What is it?
Anxiety is part of our natural defense system, similar to fear. Anxiety is the body’s warning that something is amiss. The body responds by releasing adrenaline and bumping blood faster as it gears up to fight-or-flight. Anxiety is a natural function of our body, but it becomes problematic when it is disproportionate to the situation or is so paralyzing we cannot function. Those with anxiety often worry about the future even sometimes thinking of possible scenarios and imagining the worst.
Panic attacks are extreme forms of anxiety often accompanied by physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, racing heart, sweaty palms, and dizziness. These often occur when our psychological fight-or-flight response is activated in the absence of an actual external threat. Instead of preparing us for action, it is channeled into a heightened sense of anxiety.
What can help?
Since anxiety is a natural and normal, it is important to remember that the goal is to manage anxiety, rather than completely remove it. Each person may experience anxiety differently and must find the best way for them to manage their anxiety. Here are a few general strategies.
Identify what produces your anxiety.
A good first step is to identify what situations or concerns trigger anxiety. Reflecting on moments of anxiety can help you identify the sources of anxiety and gain a deeper understanding.
Reduce other stressors.
Feelings of anxiety can often increase during periods of stress. If you are able to foresee periods of stress, you can try reducing other stressors or setting a schedule for regular meals, exercise, and sleep to help manage anxiety and stress.
Focus on your breath.
Our bodies natural anxiety response is to prepare for action. Our breathing often becomes shallow and fast. Taking deep and slow breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth, can help relax you on a physiological level and help combat anxiety.
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We also offer a variety of group sessions and workshops to help people who want to learn more about managing anxiety. You can find more information here.
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