What is Anxiety and What Can I Do About It?

Cheryl Deaner, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist on Oct 11, 2018 in Mood and Feelings

It takes a lot of courage to face life when you feel anxious. Anxiety is a response to fear that may be external (for instance, lay offs at work) or created in your mind (like expecting way too much from yourself). As a result, the weight of the world is on your shoulders.

What's worse, chronic anxiety may feel normal to you. Many people live with anxiety for years and think its just how life is. Life doesn't have to be so hard!

Here are six signs that you may be dealing with chronic, debilitating stress and anxiety:

  1. Your closest relationships are difficult
  2. You have a hard time focusing
  3. You experience sleep disturbances
  4. You feel “revved up” at the wrong times
  5. You always feel like you should be doing something better
  6. You have experienced a panic attack, or fear that you soon will.

If you have three or more of these symptoms, you probably suffer from chronic anxiety. Here are three highly-recommended ways to deal with this life-sucking condition:

  • Find coping tools. Go on social media and search for “dealing with anxiety” to see ways people cope. However just finding tools usually isn’t enough.
  • Talk to someone safe about your thinking. It is a hallmark of anxiety that the story in your head is far worse than the reality of your situation. Having someone hear about your anxiety can help get a perspective.
  • Invest in getting to know yourself. Make the time to go deeper than you have in the past into who you really are and why you relate to your family, friends, coworkers the way you do.

An examined life is not a wasted life! Self-help books, 12 step programs, psychotherapy, spiritual paths, harm reduction workshops and other life-balancing efforts may take time, but they can be super effective in changing the entire course of your life to a more peaceful and balanced state.

Cheryl Deaner is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, .

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