by Mary Seaquist, AMFT
Are you or one of your children experiencing increased anxiety?
Is anxiety starting to control your life?
Do anxious thoughts prevent you from thinking clearly and responding calmly?
Is anxiety taking a toll on your relationships with others?
Anxiety often spikes with changes like going back to school, losing or starting a job, a shift in relationships, or other sudden life changes. Additionally, our fast-paced culture promotes anxiety. Being busy, productive, efficient, always working and doing with a seemingly never-ending supply of energy is applauded by others. Anxiety has become widespread, affecting millions in our fast-paced technology-based society. The good news is that anxiety can be managed!
Anxiety looks and feels different for everyone. Anxiety symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety (mayoclinic.org, n.d.)
Anxiety symptoms in children and teens often show up in other ways like being clingy, distant, over or under eating, stomach aches, headaches, trouble sleeping or bad dreams and other behaviors that are not characteristic of your child.
Symptoms may start during childhood or teen years and continue into adulthood or start in adulthood. Life stressors can increase anxiety symptoms and trauma responses.
When to be concerned and get help from mental health professionals:
- Anxiety symptoms are interfering with relationships
- Anxiety symptoms are negatively affecting your ability to perform everyday life tasks at home, work, or school
- Anxiety reactions are out of proportion to the actual danger, such as avoiding people, places, or situations
Seek a mental health professional when symptoms are bothersome or concerning.
Tips to help manage anxiety:
- Relax (breathing & grounding techniques, meditation, yoga, read, journal)
- Connect with others and share thoughts, feelings, fears
- Simplify (prioritize tasks and eliminate unnecessary tasks)
- Learn to say “no” to events that could create more anxiety
- Develop a healthy thought process
- Work towards balance in all aspects of life