Managing Your Anxiety

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July 21st, 2008

You know the feeling. Your heart starts pounding and your chest feels like something is pushing down on it, making it hard to breathe. You’re panicked, you want to go home. Those who deal with anxiety are all too familiar with this experience. Yet just because you suffer from panic attacks and anxiety doesn’t mean you have to miss out on fun events, experiences and socializing. There are ways that you can help yourself to not get rid of but bring your anxiety under control so you can live the life you want to live. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

  • Find your triggers. Are there certain things that always set off your anxiety? Start paying attention to what makes you feel anxious and stressed out. Once you know the root cause you can start to keep these kinds of triggers under control.
  • Get in regular workouts. Working out is a great way to get rid of stress and to boost your energy and natural endorphins. It can also help you break out of patterns that keep you stuck feeling anxious and make for a better day all around.
  • Be a planner. Are there things in your life that make you feel anxious and upset. Instead of letting that worry fester, develop a plan to deal with the situation. It’s a much more constructive way to handle anything that’s bothering you.
  • Just breathe. You’d be surprised what employing a simple breathing technique can do to relieve your anxiety. When you’re stressed out and anxious you take quick, shallow breathes. Concentrate on your breathing and take slow, deep breaths instead. For some people, adding in visualizations while doing this can help as well.
  • Slow down and think. Then rethink. Anxiety often stems from a cyclone of negative thoughts that build on each other and make something little into something big. Work at re-framing your thoughts and seeing things in a different light. Be your own best friend and take a serious look at the way you’re thinking. Is it logical? Are there better ways to think about the issue? It’s likely there are.

You may not be able to conquer your anxiety simply, but you can learn to manage it so that it doesn’t’ affect your daily life quite so much and doens’t keep you from being present, taking advantage of opportunities and finding success. Whether you’re a medical student or well into this workforce, try out some of these methods the next time you’re feeling upset and anxious.

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