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My Lifetime Battle with Anxiety and the Coping Strategies that Help

Updated on March 3, 2015

Anxiety: Just a normal feeling or a disorder?

Anxiety. Most people have suffered or do suffer from anxiety to some extent in their lives. The nervousness prior to an interview or competition of some sort. The fear or dread of having to go to the dentist. The slight panic or unease when you feel unprepared for a presentation at work or forgot to pay an important bill. That stomach in your throat feeling as you descend the first incline on a roller coaster. Well just imagine having these feelings perpetually. Tack on feelings of constant worry, dread, panic, fear, and phobias. This not only triggers one's mind to race uncontrollably, ceaselessly ruminating, but also produces extremely uncomfortable physical sensations that result in anxious behavior in an attempt to avoid and cope with such obtrusive, unwanted thoughts and feelings.

A Few Facts

Suffering from anxiety is frustrating, exhausting, and even stigmatizing. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. About 6.8 million people suffer from generalized anxiety disorder, and in general, women tend to be twice as likely to suffer from anxiety disorders than men. However, only about one-third of those with an anxiety disorder seeks treatment. Why is this? It isn't because anxiety isn't a treatable condition. It is very successfully treated. Is it because people are ashamed? Many people feel judged when they are labeled with a psychiatric illness. Maybe it's because they don't know they are suffering from an anxiety disorder. Whatever the case may be, those with anxiety should not avoid getting support. This only creates more anxiety. Facing one's fears is the best way to eventually reduce one's anxiety.

Since Childhood

Here's some of the story of my battle with anxiety and how I coped.

Although I have always suffered from anxiety and the resulting panic/anxiety attacks, it wasn't until my mid to late twenties that I was actually given a diagnosis of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I never knew this was what it was. Now that I have a diagnosis, I can look back and identify the first time I had anxiety attacks. I believe it was when my parents would leave me with my grandparents for extended stays. My grandmother, who was later diagnosed with bipolar disorder, had extreme mood swings. She could bounce from happy to sad to angry to happy again within a matter of minutes. This was very confusing to me, and I never knew what to expect from her. Her mood swings caused her to treat me inconsistently as well. There were times she was kind and loving, while other times she was mean and emotionally abusive.

I hated staying at my grandparent's house without my parents. I can remember the intense panic I would feel when they were getting ready to leave. My body felt as if it could explode. My racing heart, shallow breathing, flushing and sweating, nausea, dizziness, and a huge lump in my throat that refused to go down would all send me into a raging meltdown. I still have an image in my head of my father holding me in my grandparent's hallway trying to calm me from one of my first anxiety attacks as I desperately clung to him, crying and begging him not to leave me there. I don't remember how old I was, but I couldn't have been much older than five.

Why Worry?

As I got older, I would occasionally have these anxiety attacks, and they would be triggered by a host of different things- school pressure, peer and social issues, hormones, sibling rivalry, and more. But it wasn't just the attacks that I suffered from. I was also being plagued by feelings of constant worry, dread, panic, and fear. Of what? It can only be described as a feeling of not being in control or of losing control of situations around me. The emotional abuse from my grandmother was just one of many ways in which I was abused by others. I will not explain these here, but when others exert control over you through abuse, the victim feels a sense of helplessness. This creates a great amount of anxiety and a need to have some semblance of control over the things in your life, especially since so much of that control was stolen from you.

Something related to this is the fear of uncertainty of a situation as well as confrontations. Not knowing what to do in a situation is something that can throw me into a panic or anxiety attack. This was also when I was very angry or when there was any type of confrontation. I could never control my anxious feeling both physical and emotional. Another source of anxiety was not meeting the expectations of others, or especially the expectations I had for myself. Perfectionism is a major cause of anxiety, not only for me, but for many people. I have always had extremely high expectations for myself in everything I do.


The Cycle of Anxiety

An Anxious Mind and Body

Once again, anxiety causes the mind to race uncontrollably. Anxious minds are always ruminating. Thoughts are mulled over and over again with no relief. These thoughts are obtrusive, unwanted, and uncontrollable. The energy it takes to suppress both anxious thoughts and feelings can be extremely taxing and draining. I guess I knew it wasn't exactly normal to be experiencing all this, but everyone had their problems, didn't they? It was exhausting trying to keep myself from having an anxiety attack in public, especially in high school. This resulted in me having little energy left to participate in school activities, and I would often miss school as anxiety levels reached a peak. This was especially true since I also suffered from severe and debilitating migraines, and still do today.

