Stress and anxiety are commonplace in our society today, manifesting differently in almost every person. If left unchecked, they can negatively affect both your physical and mental health. Some struggle with short-term, high bouts of stress like panic attacks or anxiety attacks, while others may experience a feeling of low-level, chronic anxiety day in and day out.
If you are in the latter part of the population, you are not alone, and change is possible! In this article, we will discuss the difference between anxiety and panic, anxiety symptoms, stressors that contribute to anxiety, and tips to manage anxiety that just won’t seem to go away.
At re-origin, we can help you manage your anxiety by retraining your brain using science-backed neuroplasticity techniques. Members of re-origin have seen a 26% decrease in general anxiety symptoms in as little as six weeks by using our brain retraining technique. If you are interested in learning more about the program, you can try our free demo (no credit card required).
Before we dive into management of chronic anxiety, let’s differentiate anxiety and a panic attack. This will help bring awareness to what you are feeling so you can address it accordingly.
While anxiety more often has a clear trigger, which may be things like work stress, financial burdens, or relationship challenges, panic attacks occur suddenly without a specific cause, and they usually only last a few minutes.
Physical symptoms and even health complications caused by a panic attack can include hot flashes, extremely elevated heart rate or shortness of breath, lightheadedness, chills, or even a sense of impending doom. While panic attacks have a quick onset with no apparent cause, they are more likely to occur in people with concurrent mental illness. A high frequency of panic attacks can indicate a panic disorder.
Anxiety symptoms are usually a bit less intense, albeit just as challenging. These symptoms include, but are not limited to:
Experiencing anxiety on a daily basis can happen due to chronic exposure to stressors in your daily life. This can look like, but is not limited to:
It is important to recognize that some of these reasons may be fully out of your control, so give yourself grace when considering your experience. The best thing you can do is focus on what is in your control and make adjustments as you are able.
While it can be highly beneficial to seek the help of a mental health professional when you experience anxiety that won’t go away, we understand that that is not always accessible for everyone. Aside from things like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), talk therapy, or psychiatry, here are re-origin’s top 8 ways to manage anxiety on your own:
Neuroplasticity, also known as brain retraining, is the practice of building new neural pathways in the brain. Our brains are incredibly malleable, and our thoughts and behaviors can be modified with self-directed work. When anxiety begins to creep in, it can be helpful to take a moment to pause and remove yourself from the situation.
When you do this, you create the space to consciously choose how you want to respond. This may look like calling a friend, partaking in your favorite activity, or simply taking a few deep breaths. By breaking the old pathway of overthinking your anxiety and choosing not to allow the feeling to impact your behavior, you are creating new neural pathways in your brain. Over time, feelings of anxiety will no longer impact you to the level they did in the past.
There is an endless amount of relaxation techniques to choose from, including deep breathing, yoga or meditation, aromatherapy, or watching your favorite TV show. If none of them seem to help, try to think outside of the box.
Perhaps a very slow, meandering walk or simply listening to your favorite music. The key to this one is to really listen without multitasking. Choosing activities that you can bring full presence and awareness to can help calm your nervous system and even minimize anxious thoughts for improved mental health.
One of the most challenging yet rewarding ways to manage your anxiety is to accept the fact that it exists. When you accept your circumstances, you can stop resisting them when they happen.
Famous psychiatrist Carl Yung coined the phrase, “What you resist persists.” Pushing away anxiety is like holding a beach ball underwater. It exhausts you, and at the end of the day, it will reach the surface. Allowing your anxiety to be present without judgment or resistance usually helps you feel more calm and in control.
By becoming aware of what may be triggering your anxiety, you can start to shift the way you behave. You may notice you feel more anxious after drinking caffeine or interacting with a certain person, thus allowing you to choose to change the way you approach those situations. Often, triggers are subconscious, so this will take time to unravel. You don’t need to know it all at once to create change!
Sleep can be elusive to those who experience anxiety, so while most will say to get a full 8-9 hours of sleep per night, at re-origin, we recommend you simply get “good enough” sleep. If you struggle to fall asleep at night, allow the fact that you are in bed resting to be enough and believe that you will be well rested enough to function the next day.
Fighting to fall asleep only turns on your fight or flight response, in turn making it harder to sleep. Allow yourself to find peace in your present moment, even if it doesn’t feel ideal.
But don’t join just any support group. They are not all made the same. Have you ever heard the phrase by Jim Rohn, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with?”
If you spend time with people who are constantly focused on how bad their anxiety is, you will fall into that same habit. Find a group that uplifts you, encourages you, and wants to see you heal! Re-origin offers our customized Momentum Groups to do just that!
Find ways to take your mind off of your anxiety. Contributing to a cause outside of yourself can produce tons of feel-good hormones like Dopamine, Serotonin, and Oxytocin, and it can get you out of your head!
Most importantly, understand that you are a human being, and your level of anxiety does not dictate who you are. Wake up every day with the drive to do your best in managing your well-being, and understand that it may look different every day. On your hard days, be extra good to yourself. On your good days, celebrate how great you feel! This will improve your self-esteem and motivation to keep going. You got this!
The first step toward managing anxiety that won’t go away is the acceptance that you are experiencing it, so you are already on the right track! All of the suggestions listed above are simply different ways to think and behave when you notice your anxiety—conscious practices in retraining your brain.
Re-origin offers our very own self-directed neuroplasticity program that is suited to help you dive deep into managing your chronic anxiety. If you are interested in learning more, you can try our free demo (no credit card required).
Panic and Anxiety: Do You Know the Difference? | McLean Hospital. (2022, March 26). https://www.mcleanhospital.org/essential/panic-anxiety-difference
Anxiety signs and symptoms. (n.d.-b). Mind. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/anxiety-and-panic-attacks/symptoms/
Anxiety disorders – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic. (2018, May 4). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961
Tips and Strategies to Manage Anxiety and Stress | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. (n.d.). https://adaa.org/tips