Sally Sanchez, MA
Anxiety is a normal part of life that all human beings experience at various levels. In fact, sometimes anxiety can help us get ready or prepare for important events such as when studying for an exam or preparing for a big presentation or speech. Although anxiety is felt by everyone, it’s important to understand when we are experiencing too much.
Although anxiety can at times be helpful, if you find yourself constantly worrying about everything, even when there is no reason to worry, you may be experiencing too much anxiety. Another sign that you may be experiencing excessive anxiety is finding it extremely difficult to control the worry and/or anxiety and being unable to relax. Anxiety can have many symptoms including, feeling restless, inability to relax, concentration difficulties, fatigue, muscle tension, trouble sleeping, and more.
The following are some coping skills that can be used to manage anxiety:
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Progressive muscle relaxation helps reduce anxiety by tensing and relaxing your muscles. It can help you identify when your body feels tense, which is a natural response to stress and anxiety, and it involves learning to relax muscular tension.
- Guided Imagery: This technique is easy, quick, and efficient! It involves imagining yourself in a safe, and comfortable, environment of your choice. It is important to involve your senses and focus on what you see, hear, feel, smell, and taste in the comfortable environment (i.e., beach or mountain). For example, if you are on a beach, you may feel the sand, and hear the waves. This will help you feel relaxed.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing or Deep Breathing: This technique focuses on regulating your breathing when you are in a stressful situation. It involves using the abdomen rather than your chest to breathe. Individuals tend to breathe faster and shallower when presented with a situation that we believe is dangerous. Thus, learning how to use deep breathing on a regular basis can help us get in the habit of using it when we are anxious or in anxiety provoking situations.
- Seek Help: Anxiety can be challenging and difficult to manage. Thus, it is important to recognize if you are feeling overwhelmed and need support for managing anxiety in a healthy manner. Please contact a mental health professional if you need assistance and support managing your anxiety.
- Links to resources:
- Self-Care Tips (therapistaid.com) https://www.therapistaid.com/worksheets/self-care-tips.pdf
- Relaxation Techniques (Worksheet) | Therapist Aid: https://www.therapistaid.com/therapy-worksheet/relaxation-techniques
- Taking Control of Anxiety https://www.apa.org/pubs/books/4441023
- Coping Strategies https://www.therapistaid.com/worksheets/coping-skills-anxiety.pdf
Panda, S. (2014). Stress and health: Symptoms and techniques of psychotherapeutic management. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 5(4), 516–520.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021). Stress and Coping. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/stress-coping/index.html