Does the word "anxiety" cause you anxiety? Does it make your heart rate speed up, with sweat breaking out and a racing mind? Do you begin to imagine the worst and lose track of the rational part of your mind?
You aren't alone.
Over 18% of the US population is living life with anxiety, and women are twice as likely to fall into this category.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, less than 40% of those suffering from anxiety seek treatment.
Here are five ways to help cope with your anxiety:
Simply recognizing that there is a problem helps stop the downward spiral. Saying "I am not okay" and being aware of how you are feeling can help you calm your thoughts to stop focusing on the negative. Naming your feelings (ie. 'I'm feeling scared / worried / sad / upset / angry / etc. about this right now.') helps immediately step out of the anxiety cycle.
Deep breathing and focusing on your breaths helps calm your mind. Even if you just take a deep breath when you start to feel anxious, you are likely to feel better at that moment.
Regular exercise helps calm an anxious mind. Whether it be running, high energy workouts, or yoga designed to benefit anxiety, the options are unlimited. Just getting your heart rate going can help calm the mind and relax the body to cope with anxious thoughts. Get your body moving to help take the edge off.
Use the popular 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique: Identify five things you see around you. Identify four things you can touch around you. Identify three things you can hear. Identify two things you can smell. Identify one thing you can taste.
Usually, by the time you have identified everything, your mind will have calmed itself and already refocused away from the negative, grounding itself in your surroundings.
Finally, talking about and being open with your anxiety feelings with others helps. Feelings of anxiety are common among all of us, so you might be surprised at how well others around you can relate. Having a circle of people you can turn to when your anxiety peeks helps you get through it quicker and easier.