It's that time again. It is time to say goodbye to this year so we can usher in a new one. Although the New Year can be cause for celebration, it can also be a trigger for anxiety. What new challenges will await us? How will we conquer our fears? What can we do to decrease our symptoms of anxiety so that we can simply enjoy our life? If you are a person who suffers from an anxiety disorder, you may wonder what you can do differently this year to make things better. We are here to help.
Here are five New Year's resolutions or goals to help you manage your anxiety this coming year:
1. Schedule an annual physical with your general practitioner
There are many symptoms of anxiety which overlap existing medical conditions. Some of these symptoms can include: Headaches, dizziness, diarrhea, shortness of breath, fatigue, sleep disturbance, racing heart, chest pains, muscle tightness stomach aches and more. You want to make sure that there is not some underlying medical condition for your symptoms before you assume that they are all anxiety related.
Anxiety is also known to trigger or exacerbate the symptoms of certain diseases or illnesses. So it is wise to get an overall check up to assess your general health and receive any necessary medical treatment.
2. Seek assistance from a therapist or counselor
If your anxiety, phobias, or panic attacks are beginning to interfere with your day to day functioning or you are simply at your wit's end to know how to cope, a mental health practitioner can help. There are multiple ways to find a qualified therapist. One way is to get a referral from your general practitioner. A second resource is to find a therapist by conducting an on-line search. The Psychology Today website has a therapist directory where you plug in the type of mental health practitioner you are seeking and your geographic location.
If you are having difficulty finding a therapist due to lack of money or health insurance, there may be some other options. I have written about some of these options in a post detailing low cost or free therapeutic services.
Note: Remember that you are responsible for your mental health and for getting help. We can offer suggestions, resources, and information about accessing services but it is up to you to make the calls and do the leg work necessary. We are not responsible for any links to services or the quality or cost of care you may receive.
3. Try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
There are many studies which show that cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT is effective for treating a variety of anxiety related disorders. The average length of time for CBT treatment is 12-20 weeks. The therapist will help you to identify triggers for your anxiety symptoms and then will teach you how to decrease your fear response through new ways of thinking and reacting.
We have lots of information for you to read about CBT and here are just a few of those articles:
4. Explore alternative and complimentary therapies
Prescription anti-anxiety medication is another way to decrease the symptoms of an anxiety related disorder. Yet some people may find that the medications are not enough to provide relief or they may have difficulty dealing with the side effects. Fortunately there are many additional treatments for anxiety sufferers to choose from. As always, consult with your doctor before using any type of alternative treatment. Do your homework and research the effectiveness and safety of any treatment, traditional or not.
Here are some alternative anxiety treatments you may wish to consider:
5. Find support
It may seem like you are all alone in trying to cope and survive. But the fact is that there are many people all over the world who are facing the same challenges and day to day battles with their anxiety. It can be helpful to find others who are going through a similar situation to find inspiration, advice, and emotional support.
One of the ways you can find that support is here on Anxiety Connection. If you have never posted before we would encourage you to do so. It is easy and you can receive comments from others who may be able to help. Give it a try In addition there are numerous resources out there for anxiety sufferers and here are just a few:
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI offers local mental health support groups in your geographic area. To find a group in your area please visit their website.
- The Anxiety Disorders Association of America also offers a listing of local support groups and on-line forum support.
Remember that whatever you are currently going through, you are not alone. There is help. There is treatment. And there is support. Reach out. Likewise, giving support to others is a healing experience when you make that connection with someone who may need to hear what you have to say. Let's make this the best year ever and continue to build our community. We can't do it without you.
From everyone here at AnxietyConnection we wish you a very peaceful holiday and a joyous New Year!