Hello All! Nicholas Smith here again on the Blog for the 2nd time this week. Anxiety is the topic for today. I wanted to paint a broad picture here of what it is and how to fix it. This is in no way the final work ever needed to be produced on the subject, but more of a quick snapshot. Here is what I had to say:

According to WebMD.com, 28.8% of Americans will suffer from anxiety at some point throughout their lifetime, in a way that interferes with their daily activities. America is considered to be the most anxious country in the world. I write this post as an attempt to present some of the common effects and remedies to anxiety.
  1. Negative Thinking. Most of how we feel is guided by the thoughts we allow ourselves to ponder. Simply put, if we think negatively about ourselves, we will believe that negative things are going to happen to us. We must challenge our negative thoughts! Take note of your thought life. What is your inner voice saying? Is what you tell yourself true? Often times, we tell ourselves elaborate tales of how forgetting to pay the telephone bill will lead us to living on the streets, fighting rats for bits of food in the dumpster. But that just isn't true. Take note, find the truth, then let the truth lead you.
  2. Anxiety is often times hard to understand, and those suffering from it, try really hard to figure it out. Thinking about why you are anxious isn't going to be enough. You must become a scientist. Log your thinking in a journal, study your thought patterns and see how they affect how you feel. The only reason we understand anything in the natural world is because someone was willing to take the time to study it. So do the work.
  3. All consuming is an appropriate way to describe anxiety for most people. When you feel overwhelmed with stress, it really can take a toll, especially if you feel trapped. This situation can lead to a desire to escape. Some escape to drugs and alcohol, pornography, movies, video games etc... When you are anxious stick to your trusted hobbies or find a new hobby. Talk to your friends about how you are feeling.
  4. Anxiety is exhausting. This exhaustion can lead to feelings of depression. Continue your routine! You don't feel like it but you have to do it. Skipping work, school and your other commitments are only going to lead to bigger problems down the road. If you don't have a routine or commitments, make some. Try to go to sleep at a decent time, and don't oversleep. You don't need any more than 9hrs max, unless your doctor has told you otherwise. Even though you may be exhausted, incorporate exercise. Exercise is a great natural stress relief. You don't even have to get a gym membership, just go take a 20 minute walk.
  5. Whether having a low sense of self can cause anxiety or if anxiety can cause a low sense of self is no matter. What we do know is that a low sense of self can accompany those with prolonged anxiety. It is important during these times to remind yourself of who you are and who it is that you want to be in 2 years, 5 years etc. Write down positive character traits about yourself and those traits you wish to exercise more commonly.
  6. The final point is purpose. Anxiety can come about when folks have gone through period of their life and don't seem to be getting anywhere. Maybe a dead-end job or feeling like you should be further along in life than you are (all your friends are married, all your peers have graduated college, etc.). Maybe its time to rethink the direction of your life, set some new goals. Most likely there will be much of issue #1 occurring so you might have to get some peace in this area.

As always, I hope this post has been educational and inspirational in some ways. If you suffer from anxiety, please contact a professional in order to get help. Exodus chapter 14 verse 14 has sort of been stuck in my mind, check that out and let me know what you think!

By: Nicholas Smith, MA, LPC