Are you in need of anxiety management?
You are not alone! This year millions of people have faced unprecedented challenges in their career, their health, and at home. This has really been a year like no other.
So, it’s to be expected to be in need of a little anxiety management. Even me, a mental health blogger, has been needing to try a few new things in this area. Don’t be embarrassed. And know that there is help out there!
Thank you so much to a fellow mental health writer, Patrick, for sharing this insight. I appreciate it.
Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.
A year like no other
In the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic is still in full swing and is showing no signs of stopping. With more than 5 million infections as of mid-August 2020, the thought of returning to work can be nerve-racking.
As employers are reopening their workplaces, you may be in need of anxiety management and even dread about returning to work. The 24-hour news cycle has bombarded viewers with stories about entire departments becoming sick with COVID-19 and needing to be quarantined.
Even if people don’t experience symptoms, quarantine could still be financially and emotionally worrisome. People may worry about losing their jobs, being isolated in their homes with little to no human contact, and other things.
All these worries could take a toll. For anxiety management, some individuals might turn to alcohol and drugs as soothing mechanisms. But these actions could make things worse. Using substances to cope could lead to addiction that requires the assistance of a drug or alcohol treatment program.
Fortunately, there are other, healthier options for anxiety management. If you’re concerned about returning to work, there are numerous things you can do to quell your anxiety and focus on the positive.
How do we put things into perspective?
One step toward controlling and defeating anxiety is to put your situation into perspective. What does that mean? It means taking inventory of the situation.
If you are called to return to work, try to think about the positive aspects of the situation and be realistic. You could remind yourself that you and your colleagues will likely be required to wear face masks, which can reduce the spread of COVID-19 drastically. At the same time, many employers are required to implement social distancing measures that keep individuals away from each other and prevent large gatherings.
Other promising aspects are that many employers are required to perform tests on employees, check their temperatures, and create strict protocols to handle situations where people test positive for COVID-19. Yet, even when considering these things, it may still be difficult to stop worrying.
Why is it so difficult to stop worrying?
Ending our worries is easier said than done, of course. Our brains are hardwired to anchor onto certain stimuli.
When making decisions, we might give too much weight to early information we receive and discount later information we encounter, even if it’s more useful or accurate than that initial information. This bias is known as the anchoring effect.
The exact function or reason for the anchoring effect isn’t entirely understood, but you can use it to turn your anxiety around. Even though this exact process can make anxiety stick, it can also be used to get rid of it.
How can we use anchoring bias for anxiety management?
Using the anchoring bias to reduce anxiety is increasingly popular among therapists and mental health professionals. This process is known as neuro-linguistic programming or neurolinguistic programming (NLP). Its promoters include Michael Carroll, who also began a course for others to use the technique. To use NLP for anxiety management, you could:
1) Sit down and focus on the feeling you desire. Is it peace? Is it happiness? Try to find a positive mental state and focus on that.
2) Think back to an experience where you felt that emotion you want to feel. Close your eyes and vividly picture that moment and all the details you can remember.
3) Find or think of an anchor that includes your senses. This could be a bracelet you wear, a certain smell, or something else. The sensation just needs to be persistent in your life and somewhat accessible.
4) Then, dive deep into your memory and try to relive that experience. Think about the sensations and what you saw, heard, tasted, smelled, and touched.
5) Now test your anchor’s effectiveness, go back to your anchor, and focus on it. See if that anchor invites any similar feelings to the positive ones you desired. If it doesn’t, that’s okay. It takes time and repetition to become skilled at the technique.
Why is practicing mindfulness useful in anxiety management?
Perhaps one of the most effective forms of anxiety management that can be practiced anywhere at any time is mindfulness. Countless research has proven that mindfulness reduces anxiety and symptoms of depression in many people. So, how does mindfulness work?
There are many forms and styles of mindfulness, but the overall goal is to place your awareness on the present moment and to reduce your brain activity to create a calmer state. In many cases, these states are associated with brain states close to daydreaming and can be measured directly through the production of alpha waves in the brain.
To practice this technique, you could explore meditation or more active varieties where you take a walk and place your awareness on your breath or a fixed object.
These methods are all healthy forms of anxiety management. Even then, many individuals might turn to substance abuse and other unhealthy coping mechanisms to try to soothe their fears. Returning to work may make us nervous, but there are ways to acknowledge and minimize our worries — and stay safe.
About the Author
Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.
worldometers.info – Reported Cases and Deaths by Country, Territory, or Conveyance
cnbc.com – Study: The Most and Least Effective Face Masks to Use During the Pandemic
pon.harvard.edu – The Anchoring Effect and How It Can Impact Your Negotiation
anxiety.org – Understanding Neuro-Linguistic Programming
pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – The Effect of Mindfulness-Based Therapy on Anxiety and Depression: A Meta-Analytic Review
sleepdisordersguide.com – Brain Waves | Types of Brainwaves | Alpha Brain Waves
Thanks again, Patrick, for sharing these thoughts! I really appreciate your amazing insight.
Have you given mindfulness a try? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments below! Also, if you found this post helpful, please share it on social media. You can do that easily with the buttons at the bottom of the page.
If you are looking for additional help with anxiety management, considering ordering my new anxiety e-book! You can get a copy for only $8 USD by clicking the picture below.