We all know the feeling- your stomach tightens, you feel sick, your hands start to shake, and your thoughts are racing. Anxiety is far from a rare human occurrence. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in the United States, with nearly 20% of adults experiencing it within the last year. And this doesn’t include the multitude of day-to-day, anxiety-inducing events that come up in everyone’s lives.
If you think you or a loved one suffers from an anxiety disorder such as OCD, PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or a phobia, check out our resource pages to learn more about the specific symptoms of each. If you are here because you feel overwhelmed, burnt out, exhausted, jittery, stressed, and, well, anxious, don’t worry.
Anxiety is not pleasant, but it is highly treatable. With the right mix of medication, therapy, and at-home resources, you can learn how to curb your anxiety and regain that unbridled joy for life.
What is Anxiety?
At its root, anxiety is excessive worry about everyday things. This can take many forms. For example:
- You got in a car accident last year and now obsessively worry over left-hand turns. As a result, you no longer take left-hand turns in order to prevent that feeling of intense worry.
- You don’t go to any social functions and have started skipping class for fear of what others might think of you.
- A deadline approaches and you worry about it to the point of making yourself sick and missing other obligations to meet the deadline.
- You worry about being late, about what you’re wearing, about the strange bump behind your dog’s ear- wherever you go, worry seems to follow you. Rationally, you know none of it is a big deal, but you can’t seem to stop the worry.
Above were examples of different types of anxiety disorders. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and Generalized Anxiety. These examples are only the tip of the iceberg. And while every anxiety disorder will have a set of unique symptoms, they all share a similar base set of symptoms:
- Excessive worry or stress
- Rumination (the same thoughts circling or spiraling over and over without being rationalized)
- Exhausted or burnout
- Feeling shaky or jittery
- Feeling sick; stomach or gastrointestinal issues
- Unable to sleep
- Unable to participate in desired life activities, or not able to enjoy activities due to worry/ obsessive thoughts
Professional Resources for Anxiety
Depending on how severe your anxiety is, you’ll need to take a different approach. For some people, life becomes nearly impossible to live. If this is you, there is hope. There is research-backed medication and therapeutic options that offer high rates of recovery for every anxiety disorder.
Even if you don’t think you have an anxiety disorder, but still struggle with anxiety, these options can be a great way to learn how to regulate your anxiety and get back to a healthy, happy life:
- Counseling– can come in the form of group therapy, individual therapy, virtual therapy, or face-to-face. Some clients find meditation or holistic therapy helps. Others enjoy an interpersonal approach and some a Cognitive Behavioral approach. To learn more about the different types of therapy check out our resource bank.
- Medication– While medication isn’t necessary for everyone, for people living with moderate to severe anxiety, medication can help the body slow down enough to allow therapeutic techniques to work. Ravia Mind has a specialist who can diagnose and prescribe medication. Reach out for a free consultation today!
How to Cope At Home
Many people with anxiety struggle with the in-between. What do I do in between therapy sessions, in between medication changes, or while I wait for improvements? (Most people see reduced anxiety symptoms within 4-6 weeks of starting medication or therapy.)
For those moments when your heart is racing and thoughts spiraling, but you don’t have a professional counselor on speed dial, here are some fast and easy coping techniques:
- Box Breathing– A breathing technique for when you feel your heartbeat or breathing rising. Breathe in for 4 seconds. Hold for 4 seconds. Breath out for 4 seconds. Hold for 4 seconds. Repeat until you feel your heartbeat slowing.
- 5-4-3-2-1 Technique– A grounding technique for when you feel your thoughts racing. Say out loud, notice, or write down 5 things you see. Now do the same for 4 things you can feel (your socks, the chair you’re sitting on, the breeze or sun). Then, 3 things you can hear. Two things you can smell, and One thing you can taste.
- Call a friend – sometimes verbalizing what we’re thinking helps us rationalize and calm ourselves down.
- Write it out – similar to calling a friend, getting your thoughts and emotions out into the world makes them seem a whole less scary.
- Go for a walk – try to notice your surroundings. Is the sidewalk bumpy or smooth? Or, is there wind? Is it warm or cold? How many birds have you seen?
- Relax your body- Shoulders back, unclench your jaw, take your tongue off the roof of your mouth, and breathe. Just breath. You’ve gotten through this before. You will get through it again.
For more information, or to schedule a free 15-minute consultation, call us at (212)-203-1773. Or browse our list of specialists to find the right fit for you.