Anxiety and stress are simply parts of life for most people, especially when we try to juggle multiple responsibilities. However, if your stress and anxiety attacks have begun to impact your ability to function in everyday life, then you need to seek out ways to manage these emotions. ProzacMonologues.com explains the importance of finding strategies that help you to manage your anxiety both at the moment it occurs and long-term.
Guest blogger Julia Mitchell, lifestyle expert at outspiration.net contributes this piece about tips to manage stress and anxiety. I (Willa) have added a few links to previously posted pieces from ProzacMonologues.
Develop Skills to Proactively Manage Stress
Raising children, earning a living, maintaining family harmony and wellness, and pursuing your passions can all be stressful. While each of these things may contribute to creating the life you want, they can also undermine your overall well-being, if they cause you too much stress. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes that you can equip yourself to manage stress and prevent anxiety attacks by building healthy habits with sleep, exercise, food, work, play, attitude, and self-fulfillment.
You can also pick up a new hobby like gardening, which has been shown to help mitigate stress. Not only do you have the opportunity to get your hands dirty while watching what you've planted grow into healthy edibles, you'll be getting much-needed Vitamin D as you spend extra time outside. For expert advice and pointers, go online and visit Home Garden Hero.
Identify and Manage Your Triggers
It's a good idea to identify the situations that trigger your anxiety so you can take constructive steps when you encounter those things or avoid them. Triggers are external events, large or small, that prompt your body and mind to respond in a seemingly irrational way. The response is generally flight, fight, fawn, or freeze. As Be Calm with Tati explains, you have to learn your triggers in order to disrupt this cycle. Then you need to implement some deep breathing exercises so you can calm down and focus on what happened and why.
This Prozac Monologues post, Tips for Surviving the Holidays, was originally written for the specific event of an extended family gathering. But its suggestions for managing triggers can be applied in a variety of contexts.
Create a Low-Stress Work Environment
There are things you can do to make your workspace less stress-inducing, particularly if you work from a home office. Reduce clutter by putting items in designated bins labeled "to do," "to read," and "to file." Make sure the lighting is adequate and easy on your eyes. Use a planning system that works for you, whether paper or electronic. Evaluate your office desk and chair for ergonomic comfort. It's well worth making the investment in a good office chair that places you at the proper height to use your computer easily.
You can also manage work-related anxiety in other ways. If your current job is what's making you anxious, consider a new position or different career path. Just remember that before seeking new opportunities, creating an updated resume by utilizing a type of free resume maker is a good idea. You can use a free online resume template to customize with your own copy, profile photos, and color scheme.
Dealing with Anxiety in the Moment
When you're in the grip of anxiety or a full-blown panic attack, it can be difficult to know how best to handle the situation, which is why it is best to develop strategies ahead of time. Do some deep, abdominal breathing. Focusing on your breath can have a calming effect. As you inhale, allow your abdomen to expand, and then try to make the exhale slightly longer and allow your abdomen to relax. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center suggests using guided imagery to fill your mind with thoughts, images, sounds, and smells of positive experiences.
You can also go for a walk, do yoga or tai chi, or engage in vigorous exercise, such as dancing or running. Take a moment to question any catastrophic thoughts that are running through your mind. As the saying goes, "Don't believe everything you think."
Here is a Prozac Monologues post, Recovery in Progress, that walks the reader through my own experience of an anxiety attack at a NAMI conventions, and the tools I (Willa) used to manage the incident.
Find Long-Term Stress Management Strategies
If you're prone to anxiety attacks, then it's important to have a long-term plan for managing the stress of daily life. Establishing an ongoing practice of meditation and/or a slow deliberate movement, such as tai chi, qi gong, or yoga can be helpful. If your anxiety has resulted in sleep disturbances, irritability, difficulty focusing, or ongoing muscle tension that last for more than a month or so, it's time to seek professional help.
Journaling and cultivating your sense of humor may also be helpful. Evaluate your responsibilities and consider whether you can realistically fulfill them; you may find that you need to delegate some tasks. Develop the habit of taking breaks from stressful activities. Make sure to spend some time outdoors whether hiking, running, walking, or simply enjoying a park bench in the sunshine.
In this post, Frazzled Cafe and Ruby Wax, the comedian, with master's degrees in psychotherapy and mindfulness-based therapy, describes how these activities can be used to channel the brain's functioning to relieve stress.
Find and Implement Your Anxiety Solutions
Anxiety can be present at any phase of life, whether you're a parent, student, worker, or retiree. It's important to develop constructive ways to manage stress so that you can live your life and meet your responsibilities. There are many methods of managing and prreventing anxiety, ranging from exercise to finding a less stressful job to journaling and to professional therapy. Figure out what works best for you and build some healthy habits that will be useful in both preventing and managing anxiety when it occurs.
If you are dealing with stress, anxiety, or other mental health disorders, join Willa Goodfellow on her journey to research and process these issues in her own world through ProzacMonologues.com.
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