Even without the thought of school descending upon us, there are a lot of anxious people out there, in general. In the words of a famous cable TV program, “winter is coming,” and the coming of winter always brings a certain amount of anxiety.
How do you cope with anxiety?
According to CBS News, researchers have found that nearly 70 percent of Americans are on at least one prescription drug. This research also suggests that the second most common prescription (next to heart disease medications), is for anti-depressants, and that nearly one in four women ages 50 to 64 were on an anti-depressant.
Unfortunately, research also suggests that many are dealing with their stressful lives through self-medication of alcohol, marijuana and illicit drugs rather than turning to their doctors, friends and family for help.
While I am by no means a psychologist, here are a few ways I have learned to deal with everyday anxieties, including those relating to back-to-school season.
First off, remember that everyone has stress and anxieties. It’s a part of normal life.
Howie Mandel, a well-known actor and TV host, once said, “There isn't anybody out there who doesn’t have a mental health issue, whether it’s depression, anxiety, or how to cope with relationships. Having OCD is not an embarrassment anymore – for me. Just know that there is help and your life could be better if you go out and seek the help.”
Second, try not to be a people pleaser. David D. Burns stated, “People who are prone to anxiety are nearly always people-pleasers who fear conflict and negative feelings like anger. When you feel upset, you sweep your problems under the rug because you don’t want to upset anyone. You do this so quickly and automatically that you’re not even aware you're doing it.”
As this quote suggests, it’s always a stress reliever to be able to talk to someone about your concerns and stresses. Rachel Martin, author of “Finding Joy” says keeping quiet about your anxiety makes it a burden on you, and “it becomes a brick, a weight, a pressure” on who you are that does not define in any way who you are inside.
I’m sure you have heard that exercise is a great stress reliever. I suggest that devoting your focus on any effort with a lot of energy and heart, whether it’s an exercise undertaking or a project at work, will help. In short, hard work relieves stress, but even better, work from your soul. Albert Camus once said: “Without work, all life goes rotten, but when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.”