“Anxiety is a part of life, though it can become a problem when it starts to take over your life,” says Dr. Karen Cassiday, director of the Anxiety and Agoraphobia Treatment Center in Chicago. Generalized anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million adults per year. Some symptoms of anxiety include difficulty sleeping, restlessness, fatigue, and muscle tension. Gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea can also occur. The good news is there are medications and cognitive steps that can manage anxiety successfully.  The following tips from the Anxiety and Depression Association of American can help to manage stress and anxiety – they may also help you cope with your headaches.

Get Involved.  Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community.  This can help create a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.

Learn wht triggers your anxiety.  Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify?  Write in a journal when you are feeling stressed, and look for a pattern.

Talk to someone.  Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.

Exercise daily.  It will help you feel good and maintain your health.

Get enough sleep.  When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.

Limit alcohol and caffeine.  They can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.

Accept that you cannot control everything.  Put your stress in perspective.  Is it really as bad as you think?

Take a timeout.  Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage or learn relaxation techniques.  Stepping back from the problem helps clear your mind.

Take deep breaths.  Inhale and exhale slowly.

Welcome humor.  A good laugh goes a long way.

Get enough sleep.  When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.

Eat well-balanced meals.  Don’t skip any meals.  Keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.

Maintain a positive attitude.  Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

Try incorporating a few of these tips at a time.  Little steps can make a big difference.  If exercising means taking a walk around the block in the beginning, then that is a good start!


Chicago Tribune   9/19/12



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