Anxiety Poll

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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Natural Stress Relief

Coping Mechanisms Since Childhood

In order to suppress and deal with the intense feelings that would percolate and bubble inside me, I had to come up with many of my own coping mechanisms. I didn't realize that was what I was doing until reflecting back later. Some of these strategies were good for stress and anxiety relief while a few may have been more harmful or anxiety provoking in the long run (ruminating and avoidance of stressful/anxiety-provoking situations).

Listening to music and singing was something that helped me quite a bit. This was usually done in my room, which was a “safe place” for me. This is something I have always enjoyed doing in my car as I am driving. The music lulls and relaxes me, and when I am singing, my mind is less likely to race or ruminate. My mind is kept busy. The same was and is true when I read. This would provide a sense of escape for me, especially since I read a great deal of fiction when I was younger. I could become another person through the character in the book. While I was that other person, my own world disappeared along with my anxieties, fears, and worries. I can remember staying up all night reading books as an escape from my own problems and anxiety.

This may sound a bit weird, but my cats have always been a source of anxiety relief for me even when I was little. I can remember having two Siamese cats as a child, one of which was literally like a doting mother to me. If I ever cried, she was there in any instant, consoling me with her soothing purr. Throughout the years, I have always seemed to own cats that are more dependent rather than independent. I bond easily with them, and they follow me everywhere providing comfort whether I need it or not. One of my current cats, Bear, is what I call a “puppy cat.” He truly thinks he is a dog and has been the most entertaining cat that has ever lived! He made me realize how much I have always relied on my cats for anxiety relief after he went missing for nine days when he accidentally got out of the house. I was miserable!

Exercise is a very good outlet for stress and anxiety and always has been for me. When I was little, my mom put me into all kinds of dance classes- tap, jazz, ballet, and acrobatics. I didn't like them all. The only one in which I really enjoyed and felt I did well in was the acrobatics. When I mastered a new flip or move, I felt proud. When my parents divorced, I was unable to continue. However, being active in general, especially outdoors with friends was definitely an outlet for stress and continues to be one today. Rollerblading, bike riding, nature walks and hikes, gardening, playing games with my son outside, anything that keeps me active and involves the outdoors helps to relieve pent up stress and anxiety for me. I've taken adult martial arts classes as well and that has relieved a great deal of stress.


Anxiety Symptoms

The anxious body
The anxious mind
Anxious behaviour
terror of panic
Catastrophizing the outcome of panic or any physical sensation
Avoidance behaviors
flushing
Fearing the feeling of panic
OCD behaviors
sweating
Dread, even without a reason
Over-activity (Work-a-holics)
rapid heart beat
Perfectionism
Perfectionist behavior
shallow respiration or hyperventilation
Guilt
Controlling behavior
nausea/vomiting
Inability to plan
 
dizziness
Need for reassurance
 
lump in throat
Fear of rejection or lack of confidence
 

Journal Writing and A "Safe Place"

Warning Signs & Being Proactive

I have always been in tune with myself as well as my body. Using this knowledge to battle the anxiety has been successful. I am not sure if it is just me or if everyone who suffers from anxiety can feel the build-up inside them. I know when my anxiety is at a higher or lower level. I can not only feel it emotionally, but the physical tension in my back, neck, and shoulders are good predictors. I will clench my jaw and hands more, maybe in an effort to shut out the frustrations. I will be less socially active as well in the anticipation of an anxiety attack. Knowing the signs that my anxiety is increasing, helps so that I can be more proactive in taking steps in reducing that anxiety.

Something I have learned in hindsight is that the more I keep my stress and anxiety bottled up inside, the more likely it will explode like a volcano. The anxiety needs to be released slowly and consistently, not held inside until it bursts out unexpectedly. One way I have done this is by talking about my problems with others, especially those closest to me or a counselor, which I think is extremely important for those who suffer from anxiety. Learning to be open has only benefited me and decreased much of the anxiety I have felt about what I have suffered in my life. There are times that I need a more private approach and journaling has provided a successful outlet, especially when ruminating is at it's worst. Picking up a pen and notebook to let the thoughts pour out rather than parading round and round in my brain helps a great deal.


