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Positive Strategies for Managing Anxiety

Canopy EAP
Live Well Blog May 2024
There is no one reason anxiety has increased in the U.S. Complex experiences, brain chemistry, genetic predisposition, poor sleep, and other life stressors can increase symptoms of anxiety. Statistics indicate that about forty million adults in the U.S. will navigate anxiety at some point in their lives.

Edmund Bourne, Ph.D., author of Coping with Anxiety, explains the distinction between fear and anxiety. While fear usually has a specific target—an imminent danger or a pressing deadline—anxiety often lacks such clarity. It can stem from generalized worries about the future, financial stability, or overall health. Anxiety manifests in various forms and intensities, ranging from a slight unease to full-blown panic attacks.
Understanding the root causes of anxiety can be beneficial, it's not always necessary to pinpoint them to begin coping effectively. Practicing coping strategies can be immensely helpful regardless of whether the underlying reasons for anxiety are identified.

Here are coping strategies that can be beneficial for managing anxiety:

1. Deep Breathing: Taking deep, intentional breaths can swiftly interrupt the cycle of anxiety symptoms. Inhale slowly through your nose, counting to five, then pause for another count of five before exhaling slowly to the same count. Repeat this cycle for three to five minutes.

2. Reframe Problems: Avoid magnifying problems by refraining from using extreme language like "terrible" or "awful" to describe situations. Instead, remind yourself that you can cope with and overcome challenges.

3. Interrupt Worrisome Thoughts: When caught in a loop of anxious thoughts, interrupt the pattern by shouting internally or externally, "Stop!" Visualize a stop sign to reinforce this interruption whenever worrisome thoughts resurface.

4. Adopt a Different Perspective: When overwhelmed by worry, try viewing the situation from a different angle. Remind yourself that challenges are temporary, and they're unlikely to be as dire as your worst fears suggest.

5. Challenge Negative Self-talk: Combat negative self-talk by replacing pessimistic thoughts with positive affirmations. For instance, replace "This is unbearable" with "I can learn to cope with this," or "What if this never ends?" with "I'll tackle this one step at a time."

These coping strategies can be effective tools for managing anxiety, whether mild or severe. While they offer immediate relief, individuals dealing with more severe anxiety may also benefit from therapy and medication in conjunction with these practices.

For more information on reducing anxiety, counselors are available over the phone 24/7.
Canopy EAP Canopy was founded in 1975 and we have been providing Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services since 1978. Canopy's mission is to support organizational success and improve quality of lives. Canopy provides member groups' employees and family members a comprehensive, full service EAP with a focus on customer service, technology, outcomes and integrated wellness. In addition, Canopy supports our employer partners with tools such as Wellness, Digital Therapy, Coaching and Training.

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