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Chronic Illness Or Clinical Anxiety?: How To Address Your Anxiety Symptoms

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984791_69376972In Part One and Part Two of this article, we discussed how anxiety can mask as physical illness and the different forms in which it shows up.

In Part Three, this final installment, we will discuss ways to attempt to control your anxiety symptoms on your own, and follow-up with suggestions for those who try and feel that they cannot.

Once you identify that you are dealing with anxiety, be it from a current situation you are going through or a chronic problem, there are several ways that you can deal with the symptoms you’re feeling.

There are three major ways a person can try to address and control anxiety on their own. We have detailed these below with hopes of coming up with new and effective ways to get you feeling better:

Relaxation Techniques
One of the most important things a person can do when dealing with chronic anxiety is to learn to identify when an anxiety attack is about to occur.

For most people, anxiety becomes a routine. For some this can begin with rapid breathing and an increased heart rate. For others it may be the experience of panic. The sooner a person can identify when they are beginning to experience these types of stress, the quicker they can learn to act to reduce the physical symptoms.

Next time you begin to experience anxiety, try any of the following things. You may need to try more than one, and try each one more than a few times in order to master them. However, once they learn to use one or more of these techniques appropriately, many people experience better physical health and reduced stress.

Deep Breathing
The first technique you can try involves breathing deeply. Breathe in slowly through the nose while counting to ten, then hold your breath for a few seconds. Next, exhale slowly through the mouth. Not only does this reduce the shortness of breath associated with anxiety, but this can also help with heart rate, racing thoughts and dizziness. Repeat these controlled, deep breaths for as long as needed, giving yourself some time out.

Visualization Exercises
Another technique that can be used alone or in conjunction with deep breathing is called “visualization”. People use this technique in a variety of ways. Many will imagine themselves on vacation, in their favorite place or in nature. It can also help to imagine the situation making you anxious with its best outcome. Visualize success, imagining how you and others would behave in the situation to lead to the ideal outcome.

Yoga and Meditation
People experiencing frequent anxiety also have great success practicing yoga or meditation. Meditating and exercising regularly can help gain control over your thoughts, improve physical health and make relaxing a habit rather than a rare occurrence in your life.

Changes to Your Daily Routine
In addition to trying these relaxation techniques, people experiencing symptoms of anxiety typically find that they have one or more habits in their daily routine negatively impacting the way they feel. Areas of concern may include diet, physical habits and sleep habits.

When it comes to diet, there are some very common contributors to symptoms of anxiety. One of the highest and most common would be a high level of caffeine intake. Reducing the amount of soda, coffee, energy drinks and even highly caffeinated teas can greatly reduce anxiety. This goes for a diet high in sugar as well. Just as you wouldn’t give a toddler a lot of sugar, fearful that he might act up, many adult bodies react to sugar the same way.

Changing physical habits can also greatly reduce symptoms of anxiety. Are you a couch potato? Keeping active not only distracts the mind from thoughts that can lead to worry our panic, but it teaches the body to better control heart rate and breathing.

Also, monitor your physical presence when you believe you may be experiencing anxiety. Do you have a leg that bounces up and down? Do you tap your fingers or pace the floor? Recognizing these habits and changing your behavior to be more restful can greatly reduce anxiety, as well.

Finally, take a look at your sleep habits. Do you find yourself enjoying the Late Late Show most weeknights before work? Do you still feel tired and hit the snooze button several times before fully waking up?

Most people require at least eight hours of sleep per night to remain healthy and function at their highest level. Getting more rest and changing your schedule to be more leisurely rather than rushing in the morning can also help you feel much better.

Addressing Situational Stressors
As we mentioned in the previous articles, anxiety can also stem from stress at work or at home.

If you find that you are chronically upset about going to work, be it because of conflict with the coworker or a workload that feels overwhelming, it’s definitely time that this gets addressed.

Although confronting an issue with a coworker or your boss can feel as though it brings on an anxiety of its own, having a mature conversation to address something that is upsetting you day in and day out can be of great benefit. The same goes for situations at home: no one wants to live in a constant state of upset and, given some careful planning and thoughtful conversation, many of the issues that we feel are permanent or unchangeable can often be worked out.

What now?
If, after trying the suggestions above, you find that you still have questions or difficulty managing your symptoms of anxiety, there is hope. We have several therapists here at Stenzel Clinical Services that specialize in symptoms of anxiety and will be happy to help answer any questions you have. We would also love to act as a second opinion for you, if you’ve been recommended anxiety medication, or come up with a personalized plan to deal with your anxiety symptoms. Contact us by clicking here, and we’ll get started right away.

We wish you good mental health and hope you find this series of articles has helped you get on the road to feeling better.