Like anything, managing your anxiety takes practice. Test out these skills when you have the time, so that when a stressful situation occurs, you have several tools at hand.
It’s often easy to support a close friend when they’re down, however we often struggle with providing the same kindness and support to ourselves.
Therapists frequently suggest tracking your moods in order to understand which triggers or situations lead to certain emotions. If you are seeing a counselor or doctor for any mood symptoms, this can be a helpful tool to update them with in between appointments, make the appointments go smoother, and assist you in staying on topic. Having your moods tracked will help you communicate how you have been feeling if you struggle describing it. It also helps to look back at your mood journal to see how far you have come and what you are capable of accomplishing.
A panic attack is the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort that reaches a peak within minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms: palpitations, accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling, shaking, or shortness of breath. Most people who experience panic attacks ask the question, ‘Why do I have them?’
Cognitive distortions are errors in thinking, which are generally irrational or exaggerated. These thoughts are not usually based on facts, but we believe them to be true. When we believe these distortions, we find ourselves having high levels of stress and anxiety, which also effects our overall self-esteem. Catastrophizing is one of those cognitive distortion (aka magnifying). It consists of the way we magnify things out of proportions, which causes us to think about terrible scenarios that we believe could happen.
Emotions can get the best of everyone at times. We tend to lose control of our emotions during an argument, after a personal failure, or when we are concerned about a loved ones. If we leave our emotions unchecked, it can lead to regretful actions or words used in the heat of the moment. And it is not always our anger or sadness that has the ability to lead us to bad decisions, it can be happiness or excitement in certain contexts, if not regulated. Have you ever made a plan with someone based off being in an exceptionally good mood, only to realize the next day you have little interest in fulfilling your new obligation? This is where emotional regulation comes in.
Unwanted thoughts are those intrusive thoughts that cause high levels of distress. They seemingly come from nowhere, stick with us, and can cause a significant amount of anxiety. Unwanted intrusive thoughts generally consist of repetitive thoughts about relationships, decisions, sexual identity, safety, religion, death, or worries about questions that have no certain answer. When these thoughts are graphic or contain “inappropriate” themes, people can feel embarrassed or ashamed by them, which can cause people to not talk about what is happening.
Religion refers to the organized, community-based system of beliefs. Spirituality, on the other hand, resides within the individual and what they personally believe. You can be part of a religion and not be spiritual, while you can be spiritual and not a part of an organized religion. Both religion and spirituality are shown to have positive impacts on mental health.
Life is very much like a roller coaster - full of ups and downs. At some point or another you may find yourself going through one of those low points. Whether it’s the lose of a job, an addiction, or perhaps something entirely out of your control - life happens and sometimes you can’t always avoid it. So what can you do to bounce yourself back to a better place? Here are a few suggestions.