If you are reading this there is a good chance that either you or someone you love struggles with anxiety. The feeling of anxiety or panic can often decrease your quality of life and prevent you from functioning normally. Anxious thoughts can be difficult to control as your mind begins to spiral in all different directions.
Anxiety in your life may manifest in many different ways. For instance, it could be the feeling of restlessness, having a sense of impending danger, or even muscle tension. Once you recognize the signs in your life, you can learn how to cope with them. This can include lifestyle changes, adapting mindfulness techniques, or talking with a counselor.
Some simple lifestyle changes can go a long way when coping with anxiety. For example, making exercise a part of your daily routine. This does not mean you have to incorporate a 10-mile run into your schedule. Exercise does not equal athleticism; anyone can find something they enjoy. It could be as simple as taking your dog on a walk or joining a beginner’s yoga class. Exercise stimulates production of both serotonin and endorphins which helps your mood and releases stress.
Another lifestyle change that could help reduce anxiety is limiting screen time. We live in a world where we can be connected to the people around us in seconds. This can lead us to compare our achievements, relationships, and self-image to what we see on social media. This comparison can cause us to feel inadequate and unworthy because we don’t feel we measure up. One way to combat this is to make sure the social platforms you use our helping and not hurting you. Another strategy is you choosing to set time limits on your phone for social media or if you want to get next level help then choosing to delete the apps can be a game changer. In counseling for depression and anxiety this can be very effective.
Some other lifestyle changes that can help manage anxiety are developing healthier eating habits, avoiding or limiting alcohol, and getting longer and better quality sleep.
Mindfulness techniques can be a great way of managing your anxiety. You might be asking; what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is the state where you focus your full attention on something. Anxiety can be reduced by focusing on the present, instead of what happened in the past or fearing what may happen in the future.
One tool that I like to use when being mindful is the acronym S.T.O.P. The S stands for stop what you are doing and put things down for a minute. T is for taking a deep breath. The O is for observing your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. P stands for proceeding with something that will support you in the moment. For example; if I am panicking about a big test this is how I would use S.T.O.P. .
- S–I would put down my study materials.
- T–Focus on my breath going in and out.
- O–Understand that my thoughts about failing the test are not facts.
- P–For my support I would call my best friend.
Talk therapy can be wonderful when managing stress or anxiety. A popular type of talk therapy is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) which helps you understand the idea that our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions all affect one another. CBT can be useful when experiencing anxiety because it helps us become aware of anxious patterns and what fuels the anxiety. When you identify what is triggering you and how then you can move forward with changing the pattern from anxiety to peace.
You can reach us at (405) 921-7776 or on the web at NewVisionCounseling.org for help with anxiety or any other issues you are facing. We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Written by Darby Hargrove (counseling intern) and Shawn Maguire, LPC. Shawn owns New Vision Counseling and Consulting and has trained a team of therapists who are exceptional at helping their clients achieve life changing results. Because their clients consistently achieve incredible results they are the top rated and reviewed counseling practice in the state of Oklahoma.