How to Manage Anxiety
Social anxiety. Academic anxiety. Eating anxiety. Sleeping anxiety. The list goes on. Anxiety comes in many forms. Although a little bit of anxiety is a part of life, severe and crippling anxiety shouldn’t be. It’s important to know that children with autism are at risk for anxiety disorders. Furthermore, Covid-19 might have exasperated underlying anxiety issues that were under control previously.
What is an Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety disorders are a mental health disorder that leads to nervousness, worry, fear, and apprehension. These disorders change the way you think, behave and perceive. If your anxiety is mild, you can still control it. But, if a client, a student, or even you are in a place where nothing seems to be working, help is always there for you. Below, we are going to provide some anxiety management tips. But before we do that, let’s learn how we can better identify anxiety. If we can identify anxiety early then we have a chance to but antecedent interventions in place to control it.
What is Anxiety?
According to American Psychological Association (APA), ‘Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of worrying thoughts, tension, and physical changes like elevated blood pressure’.
Sometimes a small matter can bring on tension and make you nervous. That feeling can fester and grow if we aren’t careful. Eventually, we may not be able to act at all. This is anxiety. Where anxiety can be a normal reaction to many issues, if a habit of being tensed and anxious all the time is developed, it can become detrimental to our client’s and student’s health and daily life.
What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?
Different things play a role when our clients and students are suffering from anxiety, but there are a few that can be noticed by yourself and others:
- Increased irritability
- Sleep difficulties
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Uncontrollable feelings of worry
- Disoriented thoughts
- Panic attacks
You can understand that we may need to intervene or seek professional help if we start to spot these symptoms. Like we said at the start, there are many different types of anxiety disorders. Each disorder has specific symptoms that separates it from the others. Identifying that there might be an issue is the first step in pinpointing the type of anxiety.
Causes of Anxiety
Here are some of the most common causes of anxiety:
- If you stop using any substance, the withdrawal symptoms can cause a lot of anxiety. This can lead to panic attacks. If you work with children, this may not be an issue you face, but as they grow older it’s important to be aware of what is out there.
- Change in environment, such as moving from one place to another, changing workplace, changing school, etc. can cause anxiety. This can be especially difficult for our kiddos with autism.
- Physical illness, especially with severe diseases, are common triggers of anxiousness. Depression and hopelessness can also lead to anxiety in such cases. If you have a client who is perpetually sick, be on alert.
- Anxiety disorders can run in the family. You should make yourself aware of any history of anxiety in your client’s family.
- Difficulty in school, at home, with relationships, and within the family can be stressors that lead to anxiety.
Now that we know what anxiety is, and what can cause anxiety, we must identify triggers. If we can identify triggers we can develop antecedent interventions. To that point, let us discuss anxiety management tips.
Anxiety Management Tips
Exercise maintains your physical health, but it also plays a very important role in your mental health as well. If you make it a habit of exercising for 30 minutes every day, you can change your mindset, thoughts, and perception. This can ease your feelings of anxiety and boost your sense of well-being. Get your clients up and moving! Nobody wants to sit at a table all day.
Though we neglect it, proper sleep means you are taking care of your mental and physical health. It is not just about resting your body, but your brain as well. If your anxiety is making you sleep less, try to start a sleep routine. And stick to it! Turn off the screens, make sure your bed is comfy, choose the right temperature, and try to think positively when you are about to sleep. A good night’s sleep can make all the difference in the world.
There are countless support groups who are open to anyone who needs help. If you or your client is suffering from anxiety, talk to someone.
Every time you feel that you are starting to feel anxious, take deep breaths. You can practice deep breaths any time of the day. Notice how it calms you mind and gives you clarity.
Consulting a therapist
If you’ve tried everything and the situation isn’t improving or is getting worse then it might be time to contact a professional. A therapist can help identify the causes that are leading to anxiety. From there, they can help formulate a treatment plan.
Anxiety is more common than you think. Try these tips, try to