How to Take Charge Of Your Anxiety Symptoms

stop anxietyEvery week I get emails from readers that want to know more about their anxiety symptoms. They want this information because they’re terrified.

They’re convinced that anxiety is going to kill them. I reckon that you can relate to this feeling too.

When I get these emails I feel bad because I know they don’t need to feel that way.

I try to help, but I’m not sure that I’m always successful in my attempts to ease their fears.

So, I’d like to try one more time in this post.

It’s important to get a handle on your anxiety symptoms because they distract you from using all the useful tips you find online and elsewhere.

Think about how many times you’ve discovered some great bit of advice and had its calming affects smashed by chest pain, palpitations, or whatever.

I remember being convinced that I was anxiety free many, many, times only to find a little later that a headache could still cause me to jump online and look for reasons for my impending death or insanity. It was a never-ending loop.

You  focus on anxiety symptoms because it’s the only thing you can hang on to. It’s the only proof of what is otherwise a mysterious force. So it makes sense that you do that.

Still, it’s far more helpful to think about why you’re anxious. It could be because of your job, relationships, worry, or maybe because you’re sensitive to stress.

I once heard someone say that he didn’t feel as though he should be anxious. That’s a common feeling, but there is a reason. There always is.

The problem is that most of us, you included, don’t want to deal with the issue(s) that cause anxiety. Those can be painful and seem better left alone.

That’s why you turn to anxiety symptoms. They’re an easy target for your anger, worry, sadness, et cetera.

I recommend that you see a medical doctor and get examined. Rule out any and all potential medical issues. Then, if you’re found healthy, move on. Otherwise, you’re going to stay stuck where you are now. This is even more true if you’ve seen many doctors already.

There has to be a better way, right?

This is a topic that I have a lot of opinions on, so I’ve created a podcast to delve into the details. If you want to learn more about how to take charge of your anxiety symptoms click the listen icon below.

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  • Brian

    One thing to realize to those just starting to suffer from anxiety, it will always get better. The first bout of anxiety is always the worst. Once you accept it and understand it will not hurt you, it becomes a lot easier to push it away.

  • Jane

    Thank-you Paul – I needed that today.
    I still sometimes still allow the “new” symptoms to scare me even though I know better! You mention finding out what’s making you anxious and dealing w/ it which is good advice. I was wondering if you have any tips for those of us dealing w/ ongoing stressors that can’t be fixed (such as raising a disabled child)?
    Thanks!

  • Shannon

    I just found your website and really like it! Yes, I agree with Jane. I know many of my stressors and theres really little that I can do about them. I’m one of the most positive people I know and I’m always looking on the bright side. I change everything about myself that I can(especially my thought patterns), but many things we simply have no control over and we have little choice but to go through and endure! My system is extremely sensitive! I’ve come a long way. I feel like I will eventually overcome anxiety but it’s certainly a battle. Thank you for your website and all of your hard work!

  • Shannon

    Brian, trust me anxiety can always get much much worse, even dibilitating….hopefully not for you! Much of the time, it gets a lot worse before you even get close to being better. I’ve had severe attacks, much worse attacks than my first one 20 years ago. Be thankful if you are able to push them away easily because most people cannot even when they “accept” and “know” whats occuring! There are definitely many levels of anxiety that folks experience!

  • http://anxietyguru.net Paul Dooley

    Hi Jane, that is a such a good question.

    Dealing with stressors, especially when related to our children, can be tough to say the least.

    My son has a severe speech delay, so I can relate.

    I think as parents we all have great aspirations for our kids. The love and hope we have for them is second to none, which means that we get easily frustrated sometimes given the unfair hand some of us are dealt.

    I just mean to say that stress comes easy when you want to give your child the world (or even basic things) and you can’t.

    I can’t give a definitive answer as to how to best deal with this kind of stressor, but I will say this:

    I take things one day at a time with my son. I don’t try to impose my ideals of how he should be, or how other people think he should be.

    It’s also important to realize that a lot of things are out of our control. In that regard, we can only change what we have influence over. So focus on what you can change/improve.

    Love your child like you always have. And remember that coping is really a matter of perspective, so make sure yours doesn’t get skewed and you’ll do well.

    And, of course, don’t forget to breathe deeply! =)

  • claudia hopkins

    Thanks for another great podcast….I agree with Jane that sometimes it is our circumstances that we can’t change that keeps us locked into our anxiety world….I am the only caregiver for my mother who has a lot of medical issues and is also bi-polar so my stress is always with me….Thank you for all you do Paul and I really look forward to your posts and also await your new e-book. Claudia

  • Jane

    Paul,
    I was sorry to hear about your son’s challenges – thank you for sharing. You offer some great advice, especially “coping is really a matter of perspective”. So true, and yet so easy to forget when things get really hard!
    I spent years trying to make sense of this “unfair hand” and all that did was trigger the anxiety disorder I’m now struggling with. It’s led me to believe that peace partly depends on accepting that life is not always fair, and partly on learning to embrace uncertainty….I’m still working on it.

