Though there is a plethora of information available about how to deal with anxiety, the topic is never quite as simple as following steps 1-5 for success. This is because there are different forms of anxiety that individuals suffer from including social and general anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
One of the first, and most important steps in getting help, no matter what type of anxiety you might be dealing with, is a diagnosis. Until this happens, it can feel as if you are throwing darts at an unknown target, trying desperately to find help for this overwhelming condition.
It is important to schedule an appointment with a qualified mental health professional when you need a diagnosis. If you suspect that you’ve been struggling with anxiety symptoms, a medical professional will also be able to do a thorough evaluation including a complete physical exam, just to be sure that there are no underlying medical problems causing some or all of your symptoms.
Making that first appointment is the very hardest step for most people because it requires an admission that something is not right. Once the initial visit is complete, your doctor can prescribe effective anxiety medication and help you work on lifestyle changes such as sleep habits, diet, and activity levels that have been shown to have a dramatic effect on anxiety.
Here are some things your doctor might suggest:
- Movement – Getting regular exercise has been shown to help ease many anxiety systems and provide an overall sense of well-being. Most mental health professionals suggest that you work out anywhere from 3 – 5 days a week for 30 minutes at a time.
- Sleep – As it turns out, that 8 hours of sleep a night that your parents always nagged about is seriously important for anxiety sufferers. If part of your anxiety is actually about not being able to sleep, make sure to mention this to your doctor. There are many non-habit-forming sleep aids that they can suggest or prescribe so that you can get enough zzzs.
- Talk – You might spend a lot of time thinking that anxiety equals weakness, which it definitely does not. This thought process can lead people to work on hiding their anxiety from others around them. Sadly, this produces more anxiety instead of helping it go away. Instead of keeping it all to yourself, experiment with talking about your feelings. This does not mean you have to spill your heart to every stranger you meet. Just work on talking to your family or close friends about how you feel, what you fear and what might help. Just talking about it tends to lessen the severity.
- Connect – Having friends who understand is imperative if you struggle with how to deal with anxiety. Work on building safe connections at work, at home, and at school so that you will always be near someone who can help you if your anxiety symptoms get out of hand. Chances are high that others around you suffer from some of the same symptoms, so you might even be able to take turns giving each other a hand.
- Distract Yourself – Distracting yourself from anxiety is a difficult thing to learn, but it is highly effective for many. In order to do this, people become extreme planners. Each day or each week, they plan a full all-day schedule with healthy distractions. This may include planned activities with friends after work, exercise before work, podcasts to listen to, or puzzles to solve. Keeping busy is not the cure for anxiety for sure, but it does help cut down on your downtime when your mind tends to focus more on anxiety symptoms.
- Have Fun – Stressors do not always cause anxiety, but when they do, life can be very difficult. Take time to write down things that stress you out and see if you can find a way to make them fun. Even if the fun is only in your own mind, it might take the stress level down just enough to make life manageable.
Some examples of this might include hiding secret notes around the office without telling anyone else, wearing something unexpected as your underclothing just to make yourself smile or competing with yourself to get things done more quickly or in a different order than is typical.
According to experts, anxiety treatment can be 80 percent – 100 percent effective with the right combination of treatments and lifestyle changes. It is important to know, however, that your commitment to following up on recommendations is every bit as important as that first doctor visit. Remember that every step you take to learning more about your anxiety brings you one step closer to conquering it.
The qualified doctors at EZCare Clinic in San Francisco are well-versed in diagnosing anxiety, treating and following up with those who suffer from anxiety of all forms. One simple appointment might just make all the difference. Call (415) 966-0848 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are also accepted any day of the week from 11 am to 7 pm.