It took me a long time to understand my anxiety, and now it’s important to me to help others on this journey. Because anxiety is many things, including misunderstood. And minimized. And a gift!
According to the National Alliance Of Mental Illness “Over 40 million adults in the US have an anxiety disorder. Meanwhile approximately 7% of children aged 3-17 experience issues with anxiety each year. Most people develop symptoms before age 21.”
These numbers continue to rise, and these conversations are more crucial than ever.
It’s important to know that anxiety doesn’t look the same for everyone. While one person can withdraw from activity, another might engage.
What IS the same for everyone is that anxiety involves both emotional and physical symptoms. And there are tools you can use for both.
Feeling anxious is a very normal response to the many uncomfortable and scary experiences scattered throughout our lives. But when it starts to take over your happiness, your decisions, and your relationships, it’s time to take back control.
Next time you begin to feel any of the above mentioned symptoms, start practicing one of the following three calming tools.
When you’re just about to start a job interview and your heart begins pounding rapidly in your chest, remember to breathe. I’m not kidding. We tend to forget. There are many amazing breathing techniques to adopt and it just comes down to choosing the one that works for you. You might find simple breathing techniques do wonders for calming your heart and mind. Or you may prefer advanced breathing techniques to quiet your busy mind, such as box breathing or Pranayama breathing.
Do you have a creative hobby that makes you feel good?
It doesn’t have to be limited to art, It can be cooking, gardening, yoga, hiking in nature. A hobby that helps quiet your mind, pulls you into the present, and reminds you that this anxiety-inducing problem will pass. For me, I love to finger paint and hike with my dogs. What lights up your heart and calms your mind?
Not sure? Have fun with this! Experiment and find what works for you.
I have lived with anxiety my whole life. It’s part of who I am. A part I now see as a gift, because it’s helped me strengthen my empathy for others. As a psychologist, understanding other people’s experiences is a great skill. My anxiety has become my superpower. And yours can too.
I share more about my anxiety in Faces of Mental Illness: Our journey from stigma to health.
If you would like to learn how to show up everyday despite imperfections and emotional struggles, and make an impact in your life, your community and in your family, get my latest book: Faces of Mental Illness. Available on December 7th.
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Living with anxiety outlet