Anxiety is a common emotion that all of us experience sometimes. Most people feel anxious before a writing a big test, going on a first date, or giving an important presentation. But when anxiety begins to create significant distress in a person’s life, they may be experiencing an anxiety condition. Anxiety is incredibly common among Canadians. According to Statistics Canada, 10.1% of Canadians aged 15 and older report symptoms in-line with an anxiety disorder. Thankfully, anxiety is very treatable and counselling can help. Here are 5 tips for dealing with anxiety:
- Skip the caffeine. Caffeine is a drug that mimics the effects of anxiety causing a jittery feeling and your heart rate to increase. Most of us don’t realize the effect our morning coffee (or three!) has on us. Try reducing your coffee and tea intake and see how that affects you.
- Practice meditation. Meditation involves deeply concentrating on the present experience. It can create an extremely relaxed state. Meditating allows us to focus on the present moment and let go of the stresses of every day life for a few moments. If meditation is new for you, it may be easier to begin with a guided meditation. Check out the youtube channel “Honest Guys” to try it out.
- Learn some relaxation techniques. It is impossible to be anxious and relaxed at the same time. Learning some relaxation tools can be a helpful way to calm yourself when anxiety hits. Check out this website to learn how to do a relaxation technique called progressive muscle relaxation: http://www.anxietybc.com/self-help/how-do-progressive-muscle-relaxation
- Face your fears. When we feel anxious, our natural response is to avoid whatever it is that we’re anxious about. For instance, if you’re anxious about going to a party, you may decide that it is easier to just not go at all. While this does make you feel better for a bit, it ends up reinforcing your fear of going to the party. its important to not shy away from your fears but face them head on – they’re usually not as bad as you think they’ll be.
- Challenge your thoughts. When we feel anxious, our thoughts tend to become very negative and worrisome. We may think something like, “If I go to the party, everyone is going to stare at me and think I’m a loser”. Try to notice these thoughts and then replace them with more neutral and realistic thoughts. You could replace it with a thought like this: “If I go to the party, its pretty unlikely that people will just stop and stare at me. I also have no idea what they’ll think about me!” This is a much more helpful and realistic way of thinking.
To learn about how to incorporate these and other techniques into your life, call or email now to book an appointment with us.
This blog was written by:
B.A. Psyc, M.Ed. Counsel
Registered Clinical Counsellor
Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services