It’s said there are only two certainties in life; death and taxes. But I propose one more certainty—anxiety. Because everyone experiences anxiety, with the most common age group being 30 to 44 year-olds. Do you fit into this category? Does anxiety have an overwhelming pull in your life? If so, keep reading to discover some simple steps you can take for lasting anxiety relief for adults. But first, let’s take a look to see if anxiety is always a bad thing.
IS ANXIETY ALWAYS BAD
The short answer is NO. But let’s dig a little further. Throughout the course of a day, we face various situations. And how we handle them will tell us if our anxiety level is healthy or unhealthy.
After all, there are times when anxiety is an appropriate emotion.
For example, let’s say you are driving on a slippery road. In that case, having anxiety would be a great motivator to do something good, like slowing down. Or, before you cross a busy street, a healthy amount of anxiety would cause you to make sure you have a firm grip on your child’s hand before you proceed. Being anxious temporarily in these kinds of situations would be considered normal.
On the other hand, if you always have that sense of a foreboding feeling, that should alert you that something is amiss. To figure out if your anxiety is normal or out of control, let’s take a peek at some symptoms of extreme anxiety.
- Always feeling nervous
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom
- Feeling powerless
- Experiencing an increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing (hyperventilating)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Struggling to concentrate or think about anything other than the present worry
Now, as I said before, everyone experiences anxiety. Indeed, even babies as young as 6 to 12 months of age experience anxiety in the form of separation anxiety. But as we get older and become adults juggling careers, families, bills, and responsibilities, there is more to be anxious about for sure.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to find lasting anxiety relief for adults. Let’s take a look at them below.
FOUR SIMPLE STEPS TO ANXIETY RELIEF
1. Stop And Take A Breath.
When anxiety flares up, pause for a moment and think about what is making you feel so nervous. Do you think about something that occurred in the past, or are you worrying about something in the future? Many times this is the case.
If so, try to clear your mind of worry and bring your awareness back to the present by practicing this simple breathing technique:
- Get into a comfortable seated position or lie down on your back.
- Close your eyes and inhale slowly and deeply through your nose. Keeping your shoulders relaxed, feel your belly expand with each breath.
- With lips slightly pursed, exhale slowly through your mouth, keeping your jaw relaxed.
- With each breath in, think to yourself “be,” and with each breath out, focus on the word “present.”
- As you repeat this breathing pattern five to ten times, focus on your breath. Then, take notice of how you feel throughout your body. As you breathe deeply, if there are areas that feel tenser than others, imagine that your body is releasing the stress and tension.
- Before you end your exercise, take some time to notice how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally.
2. Identify What Is Troubling You.
The uncomfortable feelings of anxiety, such as a rapid heart rate, trembling, or chest pain, are usually more apparent than understanding what is causing your anxiousness. Some possible stressors could be:
- Money troubles
- Chaotic schedules (coordinating your schedule with your children’s school, activities, or sports schedules)
- Long commutes and rushed mornings.
- Personal problems such as health, relationships, or life changes (aging parents).
- Work stress
3. Address What You Can Change.
Many times we unnecessarily worry about things that haven’t even happened or may not ever occur. For example, worrying about if you will get cancer or if your kids will get into an accident.
If you are plagued by exaggerated worry, take some steps to turn off those anxious thoughts. Challenge those thoughts by asking yourself the following questions:
- Is there evidence that the thought is true?
- Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
- How probable is it that what I’m fearing will actually happen?
- How will worrying help me?
A productive, solvable worry is usually something you can take action on right away.
- Evaluate if what you are worrying about is solvable.
- Brainstorm to think of possible solutions.
- Develop a plan of action.
For example, you are having a hard time paying your bills. Therefore, using the steps above, you figure out that a flexible payment plan would be helpful. You call the creditor and ask if this is possible. Once you have a plan in place and start doing something about your problem, you will feel much less anxious.
4. Redirect Your Attention To Something Less Anxiety-Provoking.
Sometimes chronic worriers use worry to try and predict the future as a way of preventing unpleasant surprises and thinking you can control the outcome. Unfortunately, this does not work. And besides, focusing on worst-case scenarios is only going to keep you from enjoying the good things going on in your present world right now.
So to interrupt the worry cycle, get up and do something to give yourself a break from the relentless worry. Things to try:
- Physical exercise
- Talk to a friend.
- Watch a funny movie.
- Use grounding exercises such as playing a memory game, using all five senses to describe in detail your surroundings, or go through a common task in your mind and go through the process step-by-step.
And lastly, recognize that, sometimes, all you can control is your effort and your attitude. By putting your energy into the things you can control, you’ll be much more effective in finding lasting relief.
Being proactive now by following these simple steps to managing your anxiety can help you feel like you have a bit more control over any situation. Another great way to learn strategies to manage stress is to work with an anxiety coach through breakthrough coaching. They can help you discover and master anxiety relief techniques that will keep you from becoming overwhelmed when “life” happens.
Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. The easiest way to start taking control of your anxiety is to take the FREE 5-Day Anxiety Detox Challenge. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or make an appointment online. Together, we can work on strategies that will have you feeling more capable and competent.