Tips from the editors of POPSUGAR for coping with anxiety symptoms

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, and whether you have a clear diagnosis or not, anxiety can impact your daily life. Although the physical symptoms are all too real – increased heart rate, muscle tension, headaches, changes in appetite, gastrointestinal issues, etc. – internal effects such as intrusive thoughts can send people into a spiral. I know because I’ve been there.

Conason Psychological Services Therapist Fatema Jivanjee-Shakir, LMSW, tells POPSUGAR that it’s “common for people to experience anxiety without meeting diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder,” pointing to a 2014 systematic review. which found that twice as many people met the criteria for “subthreshold generalized anxiety disorder” than the full syndrome.

“When your anxiety keeps you from being present in your life, it’s a sign that it’s getting worse and needs professional support,” says Jivanjee-Shakir, adding that you don’t have really do it. meet the diagnostic criteria to find help. She goes on to note that people “often approach anxiety-provoking situations with avoidance, which breeds even more anxiety and fear about the situation.”

Instead, she explains, it’s helpful to develop supportive coping skills to navigate these situations, especially identifying when each coping mechanism feels accessible for the type of anxiety. feeling. For example, meditation may work when your anxiety is at three out of 10, she says, but it may not be tangible if your anxiety is at seven out of 10.

Psychologist Ashu Kapoor, PhD, agrees, telling POPSUGAR that she emphasizes the importance of healthy coping mechanisms over unhealthy ones. “Not all coping skills will work for all of my clients,” she notes. However, “I say, if it works, use it.”

Ahead, the editors of POPSUGAR reveal their top tips for dealing with anxiety. Try some for yourself the next time you’re overwhelmed and anxious – you might be surprised at what helps. And of course, seek professional advice if necessary.

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