question: I am experiencing what my wife believes is anxiety when commuting in traffic to Boston. Any suggestions for dealing with this kind of stress?
answer: Many of us struggle with occasional feelings of anxiety. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, people with anxiety disorders frequently experience excessive anxiety in situations that are familiar to many of us, such as fear, fear, and panic. These impair quality of life and may even prevent people from continuing to work, attend school, or engage in activities that were once enjoyable. Anxiety is prevalent in our society, especially in the aftermath of his COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly one-third of adults will experience a diagnosable anxiety disorder during their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Symptoms of anxiety disorders include:
Feeling tense or helpless
A sense of panic, danger, or doom
rapid heart rate
Obsessive thoughts about what causes these symptoms.
Such fears are usually out of proportion to the actual danger. People with anxiety disorders may avoid places and situations. Talk to your healthcare provider if anxiety is affecting your life and relationships. Your health care provider can assess your health and rule out physical problems as a source of anxiety before suggesting that you consult a mental health professional. Many people with anxiety disorders require medication or psychotherapy to control the condition. Others find that lifestyle changes and coping strategies can provide relief.
Here are some tips for dealing with anxiety disorders.
keep your body active
Create a routine that keeps you moving a few days a week. Exercise can help reduce stress, improve your mood, and keep you fit.
Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs
These substances can cause or exacerbate anxiety. If you think you should quit or cut back on alcohol or recreational drugs and you can’t, contact your health care provider or find a support group.
Stop smoking and drinking caffeinated beverages
These can exacerbate anxiety.
Practice stress management and relaxation techniques
Visualization, meditation, and yoga have been shown to reduce anxiety.
get enough sleep
Do everything you can to make sure you get enough sleep to feel rested. Tell your healthcare provider if you have trouble sleeping.
Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains. This diet may be associated with reduced anxiety.
know how you feel
Discuss your feelings with your health care provider to find out what is causing them and what treatments work best for you. Ask family and friends for support.
follow treatment plan
Take your medicine as directed. Attend all therapy appointments and complete any assignments given by your therapist. Consistency improves outcomes, especially with regard to dosing.
identify the trigger
Learn what behaviors and situations trigger your anxiety. Use the strategies you’ve developed with your mental health provider to help you deal with your emotions when these situations arise.
keep a diary
Writing about your personal life can help you and your mental health provider identify the sources of your stress and design treatments to make you feel better.
don’t go alone. Don’t let anxiety isolate you from family, friends, and activities.
If your worries do not subside on their own, they can get worse over time if you don’t seek help. Talk to your healthcare provider or mental health professional before your anxiety grows. Additionally, you can contact the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Help Line. This helpline connects you directly to clinical assistance when and where you need it. It’s free and available 24/7, with real-time interpretation in over 200 languages. Visit https://masshelpline.com or call/text us at 833-773-2445. I wish you luck.
Struggling to care for an older person or finding resources? Our experienced staff can help. For more information, please visit www.agespan.org online. Alternatively, call 800-892-0890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Joan Hatem-Roy, former Merrimack Valley and North Shore Elder Services, is CEO of AgeSpan.