Other Strategies to Help Reduce Anxiety

Over the years, there have been other strategies that I have learned to help control and minimize the anxiety I feel.

  1. Deep breathing- oxygen to the brain helps in thinking clearly.

  2. Identify a “safe place” where you can go to be alone and de-stress or de-escalate when needed

  3. Forcing my body to relax- tense and release each muscle in my body one at a time from head to toe.

  4. Stretching my tight muscles and/or getting a deep tissue massage.

  5. Taking calming baths.

  6. Learning that a feeling is simply a feeling and cannot hurt me.

  7. Watching funny movies and laughing with friends and family.

  8. Maintaining a positive outlook as much as possible.

  9. When in an anxious situation, sing in my head or think of a favorite thing.

  10. Learning how to be more assertive rather than passive about my anger or other uncomfortable feelings.

  11. List making to check off as I complete tasks.

  12. Goal-setting and planning and working towards these.

  13. Realizing I can't do EVERYTHING myself (I may still have a difficult time with this).


Even More

Some suggestions that I have yet to master include:

  1. Get a good night's sleep.

  2. Mindfulness- being fully present in the moment in which you are living in.

  3. Asking others for help when it's needed, especially when you are overwhelmed.

  4. Find a balance in your life- emotional, physical, mental, and social.

  5. Do not avoid anxiety-provoking and/or stressful situations. This only increases anxiety in the long run.

A Lifetime Battle

Anxiety can become very disabling and prevent one from doing everyday normal activities. It has always been a constant struggle my entire life. However, it hasn't stopped me from achieving a great deal along the way. I have had many accomplishments. I pursued both an undergraduate and graduate degree and taught for fourteen years in an urban school district. I have a son who is an amazing child and my greatest accomplishment. I'm a life-long learner and have taken many classes beyond my master's. However, would have I been able to achieve more if I had been diagnosed at an earlier age, if I didn't have to work so hard at suppressing the anxious feelings and fears of having a panic or anxiety attack? Could I have been involved in more if I wasn't afraid of trying some new things for fear of having an anxiety attack or just didn't have the energy for them? I'm sure I would have.



Helpful Site

For more information and support, visit http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety

Comments

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    • Medusa13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chelsea Rowe 

      3 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Thanks, Larry for commenting. Anxiety is not an easy disorder to deal with, but there are some good strategies. It's all about finding what works best for the individual person.

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 

      3 years ago

      Yes, Larry. We all live in a world where there is no system or institution to keep people away from stress/anxiety coming from modern 'lifestyle'.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      I too am a longtime anxiety sufferer. Very enlightening hub.

    • Medusa13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chelsea Rowe 

      3 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Thanks Austinstar! I'm too persistent and positive to ever give up!

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 

      3 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Excellent hub on anxiety! I wish you all the peace and quiet in the world. Never give up.

    • Medusa13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chelsea Rowe 

      3 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Absolutely, Sharp Points!! Things have been a bit difficult for me now, as my most favorite cat is dying of cancer (he's only 5). This spills over into other areas because he has been such a major source of comfort and comic relief for me which alleviates a great deal of anxiety and stress. I have that feeling right now!! I have to work harder to distinguish that feeling and not let the anxiety affect other areas of my life. I really do suggest the book The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques by Margaret Wehrenberg. It has some very good strategies to help with managing anxiety for the every day person. Good luck to you and best wishes!! Thanks for the positive feedback!

    • Sharp Points profile image

      Sharp Points 

      3 years ago from Big Bear Lake, California

      Medusa13,

      Absolutely wonderful piece! Pretty much on point. Plus I learned some new things as well! I also book marked it for later reference. I hope you are able to continue to find new ways to deal with your problem! Thank you for helping me find a couple new tricks to try. I feel like there is this heavy feeling in my gut right under my diaphragm at all times. It varies in severity, but it's usually there and I am not sure how to get rid of it. It's anxiety I know it because it's the same feeling you get when you get in trouble with your parents, get pulled over, etc. Exercise is the strongest remedy to combat this symptom. Have you ever had similar feelings? Anyway, thanks again. Voted up, great hub!

