Anxiety is the unwelcomed visitor many of us can do without. While nearly 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders, only about one-third seek help. This doesn't have to be you. If you are struggling with anxiety, put these methods to work today and regain control of you well-being.
1. Listen To Your Body
You are a whole being. This means everything is connected. Though anxiety may start in your mind, it can trigger very real physical symptoms like headaches, chest pain, an increased heart rate, dizziness, and numbness in the arms, hands and fingers. Often, physical symptoms can heighten your anxiety, making you worry more. Be still. Find a quite space and focus on your breath. Inhale slowly and deeply, pause, then exhale.
2. Examine Your Lifestyle
You may consider yourself healthy, but what if you are doing things that exacerbate your anxiety without even realizing it? Take a quick personal inventory: Do you maintain a healthy diet? How much caffeine or alcohol do you consume? Are you a smoker? Do you set aside time to regularly exercise or give yourself mental breaks? While these factors may not be the sole reasons you experience anxiety, neglecting to keep a healthy balance in these areas can be more harmful than we realize.
3. Don't Fight It
Waging war with our anxiety seems like a normal response, right? For anyone who has experienced bouts with anxiety, you know logical arguments with yourself don’t always help. When we fight it, it fights back. When we shame it, we inevitably shame ourselves and fuel the negative messages being replayed over and over in our minds. Instead of going to war with anxiety or running from it, sit with it when it comes. Calmly consider what might have triggered it and what your body and mind are trying to tell you.
4. Practice Gratitude
When we get anxious, it's easier to become negative. And it makes sense; anxiety is a response to perceived threats. So, when anxiety begins to creep in, develop a practice of focusing on what you are thankful for to counteract this swing. If the anxiety is work-related, name three things about your job you appreciate. Doing so will help you gain much needed perspective.
5. Talk It Out
Sadly, there is a stigma in our culture that seeking therapy means you are weak or mentally ill. However, this could not be further from the truth. Remember, countless people suffer from anxiety each day, and only a small fraction seeks help. You are not alone! A quick search online can provide a long list of trained professionals willing to help you work through your anxiety. Anxiety is a very real thing, but so is your ability to overcome it and learn how to live in fullness!
T.D. Jakes is a charismatic leader, visionary, provocative thinking, entrepreneur and compassion humanitarian with a voice that has reverberated from the world's most prominent stages. His look at life comes from the perspective of a father, a student, a pastor and a friend. His daytime talk show will be premiering this fall across the nation.Follow @tdjakesshow on Twitter!