Each day I have clients come into my office for many reasons. Marital strife, loss, grief, past trauma, or just needing someone to listen to them. The only thing that seems to be universal for everyone is anxiety. That may not mean full-blown panic attacks, but the norm has shifted to dealing with some level of anxiety daily. I don’t even ask if an individual has anxiety anymore. I ask them to rank their anxiety from 1 to 10. I can't remember a single instance in the last two years when someone scored a 1. So the conversation shifts from “if” to “what do you do about it?”
Anxiety in the Typical Day
Let me play out a fairly common scenario. Some of this may sound familiar to you. Within this scenario, I hope to point out a few helpful facts. It is 6 am, and you are woken by the dreaded alarm clock blaring away. After hitting the snooze button the required three times, you roll out of bed. You may not realize that a stress hormone has been released into your body to spur you into functioning. Blood pressure elevates, and you start to move around. Off to the kitchen you go to make that pot of coffee. The body is already flowing with stress hormones to get you functioning, and now you are adding a stimulant. After pouring yourself a cup of coffee, you sit down and get on social media or news apps. When was the last time you used one of these outlets and got the warm fuzzies? Take a shower, get dressed, and off to work. I probably don’t need to go into work stress. Then, you come home, take care of kids, homework, chores, or animals. Or ... well you get the picture—now, time for bed. I know many people who like to have a few drinks to relax and then head to bed. Just remember, alcohol is a depressant. Depending on how much you drink, it can suppress your breathing. This means your body wakes you up, off and on, all night to keep you alive. Then you do it all over again.
Tips for Balancing your Anxiety
If this rings true for any of you, let me try and help just a little.
Try to go to bed and wake up simultaneously every day, even on weekends. The body will adjust to the point that you may not need an alarm clock to jar you awake and the body will only release the stress hormones necessary.
Ten minutes of meditation before other activities can bring down those stress hormones before coffee. Use an app on your phone for a quick trip to mindfulness.
Be careful what stimuli you are giving yourself. Suppose watching the news or seeing things on social media upsets you. Give yourself a break from it or set a reminder to get off it.
Exercise sometime in the day, morning or night, can combat anxiety in incredible ways. Even if it is a 10-minute walk.
Substances used to help you relax may be doing the opposite. Be careful of how much of whatever you're doing, and check in with yourself to see if it meets your needs.
At Mind Works Counseling in Lubbock, TX. We specialize in anxiety counseling and our counselors are uniquely equipped to help you manage your symptoms and get closer to reaching your goals.
Learn more about the Anxiety Counseling Services we offer.
Contact us to make an appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.