Are you anxious? Not everyone experiences anxiety in the same way, so it’s not surprising that some anxiety management techniques work for some and not for others. Recently I found an old handout lying around the office, with no source quoted, so I apologize in advance to the original author. It talks about 3 “symptom clusters” for different types of anxiety:
- Distressing physical arousal — anxiety that’s felt in the body
- Tension, Stress and Dread — that “black cloud over my head” feeling
- Rumination — thoughts that go round and round
Here are some different anxiety management tools based on what sort of symptoms are being experienced:
For Distressing Physical Arousal — Body Symptoms
- Manage the Body
- Watch your diet, especially for CATS — caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and sugar (including artificial sweeteners) All of these can increase anxiety
- Get plenty of sleep
- Exercise — to burn off “stress chemicals” — fight or flight means your body is ready to “do something”, so give it something to do.
- Hormones — women, take note of where you are in your cycle. You may find that anxiety symptoms are worse for you at certain points.
For Tension, Stress, and Dread — Emotional Symptoms
For Rumination and Obsessive Thoughts
- Do a mental exercise called “container imagery”, where you see and name each worry, put in a box, put a lid and lock on it, and leave it there.
- Or use an actual written list, then put in a drawer. The AA program uses a “God Box”, to turn over worries to a higher power.
Hopefully these are tips you can use. Additionally, please see our main website for some specific information on anxiety. And for some excellent relaxation techniques, including how to do progressive relaxation, take a look here.