It’s said that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. But, there's definitely one more certainty: anxiety. So, how do you get anxiety relief?
Everyone experiences anxiety, with the most common age group being 30- to 44-year-olds.
Do you fit into this category? Does anxiety have an overwhelming pull in your life?
Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take for lasting anxiety relief.
Adults are the most common demographic to experience anxiety — but it doesn't have to be a struggle.
But first things first, is anxiety always a bad thing? The short answer is no.
Throughout the course of a day, you face various situations. And how you handle them tells you if your anxiety level is healthy or unhealthy.
After all, there are times when anxiety is an appropriate emotion.
For example, say you're driving on a slippery road. In that case, having anxiety would be a great motivator to do something good, like slowing down.
Or, before you cross a busy street, a healthy amount of anxiety would cause you to make sure you have a firm grip on your child’s hand before you proceed.
Being anxious, temporarily, in these kinds of situations would be considered normal.
On the other hand, if you always have that sense of a foreboding feeling, that should alert you that something is amiss.
Symptoms of extreme anxiety in adults.
To figure out if your anxiety is normal or out of control, here are some symptoms of extreme anxiety:
Always feeling nervous
Having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom
Experiencing an increased heart rate
Rapid breathing (hyperventilating)
Feeling weak or tired
Struggling to concentrate or think about anything other than the present worry
Since everyone experiences anxiety — even babies as young as six to 12 months of age experience anxiety in the form of separation anxiety — there's a lot to be anxious about, especially as people get older, juggling careers, families, bills, and responsibilities.
With that said, here are 4 simple steps for anxiety relief for adults.
1. Stop and take a breath.
When anxiety flares up, pause for a moment and think about what's making you feel so nervous.
Do you think about something that occurred in the past, or are you worrying about something in the future? Many times this is the case.
If so, try to clear your mind of worry and bring your awareness back to the present by practicing a simple breathing technique like this one:
Get into a comfortable seated position or lie down on your back. Close your eyes and inhale slowly and deeply through your nose.
Keeping your shoulders relaxed, feel your belly expand with each breath. With lips slightly pursed, exhale slowly through your mouth, keeping your jaw relaxed.
With each breath in, think to yourself, “Be,” and with each breath out, focus on the word "present."
As you repeat this breathing pattern five to 10 times, focus on your breath. Then, take notice of how you feel throughout your body.
As you breathe deeply, if there are areas that feel tenser than others, imagine that your body is releasing the stress and tension.
Before you end your exercise, take some time to notice how you feel physically, mentally, and emotionally.
2. Identify what's troubling you.
The uncomfortable feelings of anxiety, such as a rapid heart rate, trembling, or chest pains, are usually more apparent than understanding what's causing your anxiousness.
Some possible stressors could be:
Chaotic schedules (coordinating your schedule with your children’s school, activities, or sports schedules)
Long commutes and rushed mornings
Personal problems such as health, relationships, or life changes (aging parents)
3. Address what you can change.
Many times, you might unnecessarily worry about things that haven’t even happened or may not ever occur. For example, worrying about if you will get cancer or if your kids will get into an accident.
If you're plagued by exaggerated worry, take some steps to turn off those anxious thoughts.
Challenge those thoughts by asking yourself the following questions:
Is there evidence that the thought is true?
Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
How probable is it that what I’m fearing will actually happen?
How will worrying help me?
A productive, solvable worry is usually something you can take action on right away.
Evaluate if what you're worrying about is solvable, brainstorm to think of possible solutions, and then develop a plan of action.
For example, you're having a hard time paying your bills. Therefore, using the steps above, you figure out that a flexible payment plan would be helpful.
You call the creditor and ask if this is possible. Once you have a plan in place and start doing something about your problem, you will feel much less anxious.
4. Redirect your attention to something less anxiety-provoking.
Sometimes, chronic worriers use worry to try and predict the future as a way of preventing unpleasant surprises and thinking you can control the outcome.
Unfortunately, this does not work. And besides, focusing on worst-case scenarios is only going to keep you from enjoying the good things going on in your present world right now.
So, to interrupt the worry cycle, get up and do something to give yourself a break from the relentless worry.
Try exercising, meditation, or talking to a friend. Watching a funny movie is always a great choice, too.
Use grounding exercises such as playing a memory game, using all five senses to describe in detail your surroundings, or think of a common task in your mind and go through the process step by step.
You can only control yourself.
And lastly, recognize that, sometimes, all you can control is your effort and your attitude. By putting your energy into the things you can control, you’ll be much more effective in finding lasting relief.
Being proactive now by following these simple steps to managing your anxiety can help you feel like you have a bit more control over any situation.
Kris Henderson is a personal development coach. The easiest way to start taking control of your anxiety is to take the FREE 5-Day Anxiety Detox Challenge at My Anxiety Link. If you would like more personalized support, contact her at [email protected] or make an appointment online.
This article was originally published at This article is from my personal website: My Anxiety Link. Reprinted with permission from the author.