Over 40 million people in the U.S. are living with anxiety disorders today. Being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder can be unnerving. Yet being diagnosed can be your first step in the right direction. Professional basketball player, Royce White, has been vocal about his experience living with anxiety. White encourages people to seek help. In Men’s Journal, White was quoted, “Being able to level with people, being honest about your problem – that is a huge help.”
Anxiety is manageable and does not have to stop you from living a fulfilling life. Practicing acceptance of your feelings of anxiety is an important step in that. Fearing and resisting your anxiety only increases those stressful feelings. Practice owning your feelings by saying, “I’m feeling anxious right now and that’s okay. I can manage this.”
Become intentional about utilizing coping strategies and embrace the importance of taking time to make sure that you are okay. Self-care is essential. Listen to your mind and body to get in tune with when it is telling you that you are in need of some self-care. Try out various anxiety management strategies and note what works, to begin developing a sort of “coping toolkit.” This can help you feel prepared to cope no matter where you are.
One strategy to add to your toolkit: Deep breathing. This can be done anywhere, anytime, and has been proven to increase oxygen in the brain, lower your heart rate and blood pressure, and improve focus.
- Breathe in for 4 seconds
- Hold for 4 seconds
- Breathe out for 4 seconds
- Hold for 4 seconds
- Repeat as needed
Consider activities that allow you to channel or direct your anxious energy into a task. Be mindful and intentional about channeling your energy while engaging in your activity of choice.
- Playing music
- Fidgeting with an object
- Chewing gum
Do you ever feel so anxious throughout the day that it physically and mentally exhausts you? Relaxation strategies can help with this.
- Guided meditation (tip: YouTube has countless options!)
- Warm baths
- Take a walk
- Progressive muscle relaxation
Learning how to manage anxiety is a skill that takes practice, and it is not always easy. If you feel you are struggling to manage on your own, therapy is an excellent resource to help you. Some may also consider taking medication to help with managing symptoms. Talk with your therapist to see if medication would be the right treatment approach for you. And remember, seeking help is not a weakness; utilizing resources that are available to you is a strength. If you need help during this time of uncertainty, reach out to LifeStance Health today.