Have you ever wondered what the difference is between being anxious and having an anxiety disorder?
Dr. Simon from the N.Y.U School of Medicine explains that “anxiety is a natural reaction to stress–it’s not necessarily pathological or dangerous. There’s the point where it becomes a condition, and the way we separate those has to do with the level of persistence, severity, distress, and if it’s impacting day-to-day function.”1
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, some “40 million people aged 18 or older in the United States, 18 percent of the population, will suffer from an anxiety disorder each year.”1
For those dealing with daily anxiety, there are a tremendous amount of methods that may alleviate the anxiety or help to make your day-to-day life more manageable. The most common methods are as follows:
Anxiety stems from a constant focus on events that may occur. Bea Arthur, a mental health counselor from New York, found that this “is related to a perceived lack of control, so add back things that you do feel in control of.”1
Talk therapy and prescribed medications are often effective, but Dr. Rosmarin, Director of the Center for Anxiety, warns to only “use them only so far as they help deal with the problem.”1
When some think of meditation they think of holding still for a long period of time and trying to clear their mind, this can lead to anxiety in and of itself. That’s why Aaron Dias, a meditation coach, encourages people to “create a very simple daily practice… Keep it to five minutes, or do five breath cycles if five minutes causes anxiety. Breathe out anxiety, breathe in goodness, strength, or whatever you’re trying to cultivate.”1 Meditation can also include feelings of gratefulness for what life offers; consider keeping a journal or just mentally listing things you are grateful for before sleeping each night.
The idea of setting a fitness goal may cause some to become stressed, they may worry about not meeting their goal and failing their own expectations. It is important to remember that exercise is just about getting the body moving: take the dog for a walk, take the stairs a few times a week, play with children, or perform yard work. Anything to get your blood pumping and endorphins released.
Whether the quality time is with a furry animal, friends, family, or children, it’s important to get out of your solitary mind. Children offer a different perspective on the world that you can immerse yourself in, or you can lessen your anxiety by petting an animal. Speaking to friends and family about your life and experiences may make you feel less alone in your struggle with anxiety. There should be no shame in asking for help.
Everyone’s situation is different. If you are concerned about your anxiety and how to deal with it, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.