First and foremost, it is important to understand that is it completely normal to experience occasional anxiety. From public speaking to test-taking, we all have different things that make us worry and anxious. Anxiety becomes an issue when it begins to interfere with your daily life in an excessive and irrational way.
Generalized Anxiety is a real disorder just like any physical one and it is very common in the United States. Typically, those dealing with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) experience persistent, excessive, and what seems like uncontrollable anxiety. The important question to ask is: “Is my anxiety interfering with daily activities?” Anxiety is treatable and there are certain exercises that can help you manage your anxiety or reduce some of its symptoms. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Tip #1: Breathing Exercises
One way to cope with anxiety is by doing some mindfulness exercises. Mindful breathing is one that has shown positive results. When you begin experiencing anxious feelings or thoughts, take a moment to find a calm place where you can sit. Close your eyes and take deep, long breaths – focusing on the breath. Whenever you feel your mind begin to wander or a thought rushes in, return to the breath. You can even do this when you’re not feeling anxious. It can be done at any time, after waking up, before going to bed, or even on the subway. Although this may seem simple, it can often be a challenging exercise, but with practice can be a very rewarding experience. Many therapists utilize this technique and even have training in mindfulness-based therapy (which includes more than breathing).
Tip #2: Break the Cycle
Anxiety is often a result of a maladaptive pattern of behaviors or thoughts. Often people describe that once they begin feeling anxious, it is a downward spiral from there. Breaking this cycle is one way to prevent anxiety from becoming worse. Taking a walk and getting some air, doing a breathing exercise, or working out at the gym are a few ways to destress and break the cycle.
Tip #3: Psychotherapy and Medication
These have shown to have a significant, positive impact on anxiety. Although psychotherapy alone can often reduce anxiety, the combination of psychotherapy and medication (usually prescribed by a psychiatrist) helps many of those suffering from anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one type of therapy that is frequently used to treat anxiety, which is a relatively short-term therapy. If you feel that therapy is not enough, consider talking to your therapist about the possibility of medication. Psychotherapists often have referrals to local psychiatrists, which can take some of the burden off of the client to find a psychiatrist on their own.
Are you seeking ways to manage your anxiety?
Lucas Saiter is a Mental Health Counselor in New York City. He specializes in providing therapy to those struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and more. He works in an office located near Flatiron, West Village, NoMad, Chelsea, and Union Square. If you are looking for a therapist that specializes in anxiety, contact him today for a complimentary phone consultation.