ORLANDO — Forty million adults in the u-s are affected by anxiety disorders each year.
That's almost the entire population of California. But how do you know if what you’re feeling is anxiety or stress? And what can you do if you or someone you love is starting to feel overwhelmed?
“I would say that a lot of us are under stress. Sometimes stress can lead to anxiety and when it crosses over to anxiety then you're going to see more, more physical symptoms,” states psychologist Kathleen McHugh.
McHugh says there’s a fine line between stress and anxiety. When symptoms start to interfere with how you’re functioning, your sleep, your eating, your work, how you feel physically, you may have anxiety. Experts say first distract yourself.
“It can be scrolling on your phone. It can be texting someone. It can be, um, getting up out of your seat, changing your environment,” says McHugh.
Practice positive self-talk. Focus on stopping your negative inner voice. And don’t be afraid to relax.
“So, our minds and our bodies are so intertwined that when our mind is anxious, our body is usually tense, and sometimes we can relax our body and get our mind to follow along,” McHugh proclaims
Always validate, never dismiss anxious feelings
“Don't say there's nothing to be anxious about, or why are you anxious about that or that doesn't make any sense,” states McHugh
And lay out a plan to help get through what is triggering those feelings.
“So, you're not just ruminating about it or you're not just stressing about it. You've got a plan,” McHugh said.
To help someone who is having an anxiety attack remain calm. Let them pull from your steady emotions to calm themselves down. Another thing is to use “we” statements. These statement will help assure the person that they are not alone.