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9 Ways to Cope With Anxiety

Updated on October 20, 2016

How to Cope and Live With Anxiety

If you experience anxiety, you are not alone. As the most common mental illness in the U.S., anxiety disorders impact about 40 million adults.

This means that in a room with 20 people, three or four of them will likely have symptoms of intense worry, heighten fearfulness, feeling physically tense, and problems with sleep and appetite that are related to anxiety.

In addition, there will be countless children, adolescents, and adults affected by anxiety without receiving a diagnosis.

The problem is your anxiety. The solution is finding ways to successfully cope with the condition to ensure a life that you can be comfortable living.

Here are nine ways to cope and live with anxiety…

Anxiety is a blanket term for a list of disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety, and phobias.
Anxiety is a blanket term for a list of disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety, and phobias.

Accurately Acknowledge Your State

Before you can go anywhere, you need a clear understanding of where you are. By admitting and acknowledging your anxiety, you can begin to amass a level of information about what your anxiety is and how it works.

Anxiety is a blanket term for a list of disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety, and phobias. Other mental health conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) overlap greatly with anxiety.

The type of anxiety you have will guide the coping skills and treatments that follow.

Without goals, you are a rudderless boat circling the ocean. You will have no destination, which makes it impossible to know when your mission is accomplished.

Set Your Sights

Now that you know where you are at, you can decide where you want to go. Do you want to completely eradicate anxiety from your life, or would you be more comfortable with a level that is slightly more manageable?

Without goals, you are a rudderless boat circling the ocean. You will have no destination, which makes it impossible to know when your mission is accomplished.

Pick a goal that is proportional to your anxiety. If you struggle to ever leave the house, set your sights on getting out once a week. If you struggle with speaking to strangers, find an opportunity once daily for a minute. If you're dealing with wedding planning anxiety, set timelines and break the planning up in smaller pieces.

Your goal is only a starting point. Once established, constantly push yourself to new levels by setting new goals.

Coping With Anxiety

Do you suffer from anxiety? How do you cope with it?

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Acquiring new levels of hope, optimism, and self-assurance will give you a great chance to achieve your goals. If your self-esteem is low currently, place your trust and confidence in the process of coping with anxiety.
Acquiring new levels of hope, optimism, and self-assurance will give you a great chance to achieve your goals. If your self-esteem is low currently, place your trust and confidence in the process of coping with anxiety.

Find Hope and Optimism

No goal will be successful without a strong sense of belief that you can accomplish it.

Thinking that you are destined to fail will ensure defeat. Believing that you are doomed to a long life troubled by anxiety will make it true.

Acquiring new levels of hope, optimism, and self-assurance will give you a great chance to achieve your goals. If your self-esteem is low currently, place your trust and confidence in the process of coping with anxiety.

Anxiety does impact many people, but those that work to minimize its influence can radically change their life by committing to the plan.

What thoughts spark your anxiety? When do you think these thoughts? Do these thoughts have any themes or patterns that begin to emerge?

Know Your Thinking Triggers

Multiple sources trigger anxiety. What thoughts spark your anxiety? When do you think these thoughts? Do these thoughts have any themes or patterns that begin to emerge?

For some people, like those with phobias, their anxiety will be contained to thoughts on one subject. People with generalized anxiety may worry all day about everything and anything.

Some people worry about embarrassing themselves. Others have an irrational fear of medical problems. Whatever your cognitive triggers, knowing and listing them enables you to defeat them.

How to Cope When Fibro and Anxiety Join Forces

Know Your Behavioral Triggers

Like with thoughts, your anxiety can be triggered by behaviors. Certain actions or situations you find yourself in can induce feelings of panic and stress.

Specific locations can have a similar action, especially if they are linked to an unwanted event or incident of anxiety from the past. Learning your triggers requires you to be a detective of your life.

By objectively documenting your experience, you collect helpful information that can guide your strategies.

Self-talk is the internal dialogue that you constantly engage in. If you gain control of your self-talk and insert more positive affirmations, you will control your feelings.

Use Cognitive Interventions

Cognitive interventions include all approaches you use that require only your thoughts to reduce anxiety.

Many great tactics exist that retrain your thoughts away from anxiety and towards peace and tranquility. Perhaps the simplest example is changed self-talk.

Self-talk is the internal dialogue that you constantly engage in. If you gain control of your self-talk and insert more positive affirmations, you will control your feelings.

A formalized way to complete this is through autogenic training, a treatment that guides you through a script of calming phrases. People looking for pictures instead of words may respond better to guided imageries that encourage you to envision that you are in a calm environment.

To feel better, you must expose yourself to your triggers.
To feel better, you must expose yourself to your triggers.

Use Behavioral Interventions

For anxiety, cognitive interventions are a terrific start, but the most significant progress is made with behavioral interventions. These involve a change in your actions.

Most people try to avoid the people, places, and things that make them anxious. Unfortunately, this is the precise opposite of what helps anxiety.

To feel better, you must expose yourself to your triggers. As long as you can do so safely, put yourself in a situation to speak in public, touch the turtle you are currently afraid of, or set foot outside of your house.

This will pique your anxiety, but your body will react. The consequence of facing your trigger is never as terrifying as you lead yourself to believe.

In most cases, you will find that your fear was misguided and excessive. Anxiety masquerades as protection, but it is harming you.

Employ Your Supports

Tackling the overbearing force of anxiety is not a one-person job. Just because you can move a stack of bricks yourself does not mean you should.

Including your supports will increase the speed and quality of your progress. Additionally, challenging tasks are more fun when you have a team.

The people in your life know that lowering your anxiety will improve your life. They will be happy to keep you on track and share in your accomplishments.

Of the 40 million people in the U.S. with anxiety disorders, only a third receives treatment. These people put themselves at higher risk of increased mental health and physical health issues unnecessarily.
Of the 40 million people in the U.S. with anxiety disorders, only a third receives treatment. These people put themselves at higher risk of increased mental health and physical health issues unnecessarily.

Get Professional Treatment

Of the 40 million people in the U.S. with anxiety disorders, only a third receives treatment. These people put themselves at higher risk of increased mental health and physical health issues unnecessarily.

Some resist treatment because they think they should be able to manage their symptoms, but would they try to treat their own diabetes?

Some worry that mental health stigmas will change the way others perceive them. In reality, there is no shame in being one of the 40 million with anxiety — being one of the two-thirds that do not seek needed treatment is nothing to be proud of.

Written by Eric Patterson

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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 7 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for all these reminders on coping with anxiety. Self-talk is very useful, in my opinion. So many of us need this information.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 7 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I like your statement: "The consequence of facing your trigger is never as terrifying as you lead yourself to believe." I have had general anxiety disorder for over twenty-five years. At first, it could only be managed with medication and counseling. Now, I am able to recognize my triggers and the thoughts that exacerbate my anxiety enough that I am able to manage it without medication. Facing my triggers has been a difficult challenge, but I am able to lead a much more fulfilling life as a result of doing it.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 6 months ago

      This is very useful information on anxiety. I find that some familiar situations tend to generate anxiety due to past history. Knowing how to overcome through positive support and coping skills helps.

    • Lucianasposaro profile image

      Luciana Isabella Sposaro 5 weeks ago from Melbourne Australia

      Very useful thanks very much for that.

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