When it comes to anxiety, “friending” it is probably something you don’t want to do. The enemy is the one who stays up all night (and sometimes he’s all day) in worry. But experts say alleviating anxiety can help manage it. But before doing so, it’s important to understand what anxiety entails.
“In varying degrees, anxiety disorders typically involve excessive worrying with anxiety and physical sensations,” says Andrea Wachter, psychotherapist, author, and Insight Timer teacher. told TZR. Dr. Monica Shah, a licensed psychologist in New York City who specializes in mindfulness and acceptance-based cognitive-behavioral therapy, adds that there are many different components to anxiety. “We all have different thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to tie our experiences together,” she tells TZR. may experience it through anxious thoughts, another person may experience it through feelings such as difficulty with uncertainty, another person may experience it through an increase in heart rate or “These are all the ways anxiety manifests itself,” she says.
If you struggle with anxiety, you are not alone. Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental illness in the United States, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Each year, it affects 40 million adults, which is 19.1% of the population. So why befriend something so debilitating? Ahead, the therapist talks about how taking a different approach can reduce anxiety and help you manage it better.
Why You Should Make Anxiety Your Ally
“It’s completely understandable to want to get rid of anxiety. It doesn’t feel good,” says Wachter. “But when we deny them, hate them, or try to get rid of them, it doesn’t soften our feelings. Rather, when we offer them warmth and compassion, they soften.” and respond to the needs they express.”
Oliver Drakeford, a licensed marriage and family therapist who also specializes in anxiety, agrees, adding that people tend to avoid risky or unknown situations. “This was an amazing strategy that was key to our survival as a species. emailed to. “But the problem is, you start treating your emotions as dangerous, like a hungry beast or a terrifying precipice.”
This is where befriending anxiety comes into play. “To me, having anxiety on your side means shining a light on it instead of avoiding it,” says Drakeford. “Instead of running away from it or seeing it as dangerous, you start working on it, understanding it, exploring it.” He says it’s important to do this.
Shah agrees with Drakeford. “The more you demonize something, the harder it is to manage,” she says. “Anxiety is, evolutionarily speaking, within all of us. It’s meant to protect us. It used to protect us from very real physical dangers.” She says it could be akin to an overactive protection mechanism. Knowing when it’s and when it’s not, and when it’s aligned with our goals and values.”
how to relieve anxiety
“High levels of anxiety can cause people to change their diet, stare at screens for long periods of time, and get stuck in anxious thoughts,” explains Wachter. It means meeting and dealing with feelings of anxiety in the same way you would if a scared child came to you. She says this is done by noticing disturbing thoughts and feelings.
Wachter also says to ask yourself what you need, like doing a calming activity you like, and do your best to take care of your body and keep your system in tune. She says she might say: We all feel fear from time to time. Remember the other day when you had a terror in your stomach that disappeared after a while? ”
Wachter also suggests trying EFT tapping, which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. It is a healing modality that involves tapping on various acupressure points while reciting statements related to the problem you are experiencing. There is.
“You can also try self-indulgence and deep breathing techniques,” says Wachter. “These help calm the autonomic nervous system and increase levels of calmness. Then, slowly bring your arm down to your elbow, as if stroking and comforting yourself.” The third area is the sides of the face. “By stroking either your upper arm, palm, or side of your face, you can actually boost serotonin levels and reduce anxiety,” she explains Wachter. “All of these things help calm anxiety by letting it settle in the moment.”
For the deep breathing aspect, Wachter says you can use any technique you like, including box breathing, mindful breathing, and belly breathing, to name a few. “In box breathing, count four, four, on your inhale, on your exhale, and after your exhale, on your inhale, on your exhale, on your exhale,” she says. “I do a few anxiety-reducing meditations with Insight Timer, but I encourage you to try different techniques to see which ones are most calming.”
Drakeford points out that each of us has a unique tolerance for how much anxiety we can handle. “A ‘reality test’ is a conscious way of judging how important something is to you,” he says. In other words, if you can give a little thought to how much value you place on the thing at hand, you might want to de-emphasize it, or if possible, de-emphasize it so that you don’t feel insecure. can be
“For example, an exact reality test means that I’m assigning moderate amount It’s important for this interview, and you need to provide good answers so that readers find it useful,” he says. “The distorted version means I was placing too important In this interview, this creates great anxiety and prevents you from answering in a clear and concise manner. You may hang around, stumble on your own words, or simply shut down and not be able to answer at all. ”
Drakeford says that, hypothetically, the interview can be attributed to a number such as “9.” If he feels numb with fear, he can take a reality test and try to lower the 9 to a 7. “This might make me less anxious,” he says. says.
Practicing mindfulness or listening to guided meditations can also help, Wachter says. “You can also reach out to a trusted friend or safe support person, such as a therapist, or use symptom relief tools like Byron Katie’s ‘The Work,'” she says. , is a simple but very powerful way to question the thoughts that contribute to or result from anxiety.”
Speaking of therapy, Shah says you don’t have to go only when you have a problem or worry. “Having a guide or coach to help you deal with the necessary evils of being human is helpful,” she says. “The person is an expert in themselves, and together, the therapist helps them progress toward their goals and values, and in developing themselves.” When it comes to anxiety, therapists can also work with clients to assess their reactions to things and how they can manage them and live a more fulfilling life.” And that’s all, right?