How To Live With Anxiety
Anxiety is characterized by intense feelings of unease, worry, and/or fear about an imminent threat, often referred to as an “impending doom.” Oftentimes these include catastrophic thinking, obsessive thoughts and rumination about ourselves and the world, feeling as if we’re losing control, and panic attacks. Anxiety is a psychological response that every person experiences at some point in their life. However, we’re not always aware that what we’re feeling is anxiety because when we feel anxious more often than not it becomes our norm.
Below are some tips that can help you reduce the intensity of your anxiety and help you feel more at ease daily.
1. Seek psychotherapy - With anxiety we often get stuck in our own heads and feeling as if we’re all alone. Speaking to a professional will not only help normalize and validate your
feelings but give you a safe place to explore them.
The most effective psychotherapies for anxiety are behavioral therapies such as, CBT, DBT, ERP, and ACT.
2. Medication - Psychotropic medication is proven to be most effective when taken with other treatments such as psychotherapy (e.g., DBT, CBT, ACT, Psychoanalysis, etc.).
When psychotherapy and using coping skills are only being minimally helpful, and your
anxiety is still affecting your daily life, it can be helpful to speak with a medical professional about psychotropic medication.
3. Reduce/avoid mood and mind-altering substances - Mood/Mind-altering substances include alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, taking medications not prescribed to you, and illegal drugs. In other words, any substance that may alter the way you think and feel.
4. Identify triggers - Triggers are people, places, and things that activate your anxiety.
Sometimes, these triggers can be obvious such as people, places, caffeine or alcohol
consumption, and more. Other times our triggers are not as easy to identify, such as work stressors, finances, trauma, fears, chronic illnesses, and more. One way to identify triggers is to talk with a licensed therapist, friends and/or family to process what you were thinking and feeling when you were anxious. If you’re not comfortable sharing that you're struggling with anxiety, journaling about the anxious events may help you begin to identify the triggers in your life.
5. Prioritize sleep - Sleep is crucial to maintain overall good mental and physical health. When you lack sleep you become vulnerable to everyday life stressors. Getting a balanced sleep every night will improve your overall well-being and reduce your anxiety. You can prioritize sleep by engaging in sleep hygiene techniques.