Written By Dr. Martin Rovers, Psychologist with Capital Choice Counselling Group
Anxiety is a normal response to events that elicit fear or worry. We all will feel anxious from time to time, whenever we are about to give speech, play in a sporting event, or have a difficult conversation. In fact, research has demonstrated that certain levels of anxiety can actually be helpful as it gives us the motivation to prepare for the event. Too little anxiety results in being unfocused, but too much anxiety results in tunnel vision. Anxiety that becomes more difficult to manage is when the levels are excessive to the actual trigger of the anxiety. If long-term or severe problems managing anxiety develop, such problems are classified as an Anxiety Disorder.
If you fall into this latter category, you know how devastating anxiety can be to your everyday life. You feel controlled by worry and fear, and limited by avoiding certain situations or things. It becomes a negative cycle in which you begin to feel anxious about becoming anxious. So what can you do to help manage your anxiety?
- Take deep breaths. The practice of deep breathing helps to stimulate our parasympathetic system, which is used to calm anxiety and fear. Counting to 5 for each inhale and exhale is a great way to regulate your breathing. Placing a hand on your chest and stomach helps as well, as it allows you to focus on breathing the air down into your stomach, as opposed to the more shallow breathing into your chest.
- Ground yourself. Notice your surroundings objectively. Are there three books on the shelf or two? This will help you to get unstuck out of your thoughts and move towards feeling less anxious.
- Exercise. This is one of those tips that we all know, but find so hard to implement. So make sure that you pick something you enjoy, and ask a friend to join you.
Often excessive anxiety is something that we cannot overcome on our own, and anxiety counselling can help. Sometimes we need a fresh perspective to help us get unstuck from negative thinking patters and to implement some of the changes in our life we would like to see. Capital Choice Counselling Group can connect you with an anxiety counsellor, simply click here. If your anxiety is preventing you from living your life the way you wish, we can help. Our Ottawa anxiety counsellors can help you deal with your fears and worries in an effective, productive manner. They can help you understand that, while anxiety is a normal human emotion, through anxiety counselling, you can change the way you react to it.