Saturday, August 8, 2009

Five Steps For Managing Your Generalized Anxiety Disorder

If you are suffering the symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, the last thing you need is someone promising miracle cures that don't exist, but if you are anything like me, you would probably try anything to get a bit of relief.

Anxiety, at its best, is a persistent annoying obstacle that interferes with every aspect of our lives. At its worst, it can be downright scary. Symptoms like shaking, a racing heart, sweating and a non-stop sense of uneasiness makes even the simplest daily tasks seem daunting and unattainable. Fortunately, I have been free from the "scary symptoms" for quite some time, and while I still deal with the "annoying symptoms" at times, I have managed to begin living productively again. I'd like to share five-steps I employ in my life which allow me to cope from day to day. I hope this helps:

1. Exercise

Regular aerobic exercise, whether it's a long walk, steps on the treadmill or a more organized and strenuous activity helps to release pent up energy and change focus. I simply don't think about my symptoms when engaged in these workouts. Another nice bonus is the quality of sleep I now enjoy, which also helps combat troubling anxiety symptoms.

2. Meditate

Meditation is a simple, accessible way to ease anxiety symptoms. It relaxes my body and allows me to focus on the here and now. My mediation routine has helped me to avoid old thought patterns, such as worrying about the future and obsessing about the past, and has replaced them with more productive thoughts of contentment.

3. Monitor Your Diet

Regardless of how you're feeling, you have to eat, so you might as well eat healthy. I make sure I adhere to a well balanced diet, and have gradually cut out the things that consistently seemed to make me feel worse. Avoiding thing like junk food, caffeine and alcohol are important first steps towards feeling better.

4. Journal

Writing, whether in a journal or an online blog like this one, is a great way to cope with some of the symptoms of anxiety. Put some of those troubling thoughts and feelings on paper. When I was really anxious, I used to over think and over analyze everything. I was confused and all the "stuff" I was carrying around, especially things I needed to do or wanted to accomplish, seemed an incredible burden to remember. Writing these things down, in a place where I could easily access them, was such a welcomed release.

5. Share What Your Feeling

Please, please, please don't isolate yourself, regardless of how you're feeling. I know you think you are sparing others from the effects of your disorder, but you are doing harm to yourself and to them. Trust enough in the people you love to speak openly to them about your feelings. They want to help you, but they don't know how. You need you to communicate how they can assist you with your challenges.

Anxiety is a very real and very serious medical condition. There are many treatments available to those who acknowledge their illness and seek help. Please remember that the "scary parts" of this illness are not going to last forever. You will get better but you must be an active participant in your recovery.


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