Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

High Anxiety! Ways to Come Back Down to Calmer Ground

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

High Anxiety! Ways to Come Back Down to Calmer Ground

Article excerpt

  "Here's a little song I wrote You might want to sing it note for   note Don't worry be happy In every life we have some trouble When   you worry you make it double Don't worry, be happy..." 

How wonderful life would be if we could all live by the words sung by Bobby McFerrin "Don't Worry, Be Happy." Unfortunately, after the song ends, reality and life hit you square between the eyes and unsettling thoughts creep back in. But one must wonder how one can retrain one's self to have the positive thoughts conquer the negative? There must be a way that we can view the world from the "glass half full" mentality, even though some will view the glass half empty.

Anxiety is that lump in the back of your throat, it is that bottomed out feeling in the pit of your stomach that can take your breath away. Perhaps it is that feeling that your heart is going to pound out of your chest. Every individual experiences anxiety differently.

According to, Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population). Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet, only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment. The chart below also can be found at

Have a plan on how to attack anxiety when it comes around. When you begin to feel anxious, or know that the day is going to make you feel overwhelmed, stop and think. Being prepared and ready are essential for success. Schedule in your day short breaks where you can collect your thoughts and take a few moments out of your routine to unwind and give you some "me" time. Do you find yourself too busy to take a lunch break during the day? Do you find that back-to-back classes and/or meetings leave you feeling fatigued? Even if you can only afford to spend three minutes on yourself, take them. You will thank yourself when you do.

Perspective taking can also play a big part in the role of how anxiety affects us. If we fall into the trap of 'all-or-nothing thinking' and view situations as more than they really are, then we need to reexamine that. A great way to practice perspective taking is through role play.

Role play can non-verbally and verbally communicate various situations that provoke anxiety. If the person cannot participate in role play, then do the same exercise through pictures. Ask questions about the pictures and encourage them to express their thoughts and feelings when they see the pictures. While reviewing and discussing the pictures, discuss real solutions that the person can utilize when in these situations.

As stated on the website,, parents play an essential role in helping their child or teen manage anxiety. When coping skills and brave behavior is reward-ed and role-modeled in the home, children and teens can learn to face their fears, take risks, and ultimately gain confidence.

Jeanie Lerche Davis wrote "Coping with Anxiety" that's found on "To cope with plain-vanilla anxiety, get real, as they say."

"Separate out the real risks and dangers that a situation presents and those your imagination is making worse," advises Jerilyn Ross, MA, LICSW, director of The Ross Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Inc.. It's a twist on the old adage, "Take control of the things you can, and accept those you can't change."

"Ask yourself: Where can you take control of a situation? Where can you make changes? Then do what needs to be done," she says. "What things do you simply have to accept? That's very important."

Very often, it's possible to get past an anxiety cycle with the help of friends or family - someone who can help you sort out your problems. But when anxiety becomes overwhelming, it's time for a therapist, or perhaps medication.

Here are two strategies that therapists use to help us conquer anxiety.

Challenge negative thoughts. …

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