I’m just a worrier…

Working with children and adolescents I hear from parents both mothers and fathers “I’m just a worrier” when discussing their parenting skills or child’s behavior. Many times I can simply validate and normalize their thoughts and feelings; but sometimes I have to get them to ask is this worry or is this anxiety? I feel many of us lack the knowledge to determine the difference or simply shrug off the importance of our nervousness. With early detection and quick treatment anxiety can be treatable and be a moment someone reflects upon. I know this as a professional, but as a person, a mother, and a wife I tend to struggle.

I have always been someone who is the helper, nurture, and mother like figure, even before becoming a mother; so when I did become a mother what happened? Didn’t this feeling come natural? Actually, it did but my worries increased to points that I had to provide myself with many reality checks on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. The “what if’s” almost took control and I began to feel less like myself and more…anxious.

So, what first what is the difference between worries and anxiety?

Worries: unpleasant thoughts that you can’t get out of your head, like a gnat flying around your face or fly buzzing in your ear. Worries are normal; everyone experiences worries from time to time. Typically, worries subside once you have developed a solution.

Anxiety: the body’s reaction to situations that are interpreted as frightening. Without any anxiety, we would make very poor decisions. Nevertheless, too much anxiety can lead to avoidance or unpleasant physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms. Some symptoms may be fast heartbeat, sweating, feeling sick, shaking, and feeling hot.

Worries transition to anxiety when the feelings or thoughts inhibit us from being able to perform everyday tasks such as, going to work, school, keeping us from social situations, or doesn’t allow us to participate with our family.

What can you do about anxiety? This is a great question and has many answers, there are many options based on your needs and wants.

  • Psychotherapy (aka Counseling)
    • You can speak to a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, or a Licensed Clinical Social Worker
    • Many accept insurance (insurance company can provide a list) or provide a sliding scale based on income
    • Not a one size fits all, so if you go to one therapist and you do not like the person’s style try another or ask for referrals
    • Learn coping skills for anxiety; typically Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or Exposure therapy work best for symptoms of anxiety and depends on the severity
  • Psychotropic Medication
    • You can see a Psychiatrist or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner to prescribe a medication to aid in the symptoms of anxiety
      • Remember this will help with the symptoms of anxiety, but not address the underlining trigger
    • Many accept insurance (insurance company can provide a list) or pay out of pocket
  • Exercise
    • Exercise is a natural stress buster and anxiety reliever
    • Research shows that as little as 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week can provide significant anxiety relief (Remember Tips from How to Get Your Brain Back)
    • To achieve the maximum benefit, complement this with healthy food options. Many insurance plans cover a nutritionist; call your insurance company to find out!
  • Relaxation Technique
    • When practiced regularly, relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, controlled breathing, and visualization can reduce anxiety and increase feelings of relaxation and emotional well-being.
    • Ask a therapist to help you develop coping skills with imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and controlled breathing that best fits with your lifestyle.
    • Take a yoga class
    • Get a massage!

There are many stigmas that come with mental health; the only stigma is not getting the help you need. Yes, I use mental health vs. mental illness, yes it is an illness but we need to focus on how to balance our health and our mind is part of being healthy. What we must remember first is our health for our family, if you are not mentally healthy and strong they will be the ones to suffer too. So take control and start helping yourself, be an example for generations to come!

If you have any questions or comments about my post please feel free to contact me or leave a comment!

Much love!

The Mind, The Beauty, and The Mommy

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