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Anxiety and Different Coping Mechanisms.

No occurrence or situation is too frivolous or silly to make someone anxious. We all have different experiences and make-ups and what stresses someone might not necessarily stress the next person.

You know the feeling, everyone does, albeit to varying degrees. The tell-tale signs are there, sometimes sweating at the brows and the upper neck area. Sharp breathing, clenched fists and your body sending sharp signals to your brain. When I was much younger, they taught me about the fight or flight response in school. Whenever you’re in an unpleasant situation, one that remotely made you uncomfortable, either stay and face it head-on or flee. What they, however, never taught me, which is what comes easily for a strict people pleaser like myself, is the freeze response. My understanding of anxiety or anxious thoughts were already stunted as a result of this mistake.

When I fell into nerve-wracking situations, situations that limited my thinking and made me extremely hyper-aware, I would convince myself that I handled them properly because I did not immediately run away or start throwing my fists. In truth, all I did was just stay still and allow things to happen. What ended up happening was years of being taken advantage of, years of being coerced and intimidated because I did not realize that I was programmed to go along with the status quo rather than communicating effectively or getting away from there.

Unfortunately, anxiety is one of the body’s natural responses to stress. While some people may have chronic anxiety or diagnosed clinical anxiety, others might simply experience social anxiety. This is one of the more common types of anxiety disorders. It usually occurs when mingling with others or in large groups. Sometimes, anxiety can be helpful in signalling the brain when a potentially harmful situation is about to occur. For example, when you walk into an empty building or round a darkened corner in the night time.

Unfortunately, socialization has been set up such that some groups of people may experience anxiety more than others, depending on the situation at hand. For example, women tend to be more anxious when they’re alone with a man, especially a stranger. This is as a result of fear for their safety, fear of the unknown. Men could also be anxious when alone with a woman. For example, a first date with the opposite sex could be a nail-biting affair for a man. It is important to note that no occurrence or situation is too frivolous or silly to make someone anxious. We all have different experiences and make-ups and what stresses someone might not necessarily stress the next person.

Coping mechanisms for anxiety are varied, as a result of different things working for different people. Much like the saying goes, some folks might not find mechanisms useful while others will. For example, some people use marijuana as a coping mechanism for anxiety. THC or CBD has been proven to help with anxiety and anxious thoughts. However, for some others, marijuana gives them anxiety. Although not legalized in many countries, medical marijuana has been a leading coping mechanism or remedy for clinical anxiety and other mental illnesses. Another coping mechanism for anxiety is the paper bag method, which is often offered during panic attacks. Also, steady, timed breathing is a good solution to pretty much all forms of anxiety. Paced breathing while clearing the head of all thoughts can be soothing to many people with anxiety, depending on their anxiety levels.

Some people find exercising, or other forms of body movement such as zumba and yoga beneficial for decreasing anxiety levels. It is important to note that having chronic anxiety means that a person might never be cured of it, but coping mechanisms help them manage and balance their lives so they can still be functioning members of society (to the extent of their ability). A decrease in alcohol intake, caffeine and other forms of depressants can also be beneficial in coping with anxiety. Eating foods that are high in fiber and carbohydrates is also helpful in dealing with anxiety as it can keep a person upbeat during the day. If a person has chronic levels of anxiety that causes damage to their mental and physical health and that of others, it is beneficial that they consider medication rather than coping mechanisms. This is because coping mechanisms can only go so far, especially in a world that is demanding and has many triggers and stressors.



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