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Managing anxiety

Today I am going to discuss why anxiety doesn’t equal bad or something is wrong with you and five ways to help manage or cope with it.

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar? I have to get an A in all my classes, otherwise I won’t get into college. I can’t tell mom and dad because it might make them sad or angry? I don’t know why Jane didn’t talk to me during class. She was texting me before school. Sure I can do that for you, no problem, but you are already feeling overwhelmed.

As school comes to a close for the year it is not uncommon for anxiety levels to rise. It can happen again at the end of summer for the beginning of the next school yr. If your daughter is a senior and graduating this year she may feel more nervous and anxious about the next chapter in her life. Which is normal.

Anxiety related mental health disorders are higher in female than males.

The DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fifth edition) has a chapter on Anxiety disorders: Separation Anxiety (for younger children), selective mutism, specific phobias, social anxiety, panic disorder, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety, substance/medication-induced anxiety, anxiety disorder due to another medical condition, or other. The DSM V has a separate chapter on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Trauma-and Stressor-related disorders.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Diagnostic Criteria includes (per DSM V):

  • Excessive anxiety and worry, occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities
  • The individual finds it difficult to control the worry
  • The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms having been present for more days than not for the past six months):
  • Restless or feeling keyed up or on edge.
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbance
  • The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas  of functioning
  • The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or another medical condition
  • The disturbance is not better explained by another mental disorder

Five coping skills or tools to reduce anxiety

  1. Journaling-write down worries or fearful thoughts
  2. Listening to music-music that makes you feel more calm, happy or distract you
  3. Exercise-helps release tension, increase awareness regarding how you hold your body, and body posture can impact emotions. Yoga can increase mindfulness and breathing
  4. Talking to friends and family that you trust. Listeners are there to reflect what the speaker is saying vs fixing or rescuing the person
  5. Mindfulness practice-guided meditations, progressive muscle relaxation, sitting or walking meditations, and deep breathing techniques.
  6. Seek professional help to manage or break the cycle of getting stuck in the anxiety.

For more information about mindfulness practice please go to http://launchingyourdaughter.com and sign up for my newsletter.

Apps for your phones: Virtual Hope Box and Headspace