Tools for Dealing with Anxiety – Part 1 Overview

Tools for Dealing with Anxiety – Part 1 Overview

Before I begin talking about tools for dealing with anxiety I must make a disclaimer – I am not a doctor or psychologist and have no training in these areas. Before you make any changes to medicine, diet, or exercise make sure to consult your physician to make sure that you are making the right decisions for you and your health.

That being said the tools I am going to share I have gleaned from my experience dealing with anxiety and my journey through counseling and self-education in this area.

There are four main areas of your life that you need to focus on in order to deal with and overcome anxiety. I will write a blog post on each area in order to give more clarification to each. In this post I would just like to touch on each one to lay out my method.

As you go along reading these posts, and hopefully acting on them, please keep in mind that your anxiety did not start over night, and the habits you formed to deal with that anxiety, right or wrong, were not instituted over night. Anxiety comes about over time after many stressful moments and because of habits formed in an attempt to deal with those stressors. Changing those habits and developing new ones will not happen overnight either. It will take time to retrain your brain to think differently, and time to practice these new techniques, so that they become habit. Be patient and forgiving with yourself as you go along.

The four areas that I will discuss as necessary to overcome anxiety are 1) Habits of Thinking, 2) Diet, 3) Physical Activity, and 4) Spiritual Dimensions.

Briefly, Habits of Thinking focuses on changing negative thinking into proactive and optimistic thinking in order to deal with stress in a more healthy manner. Anxiety in small, manageable levels is natural and even good and necessary. Anxiety tells us when there is something wrong and gives us a cue that we need to be cautious about some exterior danger. It tells us we need to act to avoid some harmful circumstance. But, too much anxiety, and anxiety that gets out of control is unhealthy. Focusing on where we can act in a positive manner helps to minimize the anxiety back to a reasonable and manageable level.

In order to feel good and deal with stress our bodies must be working properly. We must have the proper fuel and energy to deal with the stress of life. Our health relies on providing our bodies with the proper substances it needs not only to sustain ourselves, but also to thrive. Proper nutrition is key to controlling anxiety and many studies have linked poor nutrition to many mental health issues including anxiety.

Exercise and physical activity may be the most important aspect to good mental health and greatest stress reliever. Physical activities allows for the release of endorphins which stimulates positive feelings and reduces pain and stress (http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=55001). If you want to feel better quickly and sustain positive feelings start exercising now and do it regularly.

Finally, the spiritual dimension. By this I am not talking specifically about religious practices, though if you are inclined in this manner they can certainly be a positive force, instead I am talking about the recognition of the oneness of mankind and the recognition of our special place in mankind and in the larger universe. Spirituality in the sense that I will cover is about looking outside yourself, seeing a larger reality, and seeing your special place in that reality. This can help put your life into context, help you to not worry about the small things, and help to grow a feeling of gratitude that will help you when life is at its worse.

My next article will cover in detail my keys and strategies for retaining your mind to think differently and create habits of positive and proactive thought. Please make sure to leave comments and ask questions. Remember there are other people out there dealing with the same problems and issues and by sharing these commonalities we can help each other to overcome our anxiety and fear.

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