Anxiety: The Mind Killer
One issue that clients come into my office with time and time again, is anxiety and panic. According to NAMI, an estimated 40 million Americans suffer from some form of anxiety, which is characterized by intense, or excessive fear or worry about everyday situations. Anxiety attacks you on 2 different fronts: the body and the mind. The body can experience rapid, shallow breathing, sweating, trembling, sleep issues, GI issues, and increased heart rate. The mind experiences habitual negative thinking, trouble concentrating, uncontrolled worry, and avoidance of things that trigger anxiety (DSM-5: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition, 2022). Many of us are all too familiar with the thoughts that speak of impending doom and foretell a future wroth with only despair and devastation.
Even when we take the leap of seeking professional help, it can seem like a war with our own minds and bodies. Here are some surefire ways to tackle that anxiety monster to the ground!
- Divorce your anxiety: many people have struggled with anxiety for so long, they believe it’s a part of who they are. It is not! It’s the result of past experiences.
- Regulate the body: engage in breathing, mindfulness, and relaxation exercises where you disengage your autopilot and check in with your inner state regularly and find strategies to calm your physical body down when not anxious (when you are, use of the skills will be more effective and work quicker). Once your body is calm, you can think more rationally!
- Tackle the mind: Anxious thoughts are fear-talking. You will likely feel like you’re arguing with yourself but do it anyway! Utilize thought-stopping and adaptive thinking strategies to combat anxious thoughts, and realize that many are inaccurate and overly negative! One way to combat negative thinking is to list all possible negatives and positives of the situation and you will soon see that the negatives only account for a portion of those possible outcomes.
- Give yourself grace: we all make mistakes and have unique challenges, allow yourself to be human and give yourself a break from self-criticism!
If you’d like to dive deeper into your issues surrounding anxiety, click here to schedule a time on Dr. Kubiak’s calendar.