Living with anxiety can be a real burden. To a person who suffers from anxiety, even basic and familiar tasks can seem overwhelming. Feelings of fear and apprehension can come on with little or no warning. The symptoms of anxiety can be both mental and physical, and the consequences of the condition can include damage to interpersonal relationships, careers, and self-esteem. But anxiety is not an all-powerful foe. With the right strategies and a commitment to addressing the mental health issues that you have, you can contain your anxiety and live a happier, healthier life.
Anxiety is a mental health issue, and it is best understood as something akin to a physical ailment. Unlike mere “worry,” anxiety is an ongoing condition that causes real problems in your everyday life.
The failure to distinguish anxiety disorders from simple worries and fears may be a part of the reason that far too few people who suffer from anxiety seek proper treatment. Other factors, including stigma surrounding mental illness and a lack of proper mental health care access for many Americans, contribute to the same problem. If you suffer from anxiety, your goal should be to break out of this norm and do what experts recommend—namely, seek professional care for your mental health. Just as your physical health deserves the attention of medical experts and specialists, so does your mental health!
Turn to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist. If you’re unsure of where to start, you can ask your primary care physician to direct you to a professional who can help. Working with a mental health expert, you can develop a treatment plan that may include medication, talk therapy, and inpatient treatment, explain the experts at the Ross Center for Anxiety.
Addressing Personal Habits
You have a role in addressing your own anxieties, of course. While nobody should seek to fight an anxiety disorder without the help of a mental health expert, it’s also important for each individual to take stock of his or her own personal and professional life and look for ways to alleviate anxiety. In fact, a therapist or other mental health professional could help you do this: Talk therapy is a wonderful setting for developing strategies and gaining tools that will help you reduce your symptoms in everyday life.
Talk therapy can help you address negative thinking in your everyday life. After you leave your appointment, it will be up to you to identify and address negative thought patterns at work, school, or home.
You should also address the role that technology can play in anxiety. Our modern world makes it far too easy to stress ourselves out with after-hours work and emails. Social media can be a huge source of anxiety, too. You should consider limiting your social media presence and the hours that you spend looking at the activities of others. Using a private photo manager like Ibi can be a better way to preserve your memories (and share them with trusted friends and family); posting those same photos on social media will be less secure and may invite the kind of scrutiny—real or imagined—that contributes to anxious thoughts and attitudes. Cloud photo managers also keep digital photos secure; you won’t have to feel anxious about losing your photos if a single device or hard drive is lost or destroyed.
Building a Better Life
Addressing anxiety isn’t as simple as making a few changes—even if those changes are big ones, like seeking therapy. You’ll have to do the work that it takes to adopt a range of important strategies. Your treatment plan may include talk therapy and medication, and you will certainly have to do some careful thinking and use your willpower to disarm negative thoughts and the other insidious tools that anxiety can use. Don’t be discouraged, though: Instead, take the first few steps and commit yourself to building a better life.