What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder and How Can You Overcome It?
Do everyday discomforts feel upsetting or even imminently dangerous?
Do you feel ready to fight or flee, whenever and however?
You may be living life with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
If you feel unfocused, less joyful, and perpetually insecure, anxiety is interrupting your relationships, passions, and thinking far too often. This disorder keeps you mired in that “on edge” feeling, rarely granting you time without it at all. Nothing really brings it on or powers it down. You feel stuck, worried and ill at ease.
What is generalized anxiety disorder, exactly?
If you think you may be living with GAD but aren’t quite sure, consider the following common symptoms of GAD:
- Excessive worry about your safety, social situations, and future events
- Propensity toward catastrophizing
- Oversensitivity to bodily sensations, health matters, and illnesses
- Ongoing nervousness and deep inner disquiet
Does any of this sound like you?
GAD is chronic and experiential
Chronic anxiety disorders like general anxiety order (GAD), often present as an illness because it behaves like an illness. It is persistent and inhabits your mind and body. It feels like the anxiety is who you are or a simple fact of your life.
GAD isn’t particularly known for its intensity. Unlike acute anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder, sufferers spend time managing GAD in an expected everyday way rather than anticipating sudden waves of anxiety.
Essentially, it is more mentality than an intense event. It is a more nervous, jumpy experience than an explosive, frightening occurrence.
Living with GAD just seems to be living in a state of insecurity, doom, or negativity. Things just aren’t okay and can’t or won’t be okay. Anxious, bothersome thoughts cycle through your brain unchecked and stuck on repeat.
So, what can you do to overcome GAD?
Because GAD isn’t particularly triggered anxiety, nothing special needs to happen to inspire chronic fear or worry. The longer it persists untreated, the more chronic it becomes, deeply influencing your perceptions. You may reach a point that you don’t recognize your views as compromised and begin to think your anxious thoughts are accurate.
Thus, to deal with the thought patterns and behaviors altering your life, you’ll need some objective assistance and someone able to impart reliable self-help tools.
Therapy makes a difference
Help from a compassionate therapist experienced in anxiety counseling is crucial.
GAD affects your mind and body. To address the mental and physical symptoms, your therapist will likely propose coping strategies as part of your treatment.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common treatment that helps address the looping thoughts that keep you stuck in worry. It also teaches behavioral skills to help reduce symptoms and keep you mindfully focused in the present.
In addition, as you work with your mental health care professional, you may discover that exploration of some past issue, current relationship, or other life challenge is contributing to your anxiety. Therapy can help you break down what’s bothering you and thoughtfully address whatever is holding you back or bogging you down in fear.
Therapy also provides the safety, time, and place for practicing helpful techniques you can rely on in your everyday life.
Self-help tools help soothe GAD
As you begin to address your anxiety, you may find that implementing certain activities is soothing, as is refraining from certain unhelpful practices. Consider these ways to relieve GAD yourself:
- Mindfulness meditation to help you stay present, aware, and grounded.
- Relaxation techniques like deep breathing from the diaphragm, progressive muscle relaxation to counteract hyperventilation, lightheadedness, and “tingly” or numb extremities.
- Reduce nightly insomnia by changing daytime habits that contribute to racing thoughts or sleeplessness. Consciously implement a restful bedtime routine.
- Limit caffeine intake. Soda, coffee, and some teas can stimulate agitation and restlessness.
- Avoid nicotine and alcohol. These substances seem calming but really contribute to higher levels of anxiety
Therapeutic intervention and self-help techniques are optimal solutions because they help you literally change your mind. You learn that your internal perception is driving your emotions, not what’s happening externally. Thus, you are more in control than you might currently believe.
What is generalized anxiety disorder doing to your life? Learn the skills you need to cope and thrive. Give us a call at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online. You can also contact us to find out more about anxiety disorder treatments in Houston.
Sign up to be notified of group and workshop dates.