Colitis and Anxiety: How to Handle It

Erica Sanderson | Sep 16th 2015 Apr 11th 2017

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Living with ulcerative colitis (UC) can lead to a life full of anxiety. People with UC often worry about when their next flare will happen and how UC will affect their future. Here are some tips for how to handle the anxiety to have a happy, fulfilling life.

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Understand anxiety is normal

First, know that what you are experiencing is normal. In fact, up to 40 million adults in the U.S.  live with some form of anxiety. People with chronic conditions have an increased risk of living with anxiety and depression. UC is a serious condition, so developing anxiety around it is completely understandable and justified—you’re not being dramatic or unreasonable.

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Don’t dismiss or ignore it

Recognize what you’re feeling is anxiety. Ignoring your feelings will only make your anxiety worse. In order to address and cope with anxiety, you must first acknowledge it before you begin dealing with it and improving it.

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Find the right coping tools

What works for some people might not work for you. Whether it’s letting out steam at the gym, a relaxing massage, writing a blog or talking to a professional, figure out what skills and tools help take the edge off your anxiety and help you handle it in a healthy manner.

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Live in the present moment

Dozens of ‘what if?’ questions can arise about your UC. Worrying about the future and things you can’t control will worsen your anxiety and even your condition. Instead, focus on what you can control and live in the present moment. Take things one day at a time.

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Learn to manage your thoughts

Here’s a secret: you have the power to change your thoughts and outlook. Instead of taking a negative view, try to think of the positive in any situation. The more often you think positively, the more likely your brain will gravitate toward positivity in the future. Focus on spotting when thoughts turn anxious or stressful then take a deep breath and release them.

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Use your resources

Oftentimes worry and anxiety comes from a lack of understanding. To help ease your fears, do your proper research. Learn what to expect with UC, how to manage it, and steps to take. Find UC support groups and resources you can use either locally or online. Talking to others who understand what you’re dealing with can help relieve anxiety.

NEXT: Maintaining a Positive Outlook with Ulcerative Colitis
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