    Thanks, as always, for your kind, encouraging words – they are most appreciated.

  • http://progrssivetransformation.blogspot.com Brian

    good article. It’s never fun when we can’t handle the degree of cognitive dissonance that we encounter. Small amounts of dissonance are so helpful in creating a call of action, but being able to identify what two factors are creating the dissonance is of the essence.

    i look forward to reading your blog.

    -Brian

    http://progresivetransformation.blogspot.vom

  • Amy

    I had been doing REALLY well with anxiety, but it’s coming back again. I know it won’t get as bad this time, but this is where it always gets me!! I’ll worry and worry about some medical symptom, get up the courage to finally go to the doctor, go through the testing and finally get an “all clear.”

    But then…something else pops up. And I’m at war with myself again. Do I tell myself “It’s ALWAYS ANXIETY!” (except that it’s not…because I’m a cancer survivor, I can’t talk myself into believing that little symptoms are definitely nothing). Or…do I start down the whole medical path again, just to be sure.

    The annoying thing is that my symptoms are ALWAYS symptoms that could absolutely be attributed to anxiety…or…a real disease. I just wish this cycle would end, and my body would quit coming up with new ways to manifest anxiety ;-)

  • claudia hopkins

    To Amy…..I am so glad you posted this as it could have been my post as well so I will be anxious to hear an answer from Paul…..I always did have anxiety that was connected to physical symptoms that sometimes have almost caused me to go under but after having breast cancer and being a survivor I almost feel like it is worse as now I know the comment it was just my nerves isn’t always true…would love to be able to live my life without every single physical ailment controlling my thinking and making me extremely anxious….it has wasted so very much precious time of my life…would love any advice that could free my mind of this part of me that has almost ruined my life at times….I won’t even go to the Dr. as the first thing they always say is that first we have to rule out the cancer. I know it is possible to live a happy life after bc but I wish I knew the secret to let go of all the physical phobias I have….Claudia

  • Amy

    Yes, Claudia! I know what you mean about going to the doctor and “the first thing to rule out is the cancer.” It means that I never get just a nice reassurance that everything is fine; I get bloodwork and x-rays and MRIs and echocardiograms, and it takes weeks and a lot of money before I have a concrete answer.

    I feel like I need to find a primary care physician who I can really talk to about my anxiety (for some reason, I have to convince my doctors that I HAVE anxiety, because I come across as a very upbeat, positive person)…that could reassure me over and over that this is probably nothing to worry about.

    That…or is there some kind of post-cancer therapist out there? Because even when I tried therapy, the first thing they would say when I would bring up any physical symptoms would be “well, double check with your doctor to make sure it’s nothing…”

    Haha.

    Oh well, I CAN tell myself that MOST of the time it’s nothing :-)

  • sarah

    Hey.
    I`m trying to ween off my meds and my anxiety is coming back so I`m here a lot these days. I wanted to say something about this podcast, even if it`s a few months old.
    I agree that we can`t focus on the symptoms. But trying to find what else is the issue is not good either, in my case anyways. I get worried about things I would normally let slide when I’m not overly anxious.
    I ask myself” WHAT IF” frequently and find problems everywhere. ”it’s because of my boyfriend” or ”It’s because of my job”. or ”It’s because I’m turning into my mother”. I cannot try to find the reason without over analysing and therefor feeding the anxiety.
    Also by worrying about it I make it happen. I lay in bed anxious thinking ”I’m having trouble sleeping” and then I don’t sleep. I’m thinking ”My boyfriend doesn’t understand me” and I become irritated with him.
    Elsewhere you mentioned something about automatic thinking like if A then B. To me, you were right about that. Here, although I agree that the anxiety comes from the inside, I would still warn others about doing too much introspection because if anyone is like me, it makes things worst. Don’t over analyse is my point I guess.
    Thanks for everything Paul. You rock.

  • Brian

    Sarah, why ween off the meds? If your anxiety is coming back, why come off of a med that is working? I’ve been there done that 3 times. I have now accepted the fact that I need the meds to keep me free from anxiety, and I couldn’t be happier. My anxiety is low, I haven’t had a panic attack, I am enjoying life, and the things that make me happy. The meds help me focus on what is important and stop me from over analyzing everything. So you say to yourself, I am feeling great, I’ve got the anxiety licked, I can come off the meds. Well you get off them and the anxiety starts to slowly creep back until you are in turmoil and your life is upside down again. My advice, if the meds are working stay on them!