Anxiety is instilled in our core; it helped our ancestors adapt and survive over the ages. Anxiety alerts us to inner and outer threats. It’s natural to feel anxious from time to time such as the night before an exam, during a first date or walking by a barking dog. A little anxiety is a good thing–it is there to alert and protect you.
Anxiety becomes unhealthy when constant worrying and fear start interfering in your life. The anxious mind goes around like a spinning wheel, and it’s hard to snap out of its cycle. Three parts need to be addressed; the anxious mind, body, and actions.
When thinking about your anxiety level, it might be helpful to pay attention to the four D’s:
1. Is your anxiety disproportionate to the situation?
2. Is your anxiety disrupting or interfering with your life?
3. Is your anxiety distressing you?
4. Is the duration of your anxiety 6 months or more?
If you answer Yes to any of these areas, your anxiety is probably excessive and getting in your way. Anxiety disorders are different from normal, everyday anxiety and fearfulness in that the anxiety is more intense, lasts longer and leads to extreme fears that can hold you back.
To reduce your anxiety, it is important to make an effort to increase positive emotions and to enhance good experiences in love, work, and play.
Start with keeping a simple journal of what you are grateful for. People have a tendency to ruminate about negative events, and writing a journal will help you to gain a new perspective on life.
Practice optimism; that will help you to understand good things are coming. Concentrate on your personal goals and track your progress.
Practice mindfulness: go slowly, take a breath, take your time, notice your body sensations, stay in the moment.
Build meaningful relationships with your spouse, children, and others. Spend quality time with them. It plays a huge role in your overall well-being.
Each day, do one thing as an act of kindness to someone else, as simple as opening the door for someone, offering directions to someone who looks lost, or helping a friend with homework. It feels good.