We all experience anxiety at one point or another. You know, the butterflies in the stomach, the sweaty palms, the feeling of dread, and that horrible out-of-body feeling you experience? There’s nothing wrong with being nervous; in fact, anxiety is the body’s way to protect itself from danger. However, for an unfortunate few, the anxiety does not go away as quickly as it should, but rather lingers like a dead body in the mind of the anxiety victim.
According to latest statistics, 40 million people in the U.S. are affected by an anxiety disorder. That’s a massive chunk of the population that is affected by a highly treatable disorder. The Massachusetts General Hospital outlines anxiety disorder in adolescents as follows:
“Panic disorder is a medical condition that causes a person to experience recurrent panic attacks and persistent concern about having future attacks. A panic attack is a brief period of intense fear or discomfort accompanied by distinct symptoms. An attack usually comes to an end gradually on its own and rarely lasts beyond 10 minutes. Symptoms may include heart palpitations, chest discomfort, sweating, trembling, nausea, numbness or tingling, hot/cold flashes, feeling short of breath, feeling dizzy, feeling disconnected from oneself, fear of losing control, or fear of dying. These symptoms, which feel very real to the person, likely reflect the body’s intense response to a strong “fight or flight” signal that is beyond the person’s conscious control.”
You have to understand that a panic attack is not like normal anxiety. It’s a completely different experience and will most definitely restrain you in your day-to-day living. There are many ways to deal with panic attacks, including a healthy lifestyle, daily exercise routine, and medication. One of the most efficient ways to deal with one of these sneaky panic attacks is to allow yourself to experience the fear. This might sound like a difficult one, but according to many anxiety disorder specialists, it is extremely important that you acknowledge the fear, label it as fear, and move on. This method takes time and practice, so you must already have conquered some of your anxiety in order to make this one work.
Another method, devised by Eckhart Tolle, allows you to take yourself out of the situation and experience the present. It’s a basic breathing exercise that is also used in meditation. Once you experience those horrible feelings, focus on breathing slowly and sufficiently. Do NOT focus on anything else, except the breaths entering and exiting your chest. This will pull you to the present moment and remove all of the unnecessary fear from the equation. This one works like a charm, but must be practiced on a daily basis to achieve its full potential.
The last, and most efficient method, has been declared as gospel by many anxiety sufferers. Once those dodgy thoughts and sensations pop into your head, focus on that anxiety hard as possible, and envision the anxiety traveling past you on a cloud. Call out the anxiety in your mind and label it with a name. You should have this thought linger there as long as possible, and then switch it out with a completely different label and thought. This method has a very small learning curve, but once you’re able to master it, you’ll be well on your way to conquer your anxiety.
It is extremely important that you do the above methods with the necessary support from an adult. If you’re stuck in a nervous rut, give your GP a call, he/she will be able to offer you alternative methods to overcome your fear. It’s never too late to ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with anxiety, your brain just isn’t working as it should!
Let us know in the comments below how you deal with anxiety.