From Therapy to Ink Pens: Dealing With Anxiety

Anxiety is something that we all experience to some degree. Even the most cool, calm and collected individual can get a case of the nerves before a big presentation at work or a sensitive personal conversation they’ve been avoiding. But for some people, anxiety is a regular part of life. Seemingly small things such as getting out the door on time, daily work assignments, or casual social interactions can be psychologically and emotionally distressing. A person with anxiety may get sucked into a ‘worst case scenario’ mentality. He or she may feel that things are quickly spinning out of their control, and anxiety over something small leads to anxiety over greater and greater consequences that, in reality, will probably not result from the situation at hand.

Well-meaning friends, family, and coworkers respond all too often with encouraging phrases such as “It’s okay, there’s nothing to be stressed about,” or “It’s not a big deal, just calm down and you’ll be fine.” When someone struggles with anxiety, they’re no less intelligent. They recognize mentally when something isn’t a big deal, but emotionally, it feels like a big deal. Their mind and body are often, by this point, on an escalating trajectory toward greater and greater distress. In fact, people who struggle with anxiety often suffer from high blood pressure, headaches, muscle tension, insomnia and even nausea. An anxiety-fueled panic attack can lead to breathing problems and hyperventilation.

If anxiety, stress, and panic are consistent enough, or strong enough, that they’re impacting your life negatively, find a therapist who can help you regain some control in your life. If your anxiety seems milder, and you just get stressed out on occasion, work on techniques that help you maintain calm and control. For example, if you get anxious while presenting speeches at work, ground yourself by including a deep breath, centering thought, or brief pause in your notes. It could be that one day, office supplies will help you reduce your stress, but for now, it’s up to you as an individual. Incorporating some centering techniques and see if they help; if you’re still feeling overwhelmed, find a counselor: that’s exactly what they’re there for.

© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • susan

    susan

    December 25th, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    I get anxious occasionally and was starting to get worried about it…Its like anxiety resulting in anxiety ;)

    Thanks for clearing the air on this.Now I just need to try and do routines that will help me get rid of those anxious few moments.

  • Eliza

    Eliza

    December 25th, 2010 at 4:19 PM

    I am actually one of those people who functions a little better when I am under a little stress. You know, a little fire under the seat gets me moving and makes me do the things that I have otherwise been procrastinating about. I know that there are some people who have a very hard time functioning in these kinds of situations but honestly I work better under pressure. And that is when I usually get my best results too!

  • Alan

    Alan

    December 25th, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    @Eliza:I have a similar thing going on with me.I cannot work a lot when there is a lot of time for the deadline but when it does get closer and I begin to fret I spring into action and work like crazy. i do not know if this is bad for my body or mind or both but it sure does get the work done!

  • serena

    serena

    December 27th, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    I take meds for hbp and my doctor does seem to think that a lot of my problems with my elevated bllod pressure numbers has a great deal to do with the amount of anxiety and stress that I face at work. But I can’t just quit my job so I try to just make the most of it.

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