Heart racing, stomach churning, face perspiring, muscles tense, feeling like you’re about to lose control! These are some of the symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety, if left untreated, can negatively impact work, relationships, and mental and physical health. It can affect self- esteem and break down our immune systems over time. There are medications available to help cope with the symptoms of anxiety, but today I want to share some tips and coping skills to help deal with the overpowering feelings of anxiety.
First, notice your physical symptoms. Your body usually knows an anxiety attack is about to happen before your brain does. Learn to be aware of the onset of physiological symptoms, which include rapid heartbeat, tense muscles, sweating, shakiness, and light- headedness.
Second, pay attention to your thoughts. Many of our day-to-day thoughts are automatic, and we are unaware of how they are making us feel. Most of our thoughts can tend to tilt toward the negative, depending on the situation and our perceived ability to handle stressful situations. Notice what messages you are giving yourself. Be careful of black or white thinking, as well as the should, musts, I cant’s and have to’s. These types of messages can trigger the fight or flight system, which in turn can trigger the anxiety.
Next, change the message you’re giving yourself. When you begin to be aware of your internal dialogue, you can change the script. Change the can’ts to I can, the should to coulds, and the have to’s to I choose to. Before long, you will begin to have mastery over your anxiety, instead of the other way around!