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5 Types of Anxiety and How to Deal with Them

5 Types of Anxiety and How to Deal with Them

Anxiety can really chip away at our happiness if we don’t learn how to be and cope with it.

There’re so many different types of anxiety that can show up and steal perfectly enjoyable moments from our lives. It’s a beast of an emotion that can range from mildly uncomfortable to utterly crippling. In the simplest of terms, Anxiety is Worry. To which degree that we stress and worry is what increases or decreases our anxiety.

Anxiety seems to be the new buzz word given our fast moving society and need to always be one step ahead of the game. As a therapist, it’s a common symptom that brings many clients into my office.

As always, when we gain more knowledge about a topic, it becomes less scary. When something becomes less intimidating, we’re able to battle it with more confidence and success. This forces the beast (anxiety) to lose its power in order for us to allow it to pass and be gone.

With that said, I’ll point out 5 different types of anxiety, discuss what they look like and how to deal with them. After all, the trick is to No thy enemy, right?

1. Generalized Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety is one of the more common types of anxiety. In a nutshell, generalized anxiety is described as having an excessive and exaggerated sense of worry about everyday life events for no obvious reasons.

When it comes down to it, stress is stress, regardless of whether the worry is factually legit or not. Events can be benign and simple, yet cause us a ton of angst.

Generalized anxiety has the ability to lower the quality of our life as it grows and becomes louder. A little worry here or there, can be typical, although when worry turns to stress and daily rumination about all the things that could go wrong is standard, this type of anxiety can start quickly over taking our lives.

2. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

People with obsessive compulsive disorder can have obsessive thoughts and urges or compulsive, repetitive behaviors. Some individuals diagnosed have both obsessions and compulsions.

With OCD, your thoughts and actions feel uncontrollable, therefore you feel unable to function normally, which greatly effects everything in your life. Work, school, relationships, you name it, suffers because of the fixated need and want to do the compulsive behavior or obsession.

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Obsessive thoughts can range from the need for things to be in a particular order to a fear of hurting one self. Compulsive habits can be anything from repeatedly washing hands to checking if the lights are turned off several times more than necessary. These “ritualistic” behaviors are unique to the person and can effect anyone who loves them.

As it sounds, this disorder tends to be more obvious since the behaviors or thoughts encourage a person to do behaviors in ways that go out of the realm of what is deemed “normal.”

3. Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety is when the thought or actual interacting with other people causes irrational anxiety. The irrational fears can show up in a variety of ways; worrying about how the interaction is going to go, if judgement will occur, fear of embarrassment and concern around saying something “wrong” or “foolish.”

Social anxiety is very isolating which further perpetuates the unhealthy cycle of keeping to one’s self and strengthening delusional fears due to isolation.

4. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Defined by WebMD,[1]

“Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened.”

Also known as, PTSD, is a disorder that causes feelings of intense fear or helplessness within the individual.

The grey area with this anxiety disorder is that trauma is relative. Meaning, what’s traumatic to one person might not be traumatic to another. Unexpected tragedies like deaths, losses, natural disasters are events that our society tends to view as “traumatic.”

Although when PTSD comes from such things as our exposure to abusive intimate relationships or experiences in which we uniquely felt traumatized, the warning signs can go under the radar (be unacknowledged) or be misdiagnosed.

Some common symptoms of PTSD are shock, anger, nervousness and fear. Ruminating about the trauma, flash backs, nightmares and a loss of concentration and inability to function well can also appear. Usually symptoms show up within 3 months of the specific traumatic incident.

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5. Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is when you avoid places or situations that you anticipate will cause you panic by triggering feelings of being trapped, helpless or embarrassed.

The anxiety is caused by fear that there’s no easy way to escape from the situation that’s triggering your panic. Agoraphobia symptoms center around the fear of leaving home, which creates worry of being exposed to crowds, enclosed spaces and, essentially, any environment that provokes anxiety within the person.

