Anxiety is the most common mental health issue in the U.S. Over 40 million Americans report struggling with anxiety. Who knows what the unreported numbers are? Long story short: You are not alone and anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of. Life is stressful — especially lately. So, it helps immensely if you can accept what you are feeling and do the work to address it.
“Anxiety” is a general term for a collection of disorders. In one way or another, these disorders will manifest in excessive fear and worry. To follow, we’ll review some anxiety basics before discussing ways to manage anxiety in 2023.
The 4 Most Common Forms of Anxiety
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: As the name implies, this is an overall, pervasive sense of worry
- Social Anxiety Disorder: Social interactions of almost any kind inspire fear and dread
- Panic Disorder: Sudden episodes of intense terror
- Phobias: An extreme fear related to a place, event, or object
No matter what disorder you struggle with, rest assured it can be addressed and managed.
How to Manage Your Anxiety in the New Year
Self-care brings out the best in you. It also reminds you — every day — that you are worth the effort. There are several important elements to consider:
- Healthy eating choices: Avoid snacking on junk food. Don’t skip meals. Learn how to create well-balanced meals. Limit or avoid substances that can escalate anxiety or panic, like caffeine and alcohol.
- Maintain regular sleep patterns: Getting to bed and waking up at the same each day is a great way to fortify yourself against stress.
- Daily exercise and physical activity: This is crucial for your mental and physical well-being.
Practice Mindfulness and Other Relaxation Techniques to Help with Anxiety Symptoms
Another way to practice self-care and anxiety management is to learn how to relax and sit with anxiety. Some suggestions are:
- Yoga or Tai Chi
- Mellow music
- Breathing exercises
- Getting out into nature
Set Realistic Goals for Managing Anxiety
Make it your priority to do your best. Perfectionism and/or competition can aggravate anxiety or trigger panic attacks. A big part of this mindset is acceptance. Remind yourself what you can and cannot control.
Stay aware of negative thought patterns. Actively work to balance them or replace them with positive energy. Keeping a journal is helpful in this quest as it will reveal patterns and triggers. Seek out fun, humor, and silliness in your life.
Help Others to Help Calm Your Anxiety
Getting involved in your community and in acts of kindness is a powerful defense against the onslaught of anxiety and generally helps support your mental health. You can become far more focused on the problems of others. It gives you a break while offering support to those in need. An added benefit of helping others is how it creates a support network for everyone involved. The Resource Pantry in Worthington, Ohio and Meals on Wheels in Columbus, Ohio are always looking for volunteers to help.
Educate Yourself on Anxiety
Do some research. Learn more about anxiety in general. Educate yourself on your particular anxiety disorder. As you become more familiar with the details, it can be far easier to recognize what does and doesn’t work when it comes to soothing yourself.
Create a Support System to Help You Manage Your Anxiety
Let the people in your life know you’re struggling and why. Make it clear that you would appreciate their help and support. This interpersonal communication, in and of itself, is a counterbalance to the relentless symptoms of anxiety.
Therapist Columbus Ohio
Less than 40 percent of people with anxiety ever seek treatment. Then you have all those who do not even know what to call their intense feelings of stress, worry, fear, and panic. Give yourself the gift of reaching out for professional guidance. Anxiety is challenging but again, it can definitely be managed. You do not have to suffer indefinitely or alone. Contact Blue Boat Counseling to schedule an appointment with one of our Columbus therapists. Find out how anxiety therapy can work for you — we’re here to help.