Controlling Anxiety: Techniques That Can Help

Anxiety can stop you in your tracks. The physical and emotional sensations of anxiety and fear grab your energy, your attention, and rob you of the quality of life you deserve. Anxiety can manifest physically in many ways including: chest pain, racing heart/pulse, upset stomach (poor digestion,) rapid breathing, increased blood pressure, sweating, cold hands and feet, neck/back pain, loss of concentration, feelings of extreme fear and possibly thoughts of heart problems. Prolonged anxiety and fear can lead to depression, loss of energy, and desperation that you may want to “escape.” People “escape” by self-medicating with alcohol, medications, drugs, food, and other possibly risky behaviors. (Many people who have substance abuse challenges are suffering from under controlled anxiety which can lead to abuse and dependence on medications or illegal substances.)

Feeling “out of control” is a common description of the physical and emotional state of anxiety. Getting back in control of body and mind is the desired result. People who have the motivation to get back in control can benefit from some basic information and the willingness to do some work to create awareness regarding the personal manifestations of anxiety and then learning the ways to control it to minimize, if not eliminate, the anxiety.

Awareness is half the battle. If you are aware of the the way your body responds when you start to experience anxiety and how your body’s “flight/fight response” generates this habituated pattern will be a huge start. Reading articles about the “flight/Fight response” (also known as the physiology of stress) will show you how your primitive survival mechanisms can get out of control in your response to life’s stressors so triggering the anxiety response. Every one of the physical and emotional manifestations can be reduced and controlled, but fear can intensify these sensations for the suffers of anxiety. Medications for anxiety are designed to reverse these physical symptoms but do not offer good tools for prevention or for a sense of personal control over these complaints. You can beat this!

The second part of the anxiety control program is to learn how to physically and emotionally relax leading to personal control over the anxiety response. This requires dedication and practice. Most people will require 8-12 weeks of regular daily practice to begin to turn the corner on the habituated fears and physical symptoms of anxiety. For example, learning to go opposite the anxiety response by learning to slow your heart rate and to warm your hands/feet (by improving blood flow through relaxed, dialated blood vessels) requires the focus on “letting go,” slowing your mind, and imagining the warming (or pulse) into your extremities (fingers/toes.) You can learn to do this! More information about how to do this and the technique of temperature training biofeedback can assist you and can be found on the “Articles” page at the Stress Education Center’s website

With practice and some mastery of your stress/anxiety response, the next step can include a “desensitization” to any anxiety invoking stimuli. Yes, even the fear of public speaking or flying can be reduced and controlled. For this, you may want a coach or counselor to assist you but the principles are simple, but powerful. The following through will help you to beat your anxiety and then give you back the control over your body and your life.

Contact the Stress Education Center if you want more information and coaching on how to make this personalized for your specific requirements. Please take good care of yourself. AND, remember, you can beat anxiety! I hope that you find the very best anxiety control program which matches you with the most effective anxiety control techniques. It is worth the effort!

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