      Sharp Points

    • Medusa13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chelsea Rowe 

      3 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Hey Stargrrl! Animals are natural soothers. Give your other cat time. He/she may come around. However, just as humans do, animals have their own personality and temperament. Working with that temperament is easier than trying to fit your cat (or someone) into what you want them to be. Not that I am saying that you do that, of course!! :)

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 

      3 years ago

      Hi stargirl, we all suffer from anxieties, depressions and bad moods but there is always a positive side of life we tend to ignore. If only we can create a 'community' of good and mature people around us life will turn into a good dream. You have a perceptive mind; you can notice even the presence of a cat in your life. There is tremendous power in sharing and caring. Chasing money and short term pleasures we tend to forget the importance of more important things in life.

      But I have been seeing it happening in this hub already! Welcome aboard!!

    • profile image

      Stargrrl 

      3 years ago

      Excellent hub. I, too, suffer from anxiety and it was great reading your tips for dealing with it. I also used to have a cat who followed me around the house and comforted me. She passed, and now I have another cat who runs away from me all the time!

      Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      Sanxuary 

      3 years ago

      Here are a bunch of things that might help. Make a list of spiritual goals and if those goals are being met your Earthly goals do not matter. Protect your personal sanctuary and your home. Kick all things that violate this sanctuary out if it does not follow the rules to better living. Do not waste your time on attempting to control things you have no control over. Play the zones and do not be a zone violator. People zone, a place that is free to everyone. Social zone, when you take action in a free zone or people zone. Both are free zones and nothing can go wrong unless its the next two zones. Personal Zone, you know you our there if anyone describes a feeling. Recognize it, stop and decide to join it or return to the social or people zone. The last zone is the intimate zone where people simply share the same feelings about something. The last two zones can be risky. You can play this as a game with no risk and being recently divorced after a decade I stayed in the social zone and collected phone numbers. I had a phone book in about a months time and getting turned down never bothered me. Learning personal profiling was something I learned as a recruiter but I learned that most conflicts are personality conflicts. People person great at social skills but poor planners. Dominate personality, good leaders but can be overbearing. Numbers person, excellent planners but can be less personable. Security person, always going to do what is best for them but will sit on a fence and never pick a side under pressure. They all have great benefits and every team needs one of each and there is a lot more traits both positive and negative. If your leader is a people person and you our a numbers person you can see why its hard to work together because the person never makes a plan. The fix is make your own until they get one. Never let time dictate your anxiety but learn to be patient. Remember you can change anything you our and go do it to prove it. Then celebrate because so few people have the will power and intestinal fortitude to make a life change. I made some changes to my life to better my own soul and the cost was high but I live in peace today and my life is much better for doing so.

    • Medusa13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chelsea Rowe 

      3 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Thank you Miran Shuleta! I appreciate the feedback and support. Thanks again Goodpal.

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 

      3 years ago

      To Hannah,

      "Awareness" is a mental faculty that has healing qualities. In fact, it is precisely how healing works! Nature has given us a brilliant automatic system - the mind-body complex. You don't need theories to understand it - just watch things happening inside you! Of course, it needs some training.

      Mindfulness uses awareness in an impartial and detached manner. You train to become just a witness, an observer. You need training because mind has the habit of thinking or analysing - it is judgemental. For instance, the moment you notice a car the mind notes too many things almost instantaneously - the color of the car, its model, shape, features... the list can go on endlessly. We don't find it unusual because we are "conditioned" to take it "normal."

      Get into mindfulness, and situation changes: You just watch like a camera which shows you the image but can't give you analysis of the image.

      Training in mindfulness means shifting away from being "judgemental" which turns you into a programmed robot. You are less affected by the constant mental chatter or feelings and emotions - these things come and go. Mindfulness allows you to rise above and "act" with wisdom. A healthy side-effect you might like to know: people who have been pulling your strings or manipulating you would now feel powerless because you are no longer "reacting"!!

      This hub might help: https://hubpages.com/health/12-Ways-to-Describe-Mi...

      Wish you a Great Day!!

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 

      3 years ago

      Thanks Medusa, for sharing. I can see lot of sparkles waiting to light away the darkness!! I think all the migraines and headaches will turn into past once you tune the mind to stay with positives that are hiding inside you.

      Would love to see you shining and inspire others in that process; that's the right thing to do. Wish you another wonderful day!!

    • profile image

      Miran Shuleta 

      3 years ago

      This Hub is extremely personal and poignant, thank you very much for sharing this.

