Worrying about everyday topics such as family, money, and health is normal. What happens if someone in the family becomes gravely ill or your own health becomes compromised? Do economic insecurities keep you up all night while you stare at the ceiling fan? How about worrying if the dentist will find a cavity? If you have enough phone battery to make it through an event? Ever leave the house and wonder if you shut the stove off?
To someone suffering from excessive anxiety, these can feel like impending doom. All are valid concerns and can be categorized as “life is in session” moments. Anxiety that may be trivial to one person may render someone else useless or paralyzed in their tracks.
No matter how relaxed, chill, or zen you are, there will be times when the feeling of a hammer dropping washes over us with overwhelmingness. Research shows that about 95% of the things we worry about never really happen. So let us concentrate on that other 5%. Of that 5%, how much of it is life or death? Another way to look at it is, in one year from now, how much will it have mattered? Now we’re at maybe 3%.
Studies have proven that those who worry excessively are less effective in their daily lives than those who worry less. Excessive worriers tend to feel useless in their thinking or lose all of their motivation, becoming paralyzed when it comes to daily activities and less content with life. This can lead to developing anxiety or depression.
Anxiety and panic attacks can have a physical response on your body—the fight or flight response. Take a deep breath and do your best to get back to the present moment. Worry protects us from the “F” word—fear. All the while, worry, anxiety, and fear lead us to the feeling of impending doom about things that may never happen. Here is what to look for when your system goes into overdrive:
While it may be normal to have basic, everyday concerns, some suffer from a type of anxiety disorder called generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD can transition everyday life and menial tasks into a constant state of worry, fear, and doom and gloom. Luckily, it's treatable.
GAD can be managed with treatment, therapy, or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a research-supported type of psychotherapy with outstanding results used in treating GAD. CBT teaches you different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations that help you feel less anxious and worried. CBT is the benchmark for psychotherapy in treating GAD.
Should worry become anxiety and anxiety become paralyzing panic, here are a few simple methods that can help.
Anxiety sets in when we future-trip. Stay in the present with meditation, which is simple but intense concentration. Take your time, don't rush, and stay present while doing mundane tasks, such as brushing your teeth or doing the dishes. If you need more guidance, there are a ton of free meditation apps to explore.
Close your eyes. Inhale through your nose. Then hold a word (like serenity) in your heart, exhale and repeat a few times. This is scientifically proven to ground you to the present. Again, there are many apps available to help you when it comes to deep breathing.
Practice being grateful every day. In the morning, set an intention, like, “To live in the present.” Then list 3-4 things you are grateful for. Try and avoid repeating the same gratitudes every day. Mix them up. After all, no two days are alike. Research proves that gratitude increases optimism while reducing anxiety and depression.
You don't have to be a great writer to journal; no one expects you to craft an epic novel. Just write down things about your day, your emotions, your feelings, anything. Doing this every day can lighten your anxiety load. Journaling is also a great place to store your daily gratitude list to see progress, changes, and consistency.
Imagine an invisible hula hoop around your waist. Now concentrate on the fact that you can only control what is inside your hula hoop. Acceptance and letting go are difficult but essential when finding your purpose. Finding, or at least looking for your purpose, gives you something to focus on besides stress.
Go easy on yourself and forgive yourself for anything that haunts you in your past. Self-compassion means being loving, gentle, kind, and understanding with yourself. We can be our worst and most painful inner critics. If that's the case, at least say nice things about yourself. It's all good.
Unless you get professional help, excessive anxiety as a mental illness will not go away by itself magically, but it also doesn't have to be permanent. Some therapists specialize in anxiety and anxiety disorders. There are treatment centers, medication, and so on. Trust the process and be a patient patient.
Lastly, surround yourself with good and optimistic friends. While we all have to live with everyday stressors, we can push away anything that may add fuel to the anxiety fire. Don't create what may not exist. Create your own peace one day at a time. When you do, you will live a better, happier, and stress-free life.
Anxiety disorders are incredibly common among teens and adults in the United States. Anxiety can be distressing and cause people unnecessary worry throughout their days and lives. The good news is that anxiety is treatable, and you can live a life with more ease. You can find help, assistance, support, treatment, and hope at California Care Detox & Treatment, where every month is mental awareness month. California Care offers treatment for anxiety disorders and other mental health issues in conjunction with substance use disorder. We understand that anxiety disorders develop from complex risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. We pride ourselves on professionalism and a curated, unbeatable medical and clinical staff. We provide the best care through listening, integrity, education, hope, and a holistic approach to treat anxiety disorders. To learn more, call (949) 281-0632 to receive the best treatment.