All of us have worries at some point in our lives. It could be moving home, starting a new job, your child’s first day at school, money problems or a day to day occurrence, such as answering the telephone or even leaving the house. Whatever worries you have, it is important to recognize when worries become anxieties and when those anxieties prevent you from moving forward in your life.
Certain anxieties and reactions are perfectly natural and help to keep us alert to possible dangers around us. When anxieties stop you from leaving the house, or meeting new people, or simply getting what you want out of life, you need to take action as soon as possible to prevent anxiety from dominating your life. The first step is to admit that what were a few niggling worries at first have now become every day thoughts and have prevented your from undertaking activities that you want to do. Recognizing these feelings is an important part of the part of the path to becoming stronger. You are taking control. Celebrate this powerful decision you have made.
Following this, you may want to educate yourself about anxiety through books and the internet. There is a wealth of information available to help you identify symptoms and to start making progress towards ridding yourself of anxiety. Also discuss your anxieties with your doctor, particularly if you have also been suffering from short periods of increased heartbeat, light headedness, sweaty palms or even the feeling that you are having a heart attack as these are common features of anxiety attacks. Your doctor may advise a course of therapy, or provide you with information about coping strategies.
Talk to friends and family about the difficulties you are experiencing. This may be a hard task in itself as you will not want to worry the people who you care about, but remember: they care about you too! By talking things through, they will be aware of how you are feeling and can start to support you in a caring and sympathetic way.
There are also approaches to tackling your anxiety that you can do in your own time. Keeping an anxiety journal can help you pinpoint the cause of your anxiety and you can use it to start to plan strategies to help you overcome them. Write down what you were doing or thinking before you felt the pangs of anxiety, how you coped and how you felt afterwards. This is also an excellent way to track progress. You will you begin to write entries in your journal less and less as your anxieties decrease.
As important to your progress as the previous recommendations are, at some point, you will have to face your anxieties in order to overcome them. This sounds like an extremely intimidating prospect at first, but by taking small steps a little at a time, the anxieties you experience will soon feel manageable and you will experience the powerful feeling of being in control. For example, if your anxieties stem from visiting places and buildings you are not familiar with, don’t start your plan of action by visiting a thirty storey building. If you set yourself very difficult goals that you cannot achieve, you will be left feeling unhappy and start to doubt yourself. In this example, a good start would be to visit a park or a small grocery store. It is also a good idea to separate your new challenges from your everyday chores. This is a special time for you and you do not want to experience additional pressure to complete tasks. If visiting a small grocery store that you are unfamiliar with is your challenge, do not pressure yourself to complete the weekly grocery shopping there. Simply pick up a couple of items, purchase them and celebrate your fantastic accomplishment.
Problems stemming from anxiety can be tremendously debilitating if left untreated. Don’t let it rule your life! Take these small steps towards recovery and you will soon start to feel back in control and ready to take on anything that comes your way.