Are you overwhelmed by worry?
We often think about anxiety in terms of physical and behavioural indicators that need to be addressed by medication and/or some form of talk-therapy:
▪ Are you overwhelmed by worry to the point that it impacts your quality of life?
▪ Can you focus on the task at hand or you envision doom and gloom scenarios that will unfold because you were not able to do what you were supposed to?
▪ Do you feel that the problem is so big, it makes you feel powerless and helpless and you would rather avoid doing it?
▪ Do you sweat/hyperventilate/tremble?
If you notice these symptoms, you may want to talk to your doctor, who can evaluate if there is a physical illness associated with anxiety and/or what type of treatment might be needed. The next step would be to find a mental health professional that you are comfortable talking to. Together, you can figure out how this excessive worry that decreases your quality of life and sometimes even paralyzes you can be deconstructed. As you go through the process of getting to know what triggers the anxiety, what makes it bigger and what helps make it manageable, you can also:
▪ Take belly deep breaths when you notice anxiety rising.
▪ Sleep for 8 hours or more whenever you can.
▪ Divide your tasks into smaller chunks of work and focus on one part at the time.
▪ Aim to do the “good enough” job. When you reach 80% – just stop.
As your counselling progresses, you may choose to address those initial physical and behavioural symptoms directly or to explore whether the anxiety is an outcome of something you experienced in your past – with the goal of integrating those past events into your life story in a healthy way.
Anxiety disorders. National Institute of Mental Health.