When your fear is so overwhelming that you become unable to leave your home this results in a lack of functioning, loss of quality of life and can lead to isolation and depression.

How to Cope with Anxiety

With whatever type of anxiety you’re dealing with, please know that there’re things that you can start doing for yourself right now to help alleviate the symptoms your experiencing.

I once heard high anxiety cleverly described as being “trapped within your own self imposed prison.” The good news with this is that you hold the key to your own prison cell, my friend.

With commitment and attention, you can find relief of symptoms, and, ultimately more overall peace.

Here are some tips on how to do so:

1. Question It and Dumb It Down

A go-to technique for me when a client is struggling with anxiety, is to start chipping away at the beast by questioning it and dumbing it down.

For example, I always go right to the jugular and ask what the fear is about.

The truth is, the chances of our biggest fear happening is slim to none. Usually too, when someone is struggling with high anxiety, they need some assistance getting their scale of stress assessment back on track, which is where “dumbing it down” comes into play.

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When we have anxiety, our scale of what’s a big deal tends to be out of wack. Meaning, we start stressing over things that are relatively “normal” aspects of life. You see this with road rage or, generally, anytime the level of reaction within a person doesn’t align with the actual event.

I find that once I put words to the fears of my clients who are battling anxiety, the emotion often looses it’s power and doesn’t seem as bad.

2. Breathe Babe

Learning ways to calm and clear your mind by practicing self soothing techniques is a key to our overall health and level of happiness.

We were all born knowing how to breath naturally from our bellies (diaphragm.) As we grow and are exposed to life’s pressures, we can begin to breath from our chest, which is defined as shallow breathing. This type of breathing is linked to individuals with anxiety.

Think hyperventilation, which is a psychosomatic response to stress and panic. Learning and practicing breathing techniques that are geared toward slowing your breathing will calm your system down.

Practices such as yoga and meditation are great skills to hone in order to practice helpful breathing techniques.

3. Move That Body

Tapping into your physicality and moving your body regularly is a must, but it can be a saving grace when it comes to those of us who struggle with anxiety.

Releasing natural endorphins through exercise can help boost your mood which will help fight off those nagging feelings of worry.

4. Face Your Fear

With whatever you’re dealing with in life, nothing will completely go away until you directly and purposefully confront it.

When you’re able to muster up the courage to challenge the irrational worries that you have, they will lessen or even completely disappear.

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You see the truth of anything that you’re brave enough to face directly. This holds true with sitting and coping with our anxiety. It’s common to want to escape the wraths of anxiety by constantly being so busy and pushing the emotion away. Although this may quiet it for some time, eventually it will resurface, as anything will that’s not dealt with completely.

Remember friends, the only way to get through something is to to go directly through it. There’s no short cuts when it comes to coping with anxiety or life, if you’re living it truthfully.

Here’re some tips to help you face your fear: 13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

5. Watch Your Alcohol and Caffeine Intake

Our bodies are similar to gas tanks. What we put into our system absolutely effects its preformance.

If you struggle with anxiety, be mindful of your alcohol and caffeine intake. Caffeine is a stimulant that will rev up your system and is known to increase your anxiety. A withdrawal side effect of alcohol is increased anxiety.

Most importantly, increasing your body/mind connection by becoming more aware of how you uniquely feel when you put certain substances and foods in your body is essential to your overall health.

Final Thoughts

I know that if you’re currently in the grips of anxiety’s strong hold, it can feel like it will never lessen. Please know it can and please know that it will with commitment to doing the positive self care to combat it.

Once you start to look at your habits, your self talk and your self care patterns, you can start to get a handle on it. With more tools in your back pocket to confront anxiety and put it in its place, you will feel relief and an overall higher quality of life.

More Articles About Anxiety

Featured photo credit: Ernest Brillo via unsplash.com

Reference

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Kim Egel

Kim Egel is a licensed therapist whose private practice is centered around the concepts of the mind, body & soul connection.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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