All of us have wrestled with anxiety at some time or other. But for those with generalized anxiety disorder, anxiety can be overwhelming and constant, affecting even the smallest things in life.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America website reports that generalized anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million adults, which is roughly 3.1 percent of the U.S. population, in any given year. Women are twice as likely to be affected by generalized anxiety disorder, the ADAA said.
One way to combat anxiety and stress is to count backwards from ten to zero. While you are slowly counting backwards, inhale and exhale after you say each number. Rhythmic counting allows you to concentrate on your breathing, but also forces you to slow down and calm the thoughts racing through your mind.
2) Creative visualization
Try some creative visualization with positive affirmations. Sit or lie down. Take 10 deep breaths and on the exhale visually release the word anxiety or stress coming out of your mouth. When you inhale, visualize peace or calmness. Now, say out loud or to yourself, "I am relaxed and centered." Say this 10-25 times or until you feel relaxed.
3) Take a walk
Talk a long walk and mingle with nature. Walk around your block or walk outside your office. This allows space between you and the situation that may be causing you anxiety. If the weather is poor, take a walk indoors at the mall. If you think you might be tempted to buy something at the mall, leave your wallet in the car and hidden from view.
4) Soak in the tub
How about a hot bath? Light a candle and draw a hot bath. Take your time in the tub and turn off your phone. The world can live without you for 20 or 30 minutes while you recharge your mental batteries.
5) Write it out
Buy a journal and write down your feelings. What is causing your anxiety? Is it work or is home life? Write about how you feel, and what situation has triggered your feelings of stress. Also write down possible solutions. If your job is causing you stress, write about the situation. Can you change it? Is there a win-win scenario? Do you need an exit strategy to secure new employment?
6) Online support
If you have some extra cash, there are online therapy websites you can go to, or you might want to try Lantern. The New York Times said, "users combine mobile and online tools with remote nudging from a professional to help users tackle troubles like anxiety, sleep problems and poor body image." According to NYT, "The tools are based on principles of cognitive behavioral therapy, an approach that emphasizes the connection between thoughts and behaviors and often involves self-help techniques."
A free service for stress and anxiety is 7 Cups of Tea, which is an on-demand emotional health and well-being service. You can anonymously connect with a real listener for a one-on-one chat. Listeners are trained to listen to your experiences and they're there for you if you just want to vent. Listeners don't judge, solve your issues or tell you what to do. They listen.
Another free app is Stop Panic and Anxiety Self-Help. The app is for those who suffer from panic attacks due to panic disorder. It focuses on the fear of having a panic attack, as well as the fear of the sensations which frequently accompany an attack. The app has articles about anxiety, a diary to learn to challenge fearful thinking, deep relaxation audio, and audio to coach you through a panic attack.
7) Seek professional help
If your anxiety or stress is debilitating and causing your to miss days at work, or if it is affecting your relationship with your significant other, contact your medical professional for further assistance.
"Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA." Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
"Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA." Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
Carrns, Ann. "Lantern, a Start-Up, Offers Online Therapy for Anxiety and More." The New York Times, 23 Oct. 2014. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
7 Cups of Tea. 7cupsoftea.com. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
Stop Panic & Anxiety Self-Help. play.google.com. Web. 12 Oct. 2015.
Reviewed October 12, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith