Coping With Anxiety
Description: In this episode, Melissa and Maribeth (from ADD Professionals) offer strategies for coping with anxiety.
The ADD brain is unique. Often times ADDers also have a significant level of anxiety in our daily lives. One employee that I work with compared the anxiety with ADHD to desks in an office. “It’s like the guy without ADD and anxiety has a rubber topped desk that is on four level legs. What they put on the desk stays there. Nothing ever falls off. They are always in control and never look stupid. My desk has a Teflon top and is on uneven legs. Everything is always sliding off!!! I’m constantly trying to keep it together WHILE I try to work, and I constantly feel out of control, embarrassed and anxious!”
So let’s talk about anxiety.
Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. However, it can be a problem if it gets in the way of your daily function, or of your personal relationships. People with anxiety make great accountants, organizers, project managers – anything that takes attention to detail and deadlines. But sometimes it can become overwhelming! That is the time to seek professional help, because there is so much help and hope for the anxious brain.
The anxious brain is just another unique type of brain where certain parts, like the amygdala (the part of the brain that senses threat) over reacts or won’t calm down as fast as it should. However it can be made to work for you rather than against you.
Anxiety is a physical sense of fear caused by a threatening thought. It can feel like a nervous stomach, shaking, sweating, tunnel vision, tingling in the extremities, etc. Anxiety can take many forms:
Generalized Anxiety: This is just lots of worrying, negative thinking and a sense of fear much of the time – an underlying theme of every day. It can be exhausting!
Panic Attacks: These happen when generalized anxiety becomes extreme. Panic attacks are short periods of time when your body gets really upset and you feel very afraid.
Phobia: This is when you are intensely afraid of a certain thing or situation, such as spiders, heights or small places.
Obsessions and Compulsions: Obsessions are thoughts and compulsions are actions done to relieve the compulsive thought. These could be about things like order, counting, symmetry etc.
Post Traumatic Stress: After a traumatic experience you keep having panic attacks for seemingly no reason.
Eating Disorder: When food becomes something you control to calm your worries.
Luckily, there is a great, two pronged approach to dealing with anxiety.
1) Calm your body down. Anxiety is first and foremost a BODY thing. That amygdala goes off and our heart races, we breathe fast and the logical part of our brain shuts down. So, the first step is to learn to calm our body down – so our brain shows up again!
This can be done with exercise, relaxation, meditation, prayer or breathing techniques. They really work! If this is not enough, however, there are wonderful medications today to help you turn down the “rev” in your brain. Contact your primary care physician for this.
2) Tell yourself the truth. 95% of what we worry about does not happen. 80% of what we think every day is negative! Give yourself a break! Once you’ve relaxed and that logical brain is back, tell yourself the truth. The truth is never as bad as our anxious brains catastrophize it is!
Remember: Think it! Say i! Do it! That will help you focus on what is true, and grow it in your brain.
You know, stuff happens and life is not fair. Anxiety is a reality in our world. But instead of worrying, then worrying about the worry, and then worrying that you are worrying about the worry - - -ACH! Try these two tips. The anxiety will not go away completely, but these tips will prevent it from getting in your way.