Conquering Anxiety

     So many people suffer in silence with anxiety, for a variety of reasons. Some people may not realize they need help, since struggling has been so normalized in our society (in fact, most people may feel something is wrong if someone isn't struggling with something, in some way). Today's climate of constant change and uncertainty has not made things easier, especially for those who were already dealing with mental illness.

        Both anxiety and depression can be side-effects of being too stressed. Emotional intelligence also has a lot to do with how well we handle stress and how resilient we are. Being emotionally aware and able to name our emotions can help us assess where we are, and what we need to do to successfully manage our situation (allowing us to respond instead of to react).

How do you know if what you are feeling is anxiety?

Causes and signs of anxiety can be:

  • •  Giving up easily- not trying to make a difference
  • •  Social withdrawal
  • •  Passivity
  • •  Decreased effectiveness at work
  • •  Decreased problem-solving ability
  • •   Procrastination
  • •   Easily Frustrated
  • •   Low self-esteem

Working Through Anxiety

How you would rate yourself on the following statements? (on a scale of 1 -10):

  1. When someone disagrees with me, I listen to his or her point of view (Tip: If the answer is no or rarely, always start a disagreement with “What do you think?” and don’t share your point of view until you understand theirs.)
  2. When I am upset, I find ways to communicate my needs.
  3. I assess my options, choosing the best alternative under pressure.
  4. I control any impulses to act too hastily when I’m under pressure.
  5. I cope with stress in a positive way, examining possibilities.
  6. I am flexible in the face of changes at home and at work.

 When You’re Feeling Stressed

        If you rated yourself low on the above questions, it will be useful to learn to become more aware of how you react to stress. Ask yourself these additional questions:

  • How does stress affect you physically?   
  • How does stress affect you psychologically or emotionally?
  • How have you learned to de-tress?

Strategies for Managing Anxiety

  Here are a few suggestions of things you can do when you hit difficult points in your journey:

  • Ask for help
  • Know the signs of a problem
  • Identify your triggers
  • Avoid being pulled into others’ drama
  • Use to-do lists to help manage your day
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Avoid taking on too much
  • Drink water and eat healthy
  • Encourage honest conversations
  • When issues arise, focus on the facts- not just the emotion

        Managing anxiety doesn’t have to be complicated- but it will take time. Be sure to show yourself compassion as you work through your anxiety, as you may face setbacks in your progress. This is part of the process, and doesn’t mean you are not doing the right thing. Try the suggestions above when you face challenges, and always remember that slow progress is better than no progress.


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