Anxiety is a normal reaction to stressful situations. However, as an LDS counselor, I’ve seen how it can become excessive and can cause sufferers to dread everyday situations.
This steady, all-over anxiety is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Other anxiety-related disorders include panic attacks—severe episodes of anxiety which happen in response to specific triggers—and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is marked by persistent intrusive thoughts or compulsions to carry out specific behaviors (such as hand-washing).
Anxiety so frequently co-occurs with depression that the two are thought to be twin faces of one disorder. Like depression, it strikes twice as many females as males.
Generally, anxiety arises first, often during childhood. Evidence suggests that both biology and environment can contribute to the disorder. Early traumatic experiences can reset the body’s normal fear-processing system so that it is hyper-reactive to stress.
The exaggerated worries and expectations of negative outcomes are often accompanied by physical symptoms. These include muscle tension, headaches, stomach cramps, and frequent urination.
How to work with your anxiety
1) Follow the “what if” to the consequences. Ask yourself “If what I’m worried about happened, then what? For example, if the worry is “What if this date doesn’t go well? It would be horrible!” Then what? “Then I’d end up alone.” Then what? “Then I’d be alone forever. And die unhappy and unloved.” When you take the worry to the final consequence, it seems unlikely
2) Combine #1 with problem-solving. Many times this makes the worry seem less troublesome because you as find a solution to your “what if” you may realize you have some resources to cope with the situation if the worst occurred.
3) Schedule a worry time. Many worriers have trouble controlling their worries. Once they start, they can’t stop. Instead, schedule a time to worry and postpone worrying until that scheduled time. But, it is easier for worriers to remove the worry from their mind temporarily if they know that they have a set time to worry later.
4) Engage in relaxing activities, such as breathing slowly, doing yoga, stretching, meditating, or even going for a walk. This helps to reduce your baseline anxiety, the level of anxiety that you have on a daily basis, which helps to reduce your worriers.
5) Know that usually what you worry about doesn’t happen. Embrace the idea that sometimes bad things happen, but when they do, you find ways to cope with them.
Stop anxiety in its tracks by contacting the best LDS counselor, Jody VanDrimmelen at 972-426-9500. At Insight Child and Family Counseling we know how to help you work with your anxiety. Visit us online at www.j9n.83e.myftpupload.com for more information and free resources.