ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dealing With Anxiety

Updated on October 23, 2008

Anxiety is a fact of life.  In small amounts, it can actually help us.  In larger amounts, it gets too overwhelming and causes problems.  In most cases, we are in charge of how we let anxiety affect us.

For people who have anxiety disorder, stress at any level can be overwhelming.  What one person can control, another person might find too much to handle.  This is when intervention, either self- or outside help, is needed. 

Make a list

Making a list can be extremely tough when you're already anxious about things, but seeing everything on paper is cathartic for most people. Write down everything that is stressing you out. Use as many pieces of paper as you need. Then, go back and look at your list. Make check marks or highlight the five main things on the list. On another piece of paper, write each of those five things down, along with any ideas you have on how to deal with each thing. Isolating the issues like this lets you focus directly on one stressor at a time, rather than having everything floating around in your head. 

Remove yourself from overly stressful situations

When faced with an angry person, too much noise, unreasonable expectations, or anything else that creates enough anxiety so you can't think straight, get out. Get out of the situation. Say to the person, "I'll be right back," then go into a quiet room and try to calm yourself down. If the stressor is noise, go for a walk or go into the bathroom and shut the door. This gives you time to think and to react, without doing something that you'll regret later, like lashing out. It also creates a safe space to use deep breathing, meditation techniques and/or exercise to physically calm down. Once calmer, you can face the challenge again with a different attitude. 

Distract yourself

If you are bothered by anxious thoughts going around in your head day and night, find something to fill your thoughts with instead.  Crafts, tv programs that you enjoy, going for a walk, housework, and games can all be positive distractions, provided you can focus totally on them.  Be careful, though.  Using a distraction to get out of facing the stressor can create more anxiety.  Distractions can be helpful just before bedtime to relax, or just before you go home from work for the day. 

Meditate or focus

Mediation may seem like a distraction, but it is very useful in most cases, where true distractions are not.  Meditation is a focused concentration on something.  The focal point may be music, running water, a flickering candle flame, your own breathing, your feet pounding on the pavement during a jog, anything that you can concentrate on.  This creates an atmosphere of relaxation, and allows you to bring other thoughts into your mind one at a time.  While meditating, think of one situation that has happened that you would like to change, then think of ways it could have changed, either by you or by someone else.  This is called "visualization".  The next time a similar situation comes up, you will be more likely to remember the changes you made in the visualization, and try them out for real. 

Good resources for more information

The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, Fourth Edition
The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, Fourth Edition

The best anxiety self-help book there is. This is the one my counselor recommended for me, and it's definitely making a difference.

 

Talk to a professional

If the anxiety is affecting your work, home life, and/or relationships (friendships, work socializing, time with your pets), then talking with your doctor will probably help.  Doctors most likely will suggest a variety of treatments, rather than just prescribing medication.  Mainstream treatments include exercise, nutrition analysis, homeopathic remedies, behavioral changes, counseling and medication.  Be sure to tell your doctor everything, including symptoms that might or might not be related, like migraines, eye pain, muscle pain or tightness, eating changes, energy level changes, and sleep changes.  Many times, anxiety issues are diagnosed as a cumulative effect that may not be noticeable without a full disclosure of symptoms. 

Deep breathing

While used as part of meditation, deep breathing is also useful by itself.  It is a great way to counteract the effects of a panic attack.  First, break the hold the anxiety has on you by realizing that you are anxious.  Then, concentrate on where your air is coming from.  Short, shallow breaths associated with stressful situations are usually from just your lungs.  Deep, long breaths come from your stomach, and use more muscles.  This forces your body to relax, calming you.  A good way of remembering this is to put your hand on your stomach or on your hip, without looking like you are "taking a stance", then feel if your stomach is moving.  Concentrate on your breathing until you are breathing deeply, and you will feel a difference in your anxiety level. 

Do something happy

Do something that makes you happy.  If you have had a rough day, don't just leave it at that.  End the day on a pleasant note.  Eat out, go shopping, talk with a friend, read a good book.  That way, your brain gets to relax and you fall asleep easier. 

Get a good night's sleep

It may sound cliché, but getting a good night's sleep really does change your outlook on life.  During sleep, your body relaxes, and your brain goes through the day's events (i.e. dreams).  Often, during the night you come up with answers for issues you've faced during the day, even if you can't remember them when you wake up.  You awake feeling refreshed if you get enough sleep, and are less anxious because you aren't feeling the cumulative effects of the previous day and short sleep (a stressor in itself). 

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Great Advice all round, Well done, I shall try some of these as do suffer from this myself :)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)