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01/03/2018
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02/26/2018

Tips & Skills to Manage Anxiety

What is anxiety? 
 
Anxiety may be described as an emotion of nervousness, excessive worry, and often present with irrational fears. If unmanaged, anxiety can cause anxiety or panic attacks, where a person may feel symptoms including: overwhelming anxiety, shortness of breath, sweating, accelerated heart-rate, etc. 
 
What causes anxiety? 
 
Many factors can cause anxiety. Anxiety may be present with or without a “trigger,” or a precipitated event or incident that contributes to the change in a person’s emotional and mental state. Examples of triggers are: work or school stressors, relationship problems, death or loss of a loved one, history of physical abuse, history of sexual abuse, and other life changes or previous traumatic events. 
 
How do I manage my anxiety? 
 
Below are some tips and skills to manage anxiety in an effective, empowering way. 
 
  • Self-care: This is one of my most important and favorite techniques to minimizing anxieties, which also benefits other mental health needs. Who loves having a good reason to slow it down, do a D.I.Y. project, read a book, take a bubble bath, play with your pet, or get yourself a nice cup of coffee once in a while? I know I do! Self-care is about giving yourself some quality “me time,” often while doing something positive and healthy. Slowing it down and investing in yourself can cause a ripple effect of positivity in your mind. Take some time for yourself, because you deserve it!
  • Journaling: Writing out your thoughts can clarify your concerns and give you a sense of relief. Writing can be therapeutic, even if it is only a few sentences a day. Does writing not necessarily make you feel at ease? A journal with pre-written prompts may inspire you. See below for a link of an inexpensive journal with writing prompts.
  • Sleep: Getting a good night of rest can directly affect your energy level, mood, and irritability. Improving the quality of your sleep can reduce feelings of anxiety.
  • Verbally Process: Whether it is with your spouse or partner, therapist, or trusting family member or friend, verbally processing your concerns may help organize your thoughts aloud. When you achieve clarity of thought processes, you may find it easier to create an action-plan or solution that will help defeat your anxiety. Often times, simply having an action-plan can alleviate anxieties.
  • Exercise: We know that physical activity can boost your mood and help minimize feelings of stress and anxiety. Walk your dog, do a workout video from the comfort of your home, or go to your nearby gym. Be mindful of any health concerns and talk to your doctor if you are unsure of your physical limits.
  • Breathing & Gratitude: Take 5 deep breaths, each time by inhaling slowly, holding your breath for 3-5 seconds, and exhaling slowly. Creating a list of aspects you are grateful for in your life can put today’s current worries into perspective. Although being present and in the moment is very important, looking at the “big picture” may change the lens you look through.
  • Listen: Listen to your body and evaluate your emotional needs. If staying in for the night is what you need, kindly tell your friends or family that you have to take some time to yourself. Don’t be afraid to say, “no,” to plans. I find that many clients of mine often over-extend themselves for fear of hurting others’ feelings, but feel so relieved, and less anxious, when they take the time that they need to invest in themselves.

Journal: https://www.amazon.com/Start-Where-You-Are-Self-Exploration/dp/0399174826/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516047688&sr=8-1&keywords=journal+writing+prompts

For those who struggle with feelings of anxiety, it can feel paralyzing at times. The truth is that you can manage your anxiety in a healthy, effective way. These tips and skills may also benefit your overall mood, which will improve your overall quality of life. Be gentle with yourself, understand your needs, and take time to invest in yourself. You are well worth it!
Feel free to contact Kelsey directly at kromanoff@napervillecounseling.com if you have any questions!
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