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Feeling overwhelmed and anxious? You’re hardly alone. But there’s good news! Anxiety doesn’t have to be all-consuming or have control over your life. Read for the best ways to reclaim your serenity and find some inner peace.

Embracing anxiety: turning an adversary into an ally
Learning to approach your anxiety with curiosity and openness rather than fear can be incredibly empowering. It might seem strange to “befriend” your anxiety, but doing so can help shift your perspective from viewing anxiety as an enemy to seeing it as a signal or message from your body and mind. Anxiety can provide valuable information about your internal state and what is going on in your external environment. It can alert you to credible threats or perceived threats. It can also be an indicator when your needs are not being met or when you are worried about the future. By acknowledging and accepting the presence of your anxiety when it shows up, you can develop healthier coping strategies, improve your emotional resilience and ultimately transform anxiety into a tool for personal growth and self-awareness.

Understanding your anxiety
Your anxiety might manifest differently than someone else’s, and that’s perfectly normal. Understanding your unique anxiety patterns can help you identify early warning signs and triggers, allowing you to take timely and effective action to manage it. Anxiety is an emotion that is often experienced somatically, so you might notice that your body registers the emotion before your mind does. During moments of heightened anxiety, the body’s sympathetic nervous system can become activated, leading to a range of physical sensations and symptoms. These symptoms can include increase heart rate, chest pain or tightness, trembling, muscle tension, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea or stomach discomfort, tingling and numbness. Common triggers for anxiety can include significant life changes, stressful work situations, financial concerns, social interactions, public speaking, health issues, relationship conflicts, uncertainty about the future and overwhelming responsibilities. Keeping a journal can be helpful in recognizing patterns and specific triggers when not immediately identifiable in the moment. Identifying the physical symptoms and the triggers to your anxiety can serve as warning signs; warning signs that let you know that your body and mind are responding to a present stressor or challenge, and that it may be time to employ coping strategies to help manage it.

A few quick and easy techniques when anxiety shows up
Once you become aware of your anxiety when it comes up for you in real time, first try to just acknowledge its presence without judgement. Do so contributes to the acceptance of the feeling rather than fighting it. Engaging in slow, deep breathing can be a helpful starting point to calm your nervous system. Bringing your attention to the present moment when your mind starts to race can also be beneficial. You can do this through practicing grounding techniques by engaging your senses – simply reorient your attention to what you see, hear and feel in your immediate environment and surroundings. Writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal can also be an effective coping strategy. Listening to calming music, holding a grounding object such as a smooth stone or stress ball, listening to a guided meditation or reciting a calming mantra such as “This too shall pass”, “I am safe and secure” or “I am resilient, and I can handle this”, can all be effective ways to calm your mind and guide you back to a state of equilibrium after experiencing anxiety. It’s crucial to discover which coping skills for anxiety resonate with you, as not all techniques will be equally effective, so finding what works for you personally is essential.

Ways to proactively managing anxiety
Anxiety doesn’t only have to be managed in the moments you experience it. It’s important to develop ongoing practices that reduce its overall intensity and frequency. You can proactively reduce the likelihood of experiencing anxiety by incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine, even when you’re feeling quite calm. Perhaps you decide to listen to a five-minute guided meditation as part of your nighttime routine before falling asleep, or engage in mindfulness walking as you walk from your home to the train station, or take three deep breaths while waiting in line at the grocery store. There are little moments every day to creatively find ways to practice different relaxation techniques. Doing so aids in emotional regulation and can help you approach daily life and its stressors from a place of reduced baseline Anxiety. Taking proactive steps to manage anxiety also involves prioritizing self-care such as nourishing your body, taking breaks when needed, moderating caffeine consumption, staying hydrated and ensuring a good night’s sleep, which are all important for maintaining mental well-being.

Reaching Out
Experiencing anxiety is not something you have to navigate alone. Reach out to the people in your life for support, such as friends, family, co-workers and professionals. Sharing what you are experiencing with loved ones can provide comfort during challenging moments. If you find yourself experiencing anxiety, reach out to Tobin Counseling Group to schedule a free consultation. We are here to support you!