How can we cope?
The Today Show is doing a segment on anxiety in America this week. In 2009, over 117 million individuals were treated for some type of anxiety disorder. That number makes it one of the most common illnesses in our country. And experts suggest that only one third of those dealing with anxiety actually seek help. The numbers are staggering! In fact, I deal with stress and anxiety more than any other issue in my hypnosis practice.
Stress or Anxiety?
What’s the difference between stress and anxiety? We all have stress; it’s a part of life. In fact, our bodies have a wonderful built in system to deal with stress referred to as “Fight or Flight”. It’s a necessary response when we’re in danger. Anxiety however is what results when the stress reaction is engaged chronically. Anxiety disrupts the quality of your life.
The nature of society today causes many people to experience the fight or flight reaction over and over. We get out of bed in the morning and immediately turn on the T.V. where news from around the world floods in. And most of it isn’t good news….good news doesn’t sell. Then our cell phones start ringing, text messages pop up and emails start dinging in our in-box. All of this before we’ve left the house to face traffic, bosses and deadlines. Life today is complex and we have to find more adaptive ways to cope.
How can we cope?
Drug makers report $661 million in sales of anti anxiety drugs in 2011. And yes, the drugs are effective. However, drugs mask the real issue. We have to learn how to manage life’s stressors effectively to really resolve anxiety. And that involves lifestyle changes. We need to unplug more frequently. We need to turn off the electronics and spend time connecting to others. We need to spend more time in nature. We need to stop feeding the stress in each other. We need to stay more focused on today and less focused on the negative “What-ifs.” We need to breathe……really breathe. And we need to learn meditation or self hypnosis to quiet racing thoughts and create positive thoughts.