How often does anxiety affect you?
Where would a psychology website be without any focus on anxiety? I could write a million ways in which anxiety can affect us in a variety of situations but such a post would overwhelm us and certainly not specific to us. However I will highlight 3 legit ways anxiety can be treated at home.
Anxiety is a common yet misunderstood disorder. While it can be understood as problem we all experience at some point in our lives, others live with anxiety nearly 24/7 (not fun at all). But why does anxiety prevail in some and not in others? The answer (partly) is because of factors including our environment, family, childhood experiences and most importantly, our thoughts. Here, I will highlight the ‘thought’ aspect of anxiety control, that is, how we can control our thoughts or at least be aware of them so we can begin to seek the right help.
Here are 3 easy ways to understand anxious thoughts (note, these techniques can be used in most contexts):
1) Anxiety is a combination of fear and worry. Let that sink in. Fear and worry are two separate components of anxiety but they combine together to form the disorder we call ‘anxiety disorder’. Now, I’m not here to diagnose nor explicitly say you have a disorder and neither does the word ‘disorder’ convey anything positive, but I have used the term in accordance with clinical psychology terms. One can experience symptoms of anxiety without having the disorder and one can also have an anxiety disorder without meeting the full criteria for diagnosis, weird right? Confusion aside, let’s be mindful and aware that all anxiety is doing is preparing us. Preparing us for what though? For the future. Yes, anxiety concerns the future. It’s all about how we are able to meet our future expectations. Some are cool and collected when thinking about these things while others have a heightened response fairly often. So, whenever anxiety strikes, remember, your mind is sensitive to planning for the future, take it easy on yourself. If things get too much, take a break then come back and re-think the situation. This will also decrease the likelihood of you experiencing a panic attack.
2) Do you know what your anxiety is about? Sometimes people complain about being anxious without actually knowing what they’re anxious about. Since I am only highlighting the thinking aspect of anxiety, there could be other reasons but let’s say something caused you to be anxious but you can’t remember what, then try and create a short journal/diary of events. It’s best to do daily tracking of thoughts and events, especially writing down your hourly reviews of things that worried you and why. Yes you heard that right, ‘hourly’ reviews. This will get you in the habit of tracking thoughts far easier than being infrequent and slow about it. Keep it simple though, no long descriptions unless absolutely necessary.
3) Once you’ve found the cause: Rationalise it! Do you know what that means? No it’s not about conducting a scientific experiment or carrying out a philosophical debate with yourself, keep it simple. By being rational, I mean look for the most likely, obvious AND easy answer to your anxious thoughts. If you are worried your cat might destroy your favourite sweater or couch when you aren’t around, how are you going to tackle that? Do you know for sure your cat will mess your furniture up? If this happened in the past, how will you solve it? Your cat might leave the house and come back, but what things do you put in place to prevent your cat from clawing your favourite items when no one’s around? You can for example, cover your sofa with a thick and tough plastic sheet or an old blanket until you get back. Just by coming up with solutions and testing them will take your mind off negative events and consequently, reduce your anxiety.
In conclusion, by re-interpreting your thoughts and what they mean for you, can quickly ease anxiety symptoms. Know that anxiety is embedded in each and every one of us however it’s our job to find out why it’s taking over our lives and also seek the right help. Mental health is just as important as our physical health so let’s try and work on our inner selves also.
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another”
- William James
Oh, another thing. If you want practical skills on how to fight anxiety, depression, trauma, OCD, work and anything that’s affecting you or if you feel like you’re depressed, why not call me for a free phone consultation then if we’re a good fit together, I can assess you and lead you on a road of discovery and healing.