Anxiety is our friend: it warns us when we need to take action, helps us get out of harm’s way and prepares us for important events.
You may experience anxiety that is persistent, seemingly uncontrollable, and overwhelming. If it’s an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations, it can be disabling. When anxiety interferes with daily activities, you may have an anxiety disorder. The Anxiety and Depression Association has shared some interesting facts about stress and anxiety.
Facts & Statistics
- Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).
- Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.
- Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country’s $148 billion total mental health bill, according to “The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders,” a study commissioned by ADAA (The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,60(7), July 1999).
More than $22.84 billion of those costs are associated with the repeated use of health care services; people with anxiety disorders seek relief for symptoms that mimic physical illnesses.
- People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
- Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
What To Do If You Suffer from Anxiety or Panic Disorder
Whether you experience everyday stress or have an anxiety disorder, you can learn strategies to improve your anxiety. Exercise, get good sleep, eat well balanced meals, learn to relax, and get the help of a good psychotherapist are where to begin.
- Exercise daily for about 30 minutes, either a moderate or intense activity such as jogging, swimming, brisk walking, biking, and strength building. Frequency is what matters the most.
- Establish a consistent time to go to bed, doing relaxing activities an hour before bedtime. Keep it dark and quiet. When you are stressed you require more sleep.
- Think positive. Retire your negative thinking. Each time it begins, think, “Stop!” and find something positive about your day.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine as they can trigger anxiety.
- Laugh as much as you can. Watch comedies and laugh at little things in life.
- Discover what triggers your anxiety. Is it something at work or in your family life? Perhaps it’s something from the past? Write in a journal to look for patterns in your anxiety.
- Accept you cannot control everything. Will it matter 5 years from now? Put things in perspective.
- Do your best. Stop going for perfection. It is not possible.
- BREATHE…Learn to slow your breathing down and breathe into the full capacity of your lungs; stop upper chest breathing. Breathe like you are singing an aria.
- Do breathing exercises. There are lots of good apps and videos on YouTube to help you. Make your exhale much longer than your inhale or hold (4-4-8) (6-6-12) (8-6-18)…
- Do relaxation exercises. Lie down or sit in a comfortable chair. Take 3 deep, full breaths and exhale very slowly. While breathing normal, think and relax each part of your body – from toes up to scalp. Allow yourself to feel your muscle groups relaxing. If you can’t feel them, tighten first, then relax each group.
- Change your lifestyle and learn the discipline of meditation or yoga. Research tells us that meditation and practicing mindfulness is the BIG answer for stressed and anxious people. Also take time out, step back from your problems, have good leisure time, take vacations and short weekend trips, get a massage, take time with your spouse at the end of the day for winding down time, and take better care of yourself.
- Become more mindful and try this meditation by Barbara Frederickson, Ph.D. http://positivityresonance.com/_avideo/Love%202.0%20Meditation%20Loving-Kindness_v2.mp3
- Download my Happiness Kit for additional strategies https://new.drhappiness.com/the-happiness-kit
- Talk to a therapist.
DON’T SIT AT HOME THINKING ABOUT WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN TO YOU AND BEING FILLED WITH FEAR OR STRESS. Love yourself and start taking some good action to improve your life and happiness.
Call me 702-242-4222 or email me if you want to learn some strategies for managing your stress or anxiety.