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Find yourself troubled by anxiety?  You’ve got lots of company.  By some estimates, 40 million Americans suffer from anxious emotional states.  While there aren’t good year-to-year statistics about whether that is increasing, there’s no denying we live in stressful times.  Work is stressful, many people are still recovering financially, unemployment remains too high and 2012 is an election year in the US, guaranteeing endless messages of doom, gloom and hostility in the media.

Anxiety can take many forms:  panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive behavior, generalized anxiety or anxiety in social situations.  Fortunately, anxiety is highly treatable.  Unfortunately, too many people try to deal with anxiety by popping a pill.  Medication may be useful as part of a plan to manage or end anxiety, but it isn’t the sole answer.

What to do if anxiety is a problem?

  • If the news is making you anxious, don’t expose yourself to so much of it.  Turn off the TV and limit your time visiting online news sites.
  • Get enough rest.  Good sleep patterns help us build emotional resiliency and bounce back from setbacks.
  • Exercise is essential.  30 minutes of walking a day can be as useful as medication for some people.
  • Face your fears.  Avoidance is an ineffective strategy for managing most kinds of anxiety.  Better to find a safe, planned way to move through problems rather than deny them.
  • Pick up new stress busting skills:  meditation, stress-resilient values, making time to relax.
  • Know when to get help.  Saying that anxiety is treatable is not the same thing as saying it is easy to deal with.  Psychotherapists have a variety of techniques available to help clients.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to do this all on your own.

If you would like help in dealing with feelings of anxiety, being stuck or sadness and depression, please contact me.