Anxiety is inevitable. It is a part of everyday life. Our bodies naturally know how to deal with it. The problem comes when our bodies hang on to the anxiety despite the situation or event that caused the anxiety has already passed. This is why anxiety management is such an essential tile skill to have.
Stressors impact us on a daily basis, not just in our personal lives, but our professional surroundings as well. Knowing how to navigate stressful situations, help us become better workers and individuals overall.
The funny thing about anxiety is there isn’t a moment where we don’t feel it. There are good and bad types of anxiety. A good kind would be anticipation. That is something we usually feel when we are looking forward to something. You could be excited about an upcoming trip and are anticipating that you will be able to de-stress and unwind. So, there are good kinds of anxiety to look forward to.
There are also bad kinds. You know the type. These are the situations you want to avoid. You absolutely dread having to deal with them, and it causes discomfort and unease. It could be something like getting called into your boss’ office for an evaluation on work performance or having to deal with an irate client. These kinds of scenarios can cause us anxiety. Without anxiety management, that anxious, overwhelming feeling can become debilitating.
How do we deal with this?
Well, with having the necessary anxiety management skills, we can learn to not only identify our anxiety but, ultimately, get past it. Now, remember that there are people who struggle to even know what they are feeling. A major step in overcoming anxiety is first to identify it. This may take a bit of self-reflection on your part, but it is necessary. Some of us don’t like admitting we have anxiety. It translates to worry, and no one wants to be known as a “worrywart.” That’s for the hypochondriacs and the overprotective parents who bubble wrap their kids.
I am not saying that worry is wrong, but if it feeds your anxiety or makes life feel impossible to function in, then perhaps you are worrying a bit too much.
After you identify what your feelings are, acknowledge them. This seems to be more challenging than the actual anxiety management itself, and this has to do with our genetic makeup. Similar to how animals have a fight or flight response when they feel danger or suspicion, humans have a similar response.
Well, Bridget, you just called me an animal!
No, no. I said humans are like animals due to our fight or flight response in certain situations. Because of this, we humans have become accustomed to ignoring our problems. This causes issues when dealing with anxiety. The longer anxiety goes unmanaged, it won’t be long before any stressor (no matter how big or small) can send your body’s response to anxiety into overdrive. This is essentially taking one step forward and two steps back. You may feel like you’re making progress, but eventually, you will realize that you’re getting nowhere.
Anxiety is often thought of as having an impact on your mental health. Many times, the effects on our physical well-being are often overlooked. This is dangerous. Anxiety causes our bodies to overwork themselves because of being constantly stimulated. One incident happens that has you feeling a sense of anxiety. Another incident occurs that triggers your anxiety again. Just as you begin to let go of those stressors once the incident passes, something else happens which triggers your anxiety again.
This constant cycle of ups and downs will eventually wear you out. This is when we see burnout occur in people. They never allow their bodies to process the anxiety, and they get worn out. We often see this happen in people who have high-stress jobs (executives, nurses, etc.) and those who have experienced multiple stressors in a row.
While you are self-reflecting, why not try and think about what strengths you have? Every day, we are bombarded with things on social media, the internet, and in society that remind us of our weaknesses. No one likes to focus on their weaknesses, so why should we? By identifying what your strengths are, you can see where they can supplement in areas you struggle in.
Maybe you are terrible at vocalizing, but you love writing. Why not keep a journal or write down things you are grateful for? Maybe you are a visual person or someone who likes to be on the go. Use an app for task tracking and organization. There are plenty out there you can use that offer a variety of features like reminders and email scheduling.
By knowing what you are good at and utilizing those strengths to your advantage can help you overcome stress and manage anxiety. It just takes a little bit of digging.