Amber Tucker, LMFT
4 Ways to Manage Anxiety
Racing thoughts. Short fuse. Heart beating faster. Sound familiar? Symptoms of anxiety are something that you or someone you love may know well. These anxious symptoms commonly present before taking a test, dealing with a problem at work, or when faced with a challenge in your relationship. Here are some ways to manage anxiety.
Challenge distorted thoughts.
Cognitive distortions are thoughts that we believe to be reality, but they are actually based on our perception. I equate this to wearing glasses with smudges on them; the world may look fuzzy when I wear them, but that’s only because of the lens I am looking through. These distortions almost always lead to increased anxiety or depression if not challenged regularly. Some common thought distortions are: catastrophizing; polarized thinking; jumping to conclusions; and “should” statements, to name a few. Learn more about what kind of distortions you may be struggling with (and we all do), and give yourself the opportunity to challenge their validity.
Practice healthy self-care.
According to PsychCentral, "Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health." Self-care has been linked to decreased mental health issues and more satisfying romantic relationships. I’ve heard many clients say, “I feel selfish” when practicing self-care. But taking care of ourselves is about knowing what we need so we can continue to care for others and have healthy relationships. If you want to read more about types of self-care, read my previous post here.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that around 20 percent of individuals suffering from an anxiety or mood disorder also battle a substance use disorder, and vice versa. Substance abuse may lead to heightened anxiety and depressive symptoms, it’s like pouring fuel on the fire. Substances have a way of numbing emotions while intoxicated, however once sober, the feelings and problems are still waiting to be addressed. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a cocktail, however make sure you are taking time to care for yourself emotionally and physically as well.
Work with a therapist.
Ultimately, a skilled therapist can support you in learning and practicing new coping skills to manage your anxiety. You can learn ways to challenge distorted thoughts like the ones mentioned above, and clean the smudges on your lens. In addition, processing our feelings with another person can provide a sense of clarity and allow us to move forward. If you want to read more about if you can benefit from therapy, read my previous post here.
If you are struggling with anxiety, consider seeking professional help to assist you in decreasing these anxious symptoms. There is a difference in experiencing anxiety and having an anxiety disorder, only a mental health professional or physician can provide a diagnosis after evaluation. If you want to learn more, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-505-4526 for a free phone consultation.