important to “keep in shape” even when you are feeling better. Reaching goals, even small goals, can lead to a better enjoyment of life. Make a goal, work toward that goal. Reach the goal and reward yourself! Then, set a new goal and continue on.
Meditation, in my opinion, is just another word for relaxation. If calling it meditation makes you uncomfortable, think of it as relaxation. Let’s not get caught up in the words, but Let’s do get caught up in the ideas and thoughts. That will lead to taking action and making positive changes in our lives.
I enjoy Stress Tension Sinus Cluster Migraine Headaches. I say enjoy rather than suffer because I refuse to allow that to define me or make me a victim. It does not have that power unless I give it that power. I have used these anxiety coping strategies, some more honestly than others. The one’s that fit me, I continue to use.
Anxiety coping strategies will only be as effective as you make them. Try them, honestly. If one or more does not fit you, thats ok. Use the strategies that help you, not ones taht only increase your anxiety. Be aware, changes to your life will initally cause a degree of anxiety. Balance it, short term against long term.
Have you tried any of these anxiety coping strategies before? Any luck or lessons learned you would like to pass along? How about other strategies you have tried, good or bad? I would like to know.
I would like to hear your thoughts on Generalized anxiety disorder or your type of anxiety. If you have any questions or thoughts or just need to talk it out, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment below. I will reply as soon as I can!
Walking the Path of Peace,