How can I treat my anxiety, and start to feel better?
We instinctively seem to recognise anxiety when we have it, what we’re feeling, and how unpleasant it can be, but often struggle to describe what it actually is. It’s a slippery fish. Is it an emotional feeling, negative thinking, or a physical sensation? For most people, it’s a mix of all three.
Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion, but when it becomes excessive or chronic, it can interfere with daily activities and quality of life. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders affect around 31% of adults in the United States at some point in their lives.
As an example, if you’re a young professional dealing with job anxiety, you’re not alone. Many people experience anxiety related to work, especially in high-pressure environments. Symptoms of anxiety can include persistent worry, restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances. These symptoms can significantly affect your performance at work and your overall well-being.
Many people tend to know what’s causing their anxiety, often a life situation involving money or work, a relationship difficulty, or health concerns. And yet anxiety itself is a step beyond natural worry or concern and as it sets in, people begin to develop some or all of these symptoms:
- Feeling restless, wound-up, or on edge.
- Being easily fatigued.
- Having difficulty concentrating.
- Being irritable.
- Having headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches, or unexplained pains.
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry.
As these symptoms become entrenched the anxiety itself becomes a problem, often surpassing the original difficulties that triggered it. The more anxious you become, the less able you are to problem solve, reach out to other people or stick to habits that are known to keep us healthy. These principally are:
- Keeping a healthy diet
- Restricting alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and drugs
- Regular exercise
- Positive social contact
It’s a vicious cycle and because so many people suffer from it, it can be tempting for people to think that it’s just something that they have to put up with. This half-life can become a lonely, miserable place…
So what can you do?
The first thing needed is to acquaint yourself with the facts, the most important of which is that anxiety is treatable and curable. Put simply, you don’t have to continue to suffer the way you might be.
The second step is to appreciate that getting beyond a state of anxiety requires effort. The belief that you’re stuck with it until it magically lifts is likely to result in you staying totally stuck.
You may have heard that if you have anxious parents, you’ve inherited it from them, and there’s nothing you can do. This is not true. Anxiety and depression do both have significant genetic elements, but this doesn’t means that it cannot be treated, what it does mean is that some people have to work harder than others to get beyond it.
In psychotherapy, we often ask the question ‘where did you learn to be anxious?’ Some people find this surprising, but it’s a very useful question as it indicates that anxiety is extrinsic, and if you learned how to pick it up, you can learn to put it down. This is useful in a practical way and good for morale. Anxiety is often joined by its other partners in crime: Depression and Stress. I will be writing about these specifically in the upcoming weeks.
For some people, their anxiety becomes generalised, that is to say, it is pervasive, detaching itself from the original problematic causes and spreading across the whole of life like oil over water. This can happen to such an extent that people are so caught up in it they feel it all the time. Specific problem-solving becomes irrelevant because everything is the problem. Medication is often required in these cases.
The Consultant Psychiatrists with whom I work all recommend my Sound Therapy App Ed can Help… as part of a patient’s Self Help tool kit.
This is because:
- It is a powerful Self Treatment method, unlike any other.
- 95% of patients report good to outstanding results within 3 weeks
- It works alongside all other therapies and is available 24/7
People with anxiety often feel powerless over the way they feel and depend on others to help them feel better. Ed can Help… reverses this by being completely brain owner-operated, helping to develop a feeling of mastery and control over runaway anxiety symptoms. There is a free trial with Ed can Help, so download and begin to work on your anxiety.