- Danielle Matthew
How to Get Relief from Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S. - affecting over 18% of Americans who are eighteen and older and 25% of children between thirteen and eighteen years old. While anxiety disorders are very common and they’re highly treatable, less than 37% of sufferers receive treatment*.
It’s not uncommon for those with anxiety to feel that others won’t understand, fear they won’t be taken seriously or be afraid that something worst is wrong with them. Many people with anxiety feel alone as they suffer in silence.
What causes anxiety?
Genetics, brain chemistry, personality and life events can all have an impact on the development of an anxiety disorder. Life events that can trigger symptoms of anxiety include relationships, work, finances and health concerns.
Experiencing anxiety or having an anxiety disorder does not mean that you’re a “weak” person. You should not feel ashamed or afraid to ask for help. It’s likely that someone you know may have an anxiety disorder but has not made others aware.
Ways to get anxiety relief.
Anxiety can cause a constant feeling of unsettledness, cause debilitating distress and make you feel helpless. It’s not uncommon for someone with anxiety to also suffer from depression.
Talk to someone you trust.
This person may be a spouse, partner or other family member, close friend or someone more neutral such as a pastor, rabbi, counselor or therapist. It’s important to have someone who you feel safe and comfortable sharing about what’s really going on in your life, and who you can turn to when life feels overwhelming and you need a listening ear or some help.
Self-care is important for everyone – and can be especially helpful for those who suffer from anxiety. Self-care can mean different things to different people, but ultimately, it’s choices that we deliberately make to move us forward in a positive way to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. These can include:
Ensuring a healthy work/life balance
Follow-up with medical care and annual exams
Practice relaxation exercises and meditation
Exercising (choosing a form that you enjoy)
Not saying “yes” when you really want to say “no” (don’t overcommit)
It’s important to differentiate between self-care and “self-comfort.” There are some activities that may provide temporary comfort, but they actually move us backward vs. forward with feelings of regret, worry or being unwell. Over indulgence often falls in this category.
Practice positive self-talk.
Positive self-talk can be a powerful way to increase your confidence, curb negative thoughts and remind yourself that you’re going to be ok. Examples of positive self-talk include:
“I can do it.”
“I’m going to be ok.”
“I’m proud of myself for trying. That took courage.”
“I’ve gotten through this before. I’ll get through it again.”
“My mistakes give me great opportunities to learn.”
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
Therapy can be an effective treatment for ongoing anxiety – especially when nothing you’ve done seems to help, or when your own coping skills stops working or becomes far less effective than they were in the past. Going to therapy is not a sign of weakness and it does not mean that they’re crazy.
About the Author:
Danielle Matthew is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who helps adolescents, adults, couples and families who are in pain due to issues such as anxiety, severe stress, low self-esteem, or depression. With over 20 years of experience, Danielle authored Amazon Parenting Best-Seller, The Empowered Child: How to Help Your Child Cope, Communicate, and Conquer Bullying, and is the Director of The Empowerment Space Bullying Therapy Program in Los Angeles. Featured in Huffington Post and TODAY.com, Danielle has appeared on Fox, ABC and CBS Morning Shows and Mom Talk Radio, and is the expert contributor to Washington Post’s article: “Kids love to ‘roast’ each other. But when does good-natured teasing become bullying?”
* Anxiety and Depression Association of America, https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics.