One of the problems I have found when dealing with anxiety is not knowing why I'm anxious. Overall, throughout the years, I've been able to build my resilience to stress, and as a result, I can cope more effectively when I'm experiencing a stressful situation. But, part of the problem with having an anxiety disorder is that, even if you've felt fairly well for quite some time, you can still experience a resurgence of anxiety symptoms. Even during the happiest times in my life, I've had to be aware of anxiety triggers and how they may affect me when I least expect it, even when I don't know why I'm anxious.
Anxiety Symptoms – Treating Anxiety
I have experienced anxiety and loss. It's been about five years since the loss of my father, and this year, I've been reminded that grief takes its own route and doesn't operate on a schedule -- particularly with regard to anxiety and loss.
One of the most significant symptoms of anxiety that I have struggled with has been hypervigilance. Hypervigilance pertains to being on guard and alert for threats in the environment and may result in engaging in behavior with the purpose of preventing danger.1
It's the start of a new year, and it's a good time to reflect on the previous year and the things I learned about my anxiety. It's also a good time to reflect on strategies that I used for coping with anxiety, what worked well, and what didn't. Here's how I handle anxiety in the new year.
I often find that I experience high levels of anxiety during the holidays. This can make it difficult to enjoy the holidays and to experience the season's festivities. It's also difficult to appreciate the holidays with elevated anxiety.
It's the holidays again, and I've found that this is a good time of year to not only say thanks but actively practice gratitude to help my anxiety. I've learned that gratitude can be a very powerful emotion and can actually help reduce stress and lessen the symptoms of anxiety that I experience.
Anxiety can be related to the season. When I was younger, I remember that when summer started to turn into fall, the days ended, and nights started earlier, and the weather began to get cooler, I would experience a change in my mood that I now recognize was related to my anxiety. I would often find that I felt down and unsettled, and this overall feeling of discomfort that I sometimes couldn't attribute to anything in particular. I didn't realize that the season changes contributed to my anxiety.
Recently, I received news that someone I am close to is very sick. I think one of the most difficult anxiety triggers that I may be confronted with is when someone I care about is ill.
Regret and anxiety often go together for me. One of the challenging aspects of anxiety is the focus on past events. The difficulty with this is that it often prompts you to focus on past events that were stressful, troubling, and uncomfortable instead of positive experiences that brought about good feelings. Accompanying those memories of past events are feelings of regret and anxiety.
I've learned throughout my life, and in having coped with anxiety for many years, that many of the simplest pleasures in life can be the most helpful for my anxiety. Therefore, taking the time to appreciate simple pleasures is an instrumental part of my life and my ability to cope with anxiety.