Tongue in cheek: but when I started thinking about this topic, I was reminded about the old American Express Tagline – “American Express: Don’t leave home without it.” Anxiety doesn’t give us a choice. It’s like your little sister who tagged along with you everywhere you went.
Like many of us who have (I hate the term “suffer from”) chronic anxiety, humor is a go-to coping mechanism. It is much better than the feeling that I’m constantly trying to outrun an avalanche.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is deeper than worry or stress. It’s persistent. Sometimes the worry is legitimate like being able to pay bills or pass an exam. Sometimes it’s an exaggerated state. For me, anxiety made every task feel impossible whereas before I could do, do, do.
“An evaluation of symptom criteria, as outlined in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (also known as the DSM-5), is the first step—they look for factors like excessive, hindering worry paired with a variety of physical symptoms, then use proven diagnostic assessments to make a diagnosis and rule out other possibilities.”Very Well Mind
How can you manage anxiety?
If there was one pill or band-aid that would remedy anxiety, we wouldn’t need this article, charity, or one another. The management of anxiety is as individual as we are. Therapy, medication, mindfulness, and exercise all help.
It helps to recognize what’s really happening. Find a trusted mentor or your physician and tell them what’s going on.
Honestly, my friends were, let’s say, “less-than-supportive” about my anxiety. So I told my primary doctor that I felt overwhelmed and I couldn’t stop crying. She started me on a dose of an anti-anxiety medicine and I’ve never been better.
How I cope with anxiety.
After the diagnosis and medication, I was completely blown away with how much clarity I had in my mind. I remember that day, March 8, clearly, when the Lexapro kicked in. I woke up with ideas. I had so many ideas. Good ideas. I had optimism. I was still sad that my husband died, but I could now think. I had a path to deal with it.
I walk by the ocean. I do this without listening to podcasts or music. This helps me process my thoughts and enjoy where I am in the moment. I allow nature to help my thoughts.
I started exercising more intensely with kickboxing and my psychiatrist recommended Headspace for daily meditation. Though I’ve been more faithful with the kickboxing, I will say that the concepts of meditation have helped quite a bit.
Does it mean that I’m cured? No. In the process of writing this article, I spent a full two days in bed, crying, sleeping, thinking, and, frankly, hiding. We don’t cure anxiety, we manage it.
Sometimes you need professional help. It’s okay.
Medication is okay.
Meditation is okay.
Talking is okay.
Exercise is okay.
You may not be okay now but you will be.
Together we can Press Forward.
Together We Can #PressForward
“Have a plan for when the worst happens. Have a list of people you can reach out to. Use both.” Jon Liebold
“Change from ‘I am’ to ‘I feel’ and your body & mind are transforming instantly the perception. This has a positive influence on the neurotransmitters and secretion of hormones.” Birgit Olzem
“Constantly checking my inboxes creates anxiety.Now I check email, Slack, Basecamp etc. at regular intervals only. For example I check up to three times a work day. At arrival, an hour, after lunch, and an hour before end of day. By limiting these checks I free up uninterrupted time to work on complex projects in batches for at least 2-3 hours at a time.” Joseph Dickson
“Your logic side & your fight/flight can’t function equally at the same time. So if you do something that requires thinking, like naming all the items around the room out loud, it slowly forces the panic out. The duration of my attacks shortened w/ this technique over time. However, there are times when this technique won’t work. When anxiety is a product of something legit happening. During the end of my mom’s life, as a caregiver, the best thing I could do was understand my feelings were valid. To use anxiety as a signal to rest or let it out.” Rachel R. Vasquez
“A few of my strategies include:
- Allocate time for emails/comms
- Organize tomorrow, today
- Daily basic yoga
- 5-10 min mindfulness meditations throughout the day
Stepping back from a complex problem often leads to the solution. Phil Kurth
“I know personally when I want to quit being negative I have to intentional choose a new thought path. I believe we can’t not think. (And I will present Ghostbusters and the Stay-Puft marshmallow man as exhibit 1.)” Cate DeRosia
“Anxiety COMES from somewhere. It has a cause or trigger. It’s important to – like you would trace a bug back through your code – trace your anxiety back to what might be causing it. You may need to do that when you don’t feel anxious anymore and that’s okay. My anxiety comes from my own brain, usually without an external trigger. Simply knowing that has helped me manage it.” Allie Nimmons
“Despite all the different ways of coping, I would advise: don’t do it alone. Have someone or a group with whom you can share. It’s easier. Stepping back and relativizing is good, because nothing is more important than your health, family and friends.” Álvaro Góis
“Establish an anchor question that can help ground in the moment. Mine is, ‘Is this real?’ Most of the time, if anxiety is having its way, most of it is not. Getting to the pause with the question takes practice, but it’s a game changer.” Jessica Frick
“I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and smile. Often to think about those good things in my life. friends, family, events, memories made that truly made me laugh out loud.” Jose Castaneda
“Don’t forget about you. After all you are the most important part of this puzzle! Step back and breathe. Remember that you can’t ALWAYS be in control.” Chris Wales
“The first time I had an anxiety attack, I was a mess. Now, I take deep breaths and and tell myself to relax. Trying to figure out the cause helps most of the time.” Chandrika Guntur
“Remember that this too shall pass. Mental reinforcement has always been big for me. Like saying ‘I’m anxious because of X and Y’ will help me over this. Plus having a great person to share with.” Michele Butcher-Jones
“Your negative thoughts often don’t match the reality or outcome of a given situation. Also, you’re not a mind reader. Have more conversations.” Alex Vasquez
“Schedule regular exercise time. Schedule time with the kids! They will give you perspective. Eat well! Realise that you only have this one life + you must put work in perspective. Being grateful for what you have. Smiling more. And go outside! Breath. Get natural light. We spend 90% of our time indoors.” Warren Laine-Naida
“I was always told to breath in through my nose because from an evolutionary perspective when fighting or flighting, we’d breath through our mouth. So breathing in through your nose helps quiet your brain a bit and reduce your danger sense. It helps. My other big tip is to be honest and forthright. I tell people that I am going to have a prolonged experience with that I sometimes suffer from anxiety. By getting that out, I feel like I’ve already excused some of my eccentricities” Malcolm Peralty
“I believe my anxiety has been made so much worse by being a lone worker, make sure you get out and meet people – not just your clients.” Rocket WP
“Put yourself and your health first, always! MBSR and yoga are doing great things for me atm. Stepping back for a moment, realising what’s actually happening in that moment helps reducing reactive patterns. What’s happening right now? What is important and right for me right now?” Carole Olinger
“Checklists, calendar, notifications. I get travel anxiety and it helps it to have external structure to keep things organized.” Andrey Savchenko
“I try to have a word with myself about what is the most likely outcome in a situation instead of letting my brain run away with worst possible scenario.” The Good Limbo
“I’m not really used to talking with or being in large groups so whenever I travel to camps or such I “warm up” by talking to my Uber drivers. It helps me get past my anxiety and into ‘people mode.'” Tim Cantrell
“I have a folder in my email called Smiles and I save messages there when I get happy emails from clients. When imposter syndrome hits, I have this folder to help guide me back.” Terri Tutich