Anyone suffering from anxiety knows how important it is to find a cure. But there are steps to curing your anxiety that go beyond simply finding something that works. You need to commit to it, you need to plan your life around anxiety reduction, but perhaps most of all you need to show awareness.
Awareness is a skill that is crucial for controlling anxiety. There are even awareness exercises that can help you learn to control your anxiety symptoms. Awareness starts with knowledge, and uses mindfulness to provide you with the upper hand in stopping your anxiety forever.
Knowledge is the First Part of Awareness
In order to help improve your anxiety awareness, I developed a free 7 minute anxiety test that will give you a complete anxiety profile that you can use to cure your symptoms.
Awareness is more than simply recognizing you have an anxiety disorder. That's more acceptance than awareness. Awareness is also noticing how that anxiety disorder affects you and getting in touch with your body in such a way that you can control the extent of the anxiety you experience.
If you haven't taken my anxiety test yet, do so now. It'll help you understand the different ways that anxiety affects different types of anxiety disorders.
Steps to Awareness
Awareness is a skill that takes time and practice. It starts from acceptance, of course, because if you're still allowing yourself to think that your anxiety is something other than anxiety, you're only going to hurt your ability to treat it in the long term.
Once you've accepted that you have anxiety, the next step is to pay attention to all of the following:
- How You Feel Mentally You need to be able to identify when your thoughts or feelings are related to your anxiety and when they're not. If you are avoiding something because you're having worried thoughts about it that are unjustifiable, you need to be able to stop yourself and notice that your anxiety is causing you to feel that way.
- How You Feel Physically It's not just mentally either. Anxiety has plenty of physical symptoms, and there are often times when you experience these symptoms without noticing them. For example, many of those that find driving stressful have a tendency to grip the steering wheel very hard while they drive, but have no idea they're doing it. Your ability to identify when you're physically reacting to anxiety is important.
- Your Behaviors and Anxiety You'll also need to pay attention to what behaviors you may be completing that could relate to anxiety. For example, if you refuse to go to a fun social event, are you avoiding it because you genuinely don't want to go or are you avoiding it because of your anxiety? The more you can identify which are affected by anxiety and which are not, the better position you'll be in.
The reason this identification is so important is because part of treating anxiety comes from taking those feelings and behaviors and mentally choosing to overcome them. For example, if you realize that you're avoiding an event because you're letting your anxiety take control, you can essentially tell yourself that this is not acceptable, and fight through that anxiety to attend the event. You'll also know when to utilize coping tools, and you'll be more in touch with your emotions and how to regulate them.
How to Gain This Awareness
Awareness is something that is often hard in the beginning, but you can learn it over time. One method is to set up a reminder every hour or half hour on your phone or clock to check to see how you're feeling and what you're thinking. Once the reminder goes off, analyze what you were doing, feeling, and thinking at the time and see if they were fueled by anxiety.
Another thing you can do is simply learn. The more you know about anxiety through this website and others, the more you'll get a better idea of what symptoms are anxiety related and what types of behaviors may be fueled by that anxiousness. You'll be in a better position to identify what the symptom are when they're occurring, and give yourself valuable tools for combatting each one individually.
Once you've learned awareness, you'll increase your likelihood of success when attempting some type of treatment. I've worked with many people after they've become more aware of their anxiety and I've helped them to stop it forever with my free 7 minute anxiety test. This test will provide you with valuable insight based on your symptoms and recommendations for long term treatments.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.