This post for dealing with anxiety is sponsored by Ray of Hope Counseling Services, but all opinions are my own.
Worrying is a normal part of life and honestly, it can be very beneficial in some situations. For example, worrying about your child or pet when they are sick can be good because it allows you to focus on the situation more intently. This allows you to know when something is getting worse and needs medical attention. Our worries can help us make good decisions in quite a few aspects of our life. However, if you are experiencing worries that are excessive, irrational, and even uncontrollable, you may be suffering from anxiety.
Anxiety is becoming more and more common in our general population. Yet so many people are still terrified to admit to themselves – and to others – that they may be suffering from anxiety. Because of this, many people do not get the help they need.
But, if you feel like your worries (or anxiety) are getting out of control, getting help can benefit you so, so much. As someone who struggles with anxiety herself, I highly recommend seeking help. It can absolutely be life-changing. In the meantime, there are some things you can do at home to try to help ease the anxiety. Here are a few tips for dealing with anxiety that have helped me.
Quick disclaimer: I’m not a medical or psychological professional. I’m just a mom who has lived with anxiety for most of her life, with increasing worries after having children. These are just suggestions that have helped me personally deal with anxiety. If you or someone you know is in danger or is considering suicide, please call 911 immediately.
If you are having trouble dealing with anxiety, breathing can help. And not just any breathing. Taking a meditation class or a workout class that talks about intentional breathing can be a starting place to get your emotions and other symptoms under control. If you are anywhere near Woodstock, GA, there is a workout program called Hustle House that talks a lot about intentional breaths during stretching.
You know how parents close their eyes and take a slow deep breath to avoid exploding when the kids are out of control? It’s like that, but with more focus and purpose. (I’m not the only mom who does that slow breath when the kids dump all the toys out, right?)
Next time you notice that your anxiety starts to engulf you, try taking a few deep, slow breaths. Breathe in for ten and out for eight. Once you get the hang of this, you can try to hold your breath before breathing out. So, 10 seconds in, hold for 5 seconds (this can get longer as you get more skilled at intentional breathing), and then breathe out for 8 (this can also get longer). Envision any negative energy leaving your body through your exhale, blowing it away with your breath.
Now, this may not help everyone all the time, but simply stopping to breathe and really concentrate on your breaths can help restore balance and calm you down, mostly by getting you out of your head.
It is very easy to focus on the physical symptoms of anxiety. When you feel out of control and your heart rate starts increasing or you start shaking, you may feel like those signs and symptoms that point to your anxiety is what is wrong. Instead, try to focus on the root of the problem. What is really wrong, deep down, past the obvious signs and symptoms? What is actually causing your heart to race and your hands to shake?
In order to figure out what is causing your anxiety, you have to explore your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Keeping a journal can be a great way to navigate your feelings. This way you are able to write down all of the things that are bothering you as they arise. Once you figure out what is wrong, deep down, it will be easier to figure out how to get your anxiety under control.
Can You Change Anything?
Life can be unpredictable and scary, but you have to come to terms with the fact that you cannot control everything. In fact, a lot of the time, anxiety stems from something that has not even happened yet. For example, my friend struggled with anxiety about her house catching on fire for the longest time. Anytime she left, she was concerned that her hair straightener was left plugged in, etc.
Of course, you can try to make sure that your items such as a hair straightener and more are unplugged, but at the end of the day, you cannot always control or prevent a fire from happening. You can only try your best to prevent it, so it should not be something that is always present in your mind. While you cannot control what happens, you can control how you deal with the unknown. What can you change in your life to make this easier?
Focus On The Good
It’s easy to focus on the negative situations in our life. I get it. But try your best to focus on the good and the positives. It can completely change your outlook on your overall life (or at least your day!).
One of my therapists (yes, one of them – I’ve had a few!) told me something that has stuck with me. “What you focus on expands.” I had incredible anxiety about my marriage and couldn’t stop dwelling on negative memories. Anxiety over the possibility of infidelity was causing me to not be happy. She told me if my brain continues to focus on the negative things, it will create stronger connections with those thoughts. Almost like exercising a muscle. But if I can tell myself (literally say it to myself out loud), “No, Amanda. That isn’t helping. Remember this good memory and that one.” And then I create a mental image of a happy time with my husband, or visualize a positive memory I want to make. Then my brain strengthens those positive and happy connections, and the negative thoughts weaken.
Take it one situation, or one day at a time and go from there. The more you can focus on the positives, the better. Also, try to surround yourself with people who do the same and bring each other up instead of down. Being around others who exhibit negative energy can really affect your own mental health. Dealing with anxiety is much easier when your environment doesn’t add unnecessary stress.
Talk With Someone | Get Help Dealing With Anxiety
Last but not least, if you try all of these tips (and maybe even more), and you still cannot get your anxiety under control, know that it is completely normal. A lot of the time, it is hard to figure out the underlying cause of your stress and anxiety. It can take an outsider’s view to help you deal with anxiety.
Let me repeat myself: this is completely normal, so please do not feel like you are alone.
Talking with a counselor is beneficial not only for dealing with anxiety, but also can help with family problems, communication issues, and even issues with addictions and abuse. I’ve had great experiences with counselors and therapists over the years. They have given me tools to be able to help manage my stress better than I could on my own.
If you don’t know where to find someone to talk to, do a quick Google search for counselors or therapists in your area. Or even check a local moms’ group on Facebook for recommendations.
For those of you in the northern Atlanta area, I know of a great resource you can check out.
Providing therapy to Lawrenceville, Marietta, Athens, Conyers, Peachtree City, Canton, and more, Ray of Hope Counseling Services might be the place that can help you get your anxiety under control. Ray of Hope Counseling Services has eight locations all over Georgia. They all work together to provide you with the support you need in a safe and confidential environment.
Each therapist at Ray of Hope Counseling Services is licensed and educated, in order to provide an excellent level of care. They also have additional training and/or hold certifications in their specialty area(s). In addition, the staff has diversified professional work backgrounds and experiences, allowing them to treat a wide variety of issues across the lifespan.
A great example of this is the clinical director, Lynn Thompson Umstead. “She is a trained mental health professional, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Masters of Science degree in Clinical Psychology. In addition, she is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a certification as an Imago Relationship Therapist (CIRT). Lynn also holds a certification as an Anger Management Specialist (CAMS). She is registered by the state of GA as a Civil and Divorce Mediator. Lynn is a National Certified Counselor and is a member of the Licensed Professional Counselor’s Association of Georgia. She has had experience in a wide variety of settings when working with individuals, couples, and families.”
Please know that you are not alone if you are dealing with anxiety. It is so common and all it takes it getting a bit of help! Feel free to comment here, email me, or reach out on social media if you need to talk or want help finding a counseling location in your area.