Eliminating angst, or anxiety is something all of us who suffer from anxiety want to do. No one wants to live with those butterflies in their stomachs, or the racing thoughts, or the second guessing of decisions, the headaches and stomachaches and exhaustion that comes with anxiety. We all want to be happy, to be able to go out with friends and laugh and have a good time and not worry about work or what so-so meant when she said that. Some of us would happy with simply be able to leave the house, as social anxiety is something I am hearing more and more of these days. But eliminating angst isn’t easy. It’s not something that merely happens over night, and often it requires the person with anxiety to accept certain things about themselves.
Try Anti-Depressants to Reduce Anxiety
Now, I know this is a huge turn off for some people–I’ve been there myself. But hear me out. When I reached a point that I was so stressed, and suffering from so much anxiety that I was crying for no reason as I poured myself a cup of tea, I went to the doctor. Anti depressants had already been suggested to me, but I didn’t want to go that route. I thought that some time off work and rest and relaxation would be enough to get me over the tremendous stress I was experiencing. I think I was aware I was suffering from anxiety, but I think I also thought it was somehow momentary, work related. That it was external and not a part of me. I was wrong.
My doctor once again suggested anti depressants, and I burst into tears. Just the idea of having anxiety, of needing them, made me anxious and upset. We talked, and I’ll never forget how during the conversation where I did agree to try the meds out, she said, “just consider your reaction to the suggestion of trying the meds” pointing out to me that crying over a recommendation was not exactly typical.
Related Post: How to Stay Positive When Life is Challenging
Taking anti-depressants has gone a long way to helping me eliminating the angst that is anxiety in my life. Of course, there are other things I have done to help with reducing stress and anxiety in my life.
Consider Therapy to Help with Angst
I have always considered therapy (I see a psychologist) a good way to deal with anxiety and depression. I was actually on a wait list when I started taking anti-depressants, and started therapy not too long afterwards. Therapy really helped me as well as I used to constantly worry about things that it made no sense to worry about. I castrophized worst case scenarios and this line of thinking only heightened my anxiety and made me frozen in my decision making towards improving my mental health. I would let little comments from co-workers or my boss bother me so much that essentially, my day was ruined. Imagine living with that kind of angst constantly!
Therapy helped in eliminating this sort of angsty and anxiety because it helped me realize that the worst case scenario I could dream up, while possible, wasn’t the most likely to occur. It also helped me realize that some of those comments were easier to shake off because the problem wasn’t really mine, but someone else’s entirely. CBT (congnitive behaviour therapy) really helped me with this understanding. I was even able to reduce my anxiety around illness, which I had have largely in part due to childhood illness, by being able to step momentarily outside of the anxiety and telling myself what was true. That I wasn’t sick, at least not seriously, and that I was going to be perfectly fine.
The great thing about my psychologist is that while I’m expressing my realities, she can point that I am not stuck. If I want to leave teaching, I can. If I want to do part time work as a teacher, I can. If I want to supply teach, I can. I have choices. I am not stuck, and no one ever is. Realizing this has really helped in eliminating the angst I have around work. Work is such a huge source of stress for me because I cannot control what students are going to do, or in some cases even predict it. I have to be reactive in those cases, even though I try as much as possible in my teaching to be proactive. Therapy has helped me learn a lot about myself, and about mental health in general.
Access Your Support System
Now, not everyone readily has access to mental health support like I do, and I realize that. Waiting lists can be long, and services can be costly. I am fortunate that I can see someone privately and have the means to pay for those services. But that doesn’t mean everyone does. And while I realize that, I encourage you to reach out to those services and wait if you must, and also to reach out to your own support system. This includes family and friends. They may not be able to help in the same way a mental health professional can, but they can provide support by being a shoulder to cry on, by spending time with you, maybe even helping you out with things that are too much for you handle at times–groceries, housekeeping etc. I understand that no one wants to “use” their friend and family this way, but it is okay to ask for help, and if you truly need help, then you are in no way taking advantage of anyone.
Related Post: Why Self Care is Important
Having a support network of friends and family, who are willing to listen and help, goes a long way towards helping in eliminating angst as it helps you feels isolated, which anxiety can do. We are never truly alone, so turn to that support system when needed. If I hadn’t been honest with my own support system, I may never have sought the help that I needed for my mental health, or taken the time that off work that I needed, or made the changes I needed to to eliminate a lot of the angst I was experiencing. My support system likely saved me from falling into a deep depression.
Practice Self care to Eliminate Angst and Anxiety
This is so important. Self care is going to be key towards helping you cope with anxiety. When you feel anxious, in the immediate moment, you can do things like question your thought pattern or take a few deep breaths. But in your day to day living, you should include practices that will help you support good mental health like, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, including some form of physical exercise, as well as taking time out for rest and relaxation.
Indulge in your hobbies, treat yourself to something you normally wouldn’t, perhaps a coffee at a higher end cafe, or a massage. Practice deep breathing, or mediation or even yoga to focus on your and not the anxiety. There are lots easy self care practices out there, and self care looks a little different for everyone. But those who do practice self care are living a more balanced life than those who do not, and are far better at managing stress and anxiety. Self care will go a long way towards eliminating angst.
Focus on What you Can Change to Eliminate Angst
We can’t always change or control the circumstances of our life. So focus on what you can change. Instead of worrying about what your boss thinks of you, focus on the positive feedback you may have had from him/her. Be thankful for the positive qualities that individual has, the times when they leave you leave work early for an appointment, or laughed it off when you were late, and be aware we all have bad days. Be aware too, that you are likely thinking way more about them and their thoughts about you, than they are even thinking of you, one way or another. Changing your fearful, anxiety provoking thoughts into ones that are more positive is a great way to shake off the angst as we come to realize we can’t change everything, but we can change how we think about circumstances.
Expressing gratitude can help in reducing anxiety as we begin to recognize all the positive things in our lives that we often overlook, or take for granted. Starting a gratitude journal is a great way to practice expressing gratitude, but you can also redirect your thoughts to be more grateful and positive. For instance, instead of thinking of how annoying it is that your friend is late for your get together, again, redirect that thought to something like, I am enjoying this video on caring for houseplants. I’ve learned a few tricks. This helps our overall attitude and more positive thoughts definitely eliminate angst and anxiety.
I hope that some of this has helped you in coping with your anxiety, or perhaps given you some food for thought for forms of help that may have been out of the question for you. The feelings and thoughts that anxiety produce are powerful, and can be extremely uncomfortable, but this is not a permanent state. With some conscious effort to help yourself, you can eliminate a lot of the anxiety that you are experiencing.
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