If you know that you have an anxiety problem and are looking for solutions, there are only two available options for you: get medication or opt for therapy.
Here’s what someone with anxiety may tell you, “Since I’ve grown up in a dysfunctional home, there has never been a day when I did not feel anxious. It was only when I entered adulthood and seek out for therapy that I experienced real progress. Thanks to coping mechanisms (for e.g., meditation) and therapy, there are days when I feel very happy than I have never felt earlier. The rest of the days, when I get triggered off due to something out of nowhere, it marks the return of my old friend (anxiety) and it is worse than ever. When this happens, I feel that I’ve wasted money on therapy. However, I also feel that maybe I am trying too hard. Having some anxiety could be normal and may be searching for cure and expecting perfection is eventually resulting in more anxiety for me.”
The most common illness in U.S. is anxiety, which depicts that approximately 40 million of us need help. Forty million of us are looking for ways to enjoy life and to sleep soundly at night without any panic. The most effective tool for anxiety management is cognitive behavioral therapy, but most patients give up on this without having a look at the complete picture – you cannot expect to be 100% free of anxiety.
It’s important for you to try your best to manage your anxiety and work on the triggers that hold you back. However, if you have done all that you can, you can take the final step that many overlook: acceptance. There are days when you get the worst form of anxiety, and days when anxiety may actually be of help to you.
Stacy Kaiser, editor of ‘Live Happy,’ states, “Anxiety can be a positive emotion as it can give you a warning sign that things might not be fine. It can alert you when you have possible dangers or concerns in your life. For example, if you feel anxious when purchasing something during financial crisis or about a new relationship, it is a warning sign that is telling you to be careful, watch out and continue with caution. Anxiety can tell you to investigate the situation thoroughly, take your time before you jump into that situation, and put on the brakes completely if it doesn’t feel right.”
Here is how you can see the difference: If you are feeling anxiety all the time and there is no enjoyment in your life, it is time to seek help. An anxiety management plan and a therapist can bring balance back into your life. If you still experience anxiety, it would be better to be friends with this enemy of yours.
1. Make Use Of Anxiety For Success
For a perfectionist who works really hard, they may have hard-working exteriors, from the inside, workaholics merely are a bunch of nerves. But when you get on terms with your anxiety and are able to tamper its effects on to your life, this can be used as a motivator – it can also help you in meeting your career goals. Ph.D. Jeff Perron, developer of the TruReach app for anxiety and depression and a candidate at Ottawa University, recognizes that anxiety is not all that bad, even for perfectionists amongst us.
“Successful people tend to be perfectionists, but perfectionism is usually driven by anxiety,” he states. “If you know when it is to your advantage to be a perfectionist also when it needs to be toned down, you can enjoy the benefits it offers without draining yourself completely.”
2. Use Anxiety As A Creative Outlet
If you spend sufficient time with your enemy-turned-friend, you will be able to come up with creative ways to keep it in the corner. So far, you might have your own anxiety tricks that you use to calm down when you have reached the maximum limit. For some, that could be writing and running. For Ricky Garvey, a PR professional, it’s forwarding his increased anxiety towards playing electric guitar. By performing, Garvey manages daily stressors, as well as challenges his anxiety as it comes forth. “The biggest source of my anxiety and panic attacks is my brain asking me questions, “What if I get a panic attack at this instant? In front of everyone, on this stage. Being a paid player,” explained by him.
“I usually inform the band (who are my friends as well) if I have this issue so that I don’t feel alone in such a situation. If I am on stage, I use signals to inform the band if I am having an oncoming attack. Whenever this happens, I think of a funny joke, smile or gesture that changes the situation and makes me realize that I am in control. The longer I do this, the quicker I am able to overcome an attack,” states Garvey.
3. Use Anxiety For Growth
This is some news you wouldn’t want to hear: If you don’t challenge yourself to come out of the comfort zone, you won’t go anywhere – fast. The positive side of anxiety is that you are provided with discomfort states Dr. Ben Michaelis, ‘Your Next Big Thing’s’ author and a clinical psychologist. He goes on, “I know this may sound strange, but discomfort is in fact a good thing. Without discomfort, no one will be able to do anything. The key is to find the most favorable level of discomfort. When you connect to that energy, anxiety can work in your favor, not against you.”
Anxiety, amongst other feelings, is a signal that allows you to know yourself. If you ignore anxiety, you ignore self-knowledge! So don’t hold back these feelings, embrace and examine them. Figure out the reason of your anxiousness as the answer might help you in easing the discomfort.
4. Use Anxiety To Accept Yourself
The hardest part of anxiety struggle can be the negative self-talk. When you cannot get past the same obstacle, when you are continually obsessed with that same fear for months, you feel like you are your own nastiest critic. Criticizing your own self makes the anxiety work. Basing on the number of years spent with clients having anxiety, Jessica Heimark, L.M.F.T., gives another solution: commitment and acceptance therapy. Instead of taking anxiety as negative, look for the positive traits in your personality she states.
“My clients perceive themselves as highly productive. Not obsessive and anal, but specific with attention to detail. By not being stuck in such moments, and celebrating them as accomplishments, clients tend to resolve their anxiety as it does not have any control in their life. If you see anxiety as strength, its negative impact weakens, therefore, reducing the frequency and severity of the symptoms,” she explains.
5. Use Anxiety As a Friend
At times, anxiety is pretty simple: it’s a warning that there is something in your life that is not going as planned. It may be hard to get a moment to self-reflect, but it would save you some major heartache. “My anxiety is a judgmental, loud-mouthed friend. Whatever comes in my way, it comes up with opinions. ‘No, do not do that!’ or, ‘Why are you saying that?” Author of ‘Meditation Illuminated: Simple Ways to Manage Your Busy Mind’ Joy Rains, jokes.
Rains states, “Like any other good friend, at times she is right and I am more than happy that I obeyed her since she can help me to avoid making bad decisions. Alternatively, I need to realize that she may not always be right. She gives me a judgment opportunity. There are times when I might have to say, “Thanks a lot for letting out your opinion, I am grateful for it. Now go sit in the corner and remain silent.”