Anxiety seems to be this HUGE buzz word that gets thrown around these days. Everybody’s got it, but what does it mean for you really?!
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorder 5th edition, generalized anxiety disorder can mean:
- difficulty controlling your worries
- excessive worry lasting for a period of 6 months or more
- three or more of the following 6 symptoms: restlessness/keyed up/on edge, easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, or sleep disturbance
- the anxiety or worry is not more directly correlated to the use of specific medicine, substance, or other psychological factor
Above are symptoms for Generalized Anxiety Disorder, but there are also multiple different types of anxiety disorders you might fall into. Individuals also may experience symptoms related to these various anxiety disorders: Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or Social Anxiety Disorder.
Anxiety is one of those disorders that allows people to live in the “What if’s?” of life rather than living in their truth. Thought Challenging questions, fact-checking, self-guided monologues (actually verbalize these – don’t let them stay in your mind), and creating gratitude lists can be really helpful ways of combating some of these anxieties. Gratitude Journals (for a really cool one – click here!) help individuals identify the blessings of the here and now, rather than living in the “what ifs” and “thens.” Journaling in general can be a great tool to get those “la la land” thought process out of ethereal space in the mind, and out in the open to be confronted and challenged with truth.
Our brains are wired to notice discomfort, and wired to identify “what’s wrong” and this often happens SO FAST (via the amygdala sending signals to release stress hormones) that we often have difficulty even finishing our thoughts to be able to appropriately challenge them. This is why I usually use lots of various mindfulness practices with my clients to get them in tune with their minds and bodies and to bring them back to the present moments.
If you’re interested in learning more about mindfulness, or how to deal with your anxieties you can schedule a time to chat with me for a counseling consult, firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can check out some of the amazing resources below:
Mindfulness & Christianity
10 Mindful Minutes Journal
Anxious For Nothing, by Max Lucado
Thinking Fast & Slow, by Cognitive Psychologist Daniel Kahneman
The Perfect You: A Blueprint for Identity
Switch on Your Brain, Dr. Caroline Leaf
These resources above are great starting points, but sometimes we all really need to process out loud with another human being in order to feel validated, hear, or to begin understanding ourselves or the world around us. If this is something of interest to you- please don’t hesitate to reach out.