Anxiety is the body’s natural response to danger, an automatic alarm that goes off when you feel threatened, under pressure, or are facing a stressful situation.
Emotional symptoms of anxiety
In addition to the primary symptoms of irrational and excessive fear and worry, other common emotional symptoms of anxiety include:
◾Feelings of apprehension or dread
◾ Trouble concentrating
◾ Feeling tense and jumpy
◾ Anticipating the worst
◾ Watching for signs of danger
◾ Feeling like your mind’s gone blank
Common physical symptoms of anxiety include:
◾ Stomach upset or dizziness
◾ Frequent urination or diarrhea
◾ Shortness of breath
◾ Tremors and twitches
◾ Muscle tension
Symptoms of anxiety attacks include:
◾Surge of overwhelming panic
◾Feeling of losing control or going crazy
◾Feeling like you’re going to pass out
◾Hot flashes or chills
◾Feeling detached or unreal
generalized anxiety disorder,
panic disorder (anxiety attacks),
post-traumatic stress disorder,
and social anxiety disorder.
Challenge negative thoughts
◾Write down your worries. Keep a pad and pencil on you, or type on a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. When you experience anxiety, write down your worries. Writing down is harder work than simply thinking them, so your negative thoughts are likely to disappear sooner.
◾Create an anxiety worry period. Choose one or ...two 10 minute “worry periods” each day, time you can devote to anxiety. During your worry period, focus only on negative, anxious thoughts without trying to correct them. The rest of the day, however, is to be designated free of anxiety. When anxious thoughts come into your head during the day, write them down and “postpone” them to your worry period.
◾Accept uncertainty. Unfortunately, worrying about all the things that could go wrong doesn’t make life any more predictable—it only keeps you from enjoying the good things happening in the present. Learn to accept uncertainty and not require immediate solutions to life’s problems.
Self-help for anxiety attacks and anxiety disorders #2:
Take care of yourself
◾Practice relaxation techniques. When practiced regularly, relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing can reduce anxiety symptoms and increase feelings of relaxation and emotional well-being.
◾Adopt healthy eating habits. Start the day right with breakfast, and continue with frequent small meals throughout the day. Going too long without eating leads to low blood sugar, which can make you feel more anxious.
◾Reduce alcohol and nicotine. They lead to more anxiety, not less.
◾Exercise regularly. Exercise is a natural stress buster and anxiety reliever. To achieve the maximum benefit, aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days.
◾Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can exacerbate anxious thoughts and feelings, so try to get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep a night.
It's important to realize that while anxiety is not a physical condition, it's also not something that can be cured through logic or reasoning. Like a disease, anxiety is something that needs special treatment.
It's much more complex, much less controllable, and something that can force changes on you that make it harder to cure.
DO'S AN...D DON'TS
DO let this person know that they can talk to you about it openly, without any fear of judgment.
DO spend time with them as much as possible.
DO tell them to call you anytime, anywhere.
DO be forgiving.
DO exciting activities. Try to be outdoors.
DO be proud of them when they improve.
DO be yourself.
DON'T get frustrated.
DON'T bring up the anxiety often.
DON'T let anxiety affect you as well.
DON'T expect massive, immediate turnarounds.
DON'T guilt trip.
DON'T give up hope.
Be predictable and reliable. If you say that you'll be somewhere at a certain time, make sure that you are.
•Let the person you care for set the pace of their recovery. Don’t push them to do too much too soon, but encourage them to keep moving forwards.
•Try to get the person you care for to remain positive throughout the recovery process. Encourage and praise them, and don't focus on the things they can’t do.
Knowledge - Learn as much as you can about anxiety and its symptoms, causes and treatments.
Criticism - Fair criticism directed at specific behaviors may actually work better than unconditional acceptance.
Accommodating. In fact, too much acceptance can often inadvertently lead to a poorer prognosis through accommodating behaviors and reassurance. I...t is not too late to make a change and set some limits.
Limit setting. This is a simple concept but surprisingly hard to implement because setting limits requires patience, strength and consistency. It doesn’t hurt to have a supportive, alternative statement prepared for when tough situations come up—something along the lines of “I love you, so I refuse to participate in this behavior because we know it is harmful to you in the long-run.”
Coaching. If your relationship is a good one and you feel you can manage it, work with your loved one to coach them in their battle with anxiety.
Contracting. Clearly outlining--in writing--the goals and the plan to reach them can help to organize and commit to the purpose. This would ideally include vows on both sides—what each of you will do to improve the situation.
Self-care. Perhaps the most important point, remember to take care of you.