    • Medusa13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chelsea Rowe 

      3 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Thanks Hannah! You are correct with how worry plays over in our minds. I still struggle with mindfulness, but am working on this technique. Goodpal on Hubpages is quite the expert on mindfulness and a great resource on that topic s well as others. I also suggest the book The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques by Margaret Wehrenberg. It is a great help for anxiety sufferers.

    • Hannah David Cini profile image

      Hannah David Cini 

      3 years ago from Nottingham

      A fantastic hub, very honest and educational. I like the note you put about mindfulness as a coping method, I hadn't heard that before but so much worry and anxiety can come from playing the past over or stressing about the future when all that w can control is the now. A great piece, thanks for sharing.

    • Medusa13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chelsea Rowe 

      3 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      You are correct, Goodpal. I always find myself feeling better when I help others, no matter how little that help may be. A little goes a long way. My mantra is and always will be the "Golden Rule." I find many people misinterpret this as "treat others as they treat you" which is very unfortunate.

      It has been a little while in which I have actually volunteered in the community and this is a great idea. Thank you. I used to love tutoring my students who struggled the most after school free of charge to parents. I no longer work in the Rochester City School District and miss my students greatly. Knowing I made a difference in the life of a child was the best feeling in the world to me! I still have many students who seek me out from my years in the district.

      I would have to say, I don't necessarily see these sides of me as completely negative. They are partly responsible for making me who I am today. The chronic migraines, anxiety, coping and healing from abuse, and even more have all made me an extremely strong person. My goal is to help others realize they have control over their own lives. Bad situations or any particular life circumstances do not have to control people or their lives, which often happens to many individuals. I am sure you know this, but many do not have the insight that you have to cope with the many hardships life can throw at you. The many families and children that I have worked with often feel quite alone, not realizing how many others are suffering from the same situations and circumstances. Sharing one's own experiences allows others to realize how very common those difficult experiences can be. It allows people to band together and support one another just as you have been supporting and giving me advice. Others have commented to me on my other pages, Facebook for example, and asked my advice, not wanting to comment or ask here.

      One last thing I'd like to leave you with is one of my favorite quotes from a song from a singer I adore. Her name is Plumb and it is from a song titled, "Nice, Naïve, and Beautiful." The quote is, "We're all dealt our lumps of coal. What you do with it can turn beautiful" I would use this in my teaching with my students. It is something I truly believe in and live by.

      Thanks again for your support and advice. It means a great deal. You are a very insightful, intelligent, and great person!

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 

      3 years ago

      Great, So the score is already 2 with an immediate target of 10! You may even try sharing the other side (non-negative) of you here on the HP. You might be surprised to see some very positive and encouraging response.

      How about helping other people - community service is a great medicines for many things doctors are helpless about! There you might discover that you are actually a "gem" for them - something always ignored! Someone once advised me: when you think you can't help yourself, help others. I took me a while to understand the profoundness; you might also meditate on this.

      Wish you a great day!!

    • Medusa13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chelsea Rowe 

      3 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Absolutely! That's always something that helps. My son and boyfriend especially are my daily doses of comic relief. I also try to see the positive side in the issues and problems as well.

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 

      3 years ago

      You sure have much inner strength and a perceptive mind; else you won't be discussing such finer issues so logically. I am sure a few people with your qualities around you will make all your issues vanish sooner than you might think! It would be also great if you train to stay detached from your emotions and thoughts - it is the core aim of mindfulness. How about talking of your positive side with friends around you; sometimes laughing away the problems is not a bad idea. What do you think?

    • Medusa13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chelsea Rowe 

      3 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      I'm working on that. I prefer natural relief methods over medications any day. I have found Curcumin is a great help, even with the hormonal migraines which are the very worst. Keeping positive helps a great deal as well for both the anxiety and migraines, as it does with most things in life! I really appreciate your advice. Inner strength is something I definitely do not lack!!

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 

      3 years ago

      I fully empathize with your constant pain. It is certainly not so easy feeling pain all the time. You know your situation better, so whatever you decide would be always for better. I sincerely wish that you soon find some way of relief. But remember that you are much stronger than you think and nothing stays the same for ever.

    • Medusa13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chelsea Rowe 

      3 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      That is a most difficult situation. It certainly takes strength, that of which many people do not have. I will rarely take anything for my acute pain, even though I have been on preventative medication for the migraines. I continue to work on strategies to control these as well. However, not all can or will be controlled. I have had these since I was a child as well. The pain does not kill me, but surely sends me to a dark room for a day to sleep it off.

