The Anxiety Monster
What is Anxiety?
There are several different Anxiety disorders that fall under the description of Anxiety. Some of the most common types of Anxiety include Generalized Anxiety Disorder which is Excessive anxiety and worry occurring more days than not. There is also Panic Disorder (Recurrent unexpected Panic Attacks), and Social Anxiety Disorder (fear of one or more social situations). These will be the focus for the purpose of this article. There are other forms of anxiety such as Specific Phobia, Selective Mutism and Separation Anxiety. These will be discussed at a different time as they have specific concerns.
Many people who experience anxiety think they have a medical problem and get checked by a medical provider first. This is recommended in order to rule out any medical condition. If the person is cleared by their medical provider and still feels physically ill it may not be a medical concern at all. The problem may be due to anxiety.
Who struggles with it?
Anxiety does not discriminate by age, gender, or culutural background. There are statistics that show that it is common for women to struggle with these types of disorders. Since it tends to be culturally imbedded that men cannot show emotions, out of all the disorders, men tend to struggle with anxiety too. The difference is that men tend to have more physical symptoms as it is permitted most often in various cultures. There are differences in the way that Anxiety can look in different genders, ages and cultural backgrounds. Due to its insidious nature, it is difficult to catch it in the begining. People tend to notice it after they have been suffering with it for some time. It can be very alleviating to seek professional help before the symptoms get worse.
What can be done to beat it?
Anxiety has many types of treatments. You can decide what path to take by choosing the treatment that is right for you. In therapy, a person can learn several different coping skills that help reduce the symptoms to a manageable level. Here is a list of coping skills that will help with some of the symptoms. Seek guidance from a mental health professional to ensure that these are being done in the most productive way.
1. Deep Breathing
While you do deep breathing, emphasize belly breathing. Ensure the air you breathe goes all the way to your belly. Do not do short shallow breaths using only your chest. It is important that your breathing slows down. Breathing rhythmically from the belly is most effective.
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Here, you lie down or sit comfortably and slowly. Use in combination with deep breathing. Mentally go through all your muscles one at a time. As you think of each muscle area tense and relax each one. It is most effective to focus on the present moment and take deep breaths.
3. Guided Imagery
Guided Imagery is a distraction technique in which you try to imagine yourself in a different place. Choose a safe and peaceful place. You can pick your own or have someone guide you through a new one.
4. Planning your worry
This is a technique in which the person plans a certain time of day to worry. It is recommended that the person worry productively for about 10 minutes a day. This is helpful for people that worry for most of their day. The thought behind this is that if you worry purposefully. This way the worry will not creep up as it would when anxious. It also helps to organize the worry because you are able to solve the issues.
Get your heartrate up and regulate breath by going for a walk or the gym. Alternatively, going for a hike gives you a chance to be active while surrounded by nature. Burbank has great hiking areas such as Wildwood Canyon Park . Also, Griffith Park is a well known area not far from Burbank has several hiking trails.
These are a few of many techniques that can be used with chronic worry. There are plenty more! It is recommended to seek professional help if you are overwhelmed by anxiety. These skills by themselves may not be enough.
Who can help reduce it?
There are many different professionals that can help. Titles include Doctors (PhD, PsyD), Marriage and Family Therapists, as well as Licensed Clinical Social Workers. Seek a Psychiatrist if unable to improve with therapy alone or if you prefer to try medication. Finally, other alternative treatments that a person can try to reduce anxiety, such as Yoga, Meditation, Acupuncture, Diet changes, etc.
Click here for a list of services provided in the Burbank area.
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Wendy Salazar is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the city of Burbank. Please contact with furhter questions or to schedule an appointmentcontact me.