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 

      3 years ago

      To Medusa13, The problem and the key to it lies in the mind. It has far more capacity of tolerance and can produce far more stamina than we normally realize. Separation is always hurtful in more ways than we think. But no situation has ever lasted forever. This truth is source of hope as well as energy! You are changing too as your situation changes.

      Your cutting on medication triggered few cells of memory in my tiny grey matter. Once in a most pathetic condition with no support, no money for even food and acutely asthmatic I mentally resolved to not think of any medicine no matter what. I decided to simply bear the excruciating suffocation without the thought that is asthma. Several ups and downs in several months but the pain could not kill me.

      I learned first hand that tolerance is the most potent weapon that can defeat even the nightmarish situations. I still hold this mental asset and smile when people run for pain killers at slightest discomfort. In fact, I feel compassion on their 'suffering' and wish them well.

    • Medusa13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chelsea Rowe 

      3 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Bravo Denise. And exactly Goodpal!! I currently just lost my health insurance as of March 1st through my husband, as we are separated, although not legally. I have just started looking into getting my own since my home-based job doesn't offer insurance. I am currently taking preventative medication for my chronic migraine and for anxiety. These prescriptions without insurance coverage can cost over $700 a month. This is not something I can afford. Therefore, I am slowly lowering my doses of both to wean myself off. I've been wanting to do this with the anxiety medicine for some time now. The worst of this, however, is the appointment I had to cancel with my counselor. She has been an amazing help with my anxiety.

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 

      3 years ago

      Wonderful Denise!!

      I can certify that there never was (or is) anything wrong with you mentally (you stopped short of saying that!). There are situations, events and accidents (add to that results of past deeds (karma) if you have somewhat deeper insight) that make us uncomfortable and the mental impressions are too strong for us to ignore them. I personally don't like the alpha bet labels ending with ...disorder. They rarely help the person.

      Let no one make money out of your anxiety or suffering. All you actually need is good dose of care & concern (loving kindness and goodwill) and plenty (even 3,4 will do!) of people who respect and feel for you, and a mind that doesn't stop thinking positive!

      You don't have to be "productive" to prove that you are "normal". Please don't see yourself as labor resource for factory consumption; you are a much superior human being who is unique and always valuable. That's the right thinking.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      3 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I have generalized anxiety disorder. At one time, the panic attacks took me to the emergency room on a regular basis. When I finally realized that there was nothing wrong with me physically, that it was just my anxiety tricking me into thinking I was dying, I was able to get a handle on it. Many of the things suggested here have been helpful for me, especially deep breathing, relaxation, journaling, exercising, enjoying nature, and talking with others before feelings get out of hand. Anxiety does not have to control our lives, we can still live be active, productive people!

    • Medusa13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chelsea Rowe 

      3 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      I agree, Goodpal. Thanks for your insight and advice. Deep breathing is very important in keeping a clear and calm mind. It is one I rely on quite often.

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 

      3 years ago

      A good way to move forward in mindfulness is to stay connected with breathing. You can chase away obsessed thinking with brisk breathing. Often certain types of negative thinking turn into comforting islands, we habitually come back to. This also can be weakened by hooking to conscious breathing which is very good habit breaker.

    • Medusa13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chelsea Rowe 

      3 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Yes. I still struggle with mindfulness in general. Even as I am having a great time in any situation, my mind cannot seem to stop thinking about other things. It is my own fault since I do not force myself to set aside time to practice mindfulness and making better use of my senses.

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 

      3 years ago

      Someone gave the tip "Live through the worst", rather than facing it in increments. Easily said than done! But later found that daily dose of mindfulness meditation sure helps to cut the roots.

    • Medusa13 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chelsea Rowe 

      3 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Thank you Megan and Goodpal. I have often had to face my fears whether I wanted to or not. This has helped to increase the areas in which I feel safe. However, even in those spaces, anxiety can be overwhelming if confrontations occur. This is especially true for work situations.

    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 

      3 years ago

      Hope, with your insight you be able to snap the link with perennial feelings of anxiety. Increasing the "space" where you feel safe will greatly help you.

    • profile image

      Megan 

      3 years ago

      Great article! I relate to so many pieces of it.

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