When you’re dealing with stress and anxiety, especially over an extended period of time, you just want to get rid of it or make it go away as quickly as possible. You might find yourself avoiding certain people or situations to try to make it go away, or trying to escape from it by distracting yourself, by bingeing on TV shows, or numbing yourself with alcohol or drugs.
Some of these strategies may even help for a while, but the problem is that the stress and anxiety keeps coming back.
Getting rid of stress and anxiety completely is just not that easy...
Well, the truth is that you can’t totally get rid of stress and anxiety.
Experiencing stress and anxiety is a normal part of the human experience. Stress is a response to demands being placed on you or to feeling vulnerable in some way, while anxiety is the worry and fear that comes up in response to stress.
In fact, some stress and anxiety can be good for you in small amounts. Stress and anxiety can be motivating – it can help push you to get things done or to do a good job - or it can be a warning signal letting you know that you need to do something different.
It’s when stress and anxiety build up or continue for a prolonged period of time that it can harm your mental health and well-being.
So while you won’t be able to completely get rid of stress and anxiety in your life, you can learn ways to reduce it and manage it better. This can include:
Learning new coping strategies or finding new ways to relax and unwind
Understanding your needs and limits and being able to communicate them effectively
Limiting negative thinking and keeping things in perspective
Shifting your thinking to be more affirming, positive, and realistic, rather than fearful and catastrophic
Making time for yourself to do the things you enjoy and spend time with people who are supportive
Of course, each of these strategies is easier said than done, but with time, effort, and commitment you can see results. You can experience less stress and anxiety and more peace of mind and satisfaction. You can find relief, improve your relationships, and start to live life more fully and with joy.
Discovering new ways of coping, thinking, and responding to stressful situations can be hard to do on your own, especially if you are already under a lot of stress and have been feeling anxious for a long time. Sometimes you need additional support, and that’s ok. Reach out to someone who can introduce new strategies for you to try and who can help keep you on track with guidance and encouragement.
If you are looking for additional support for managing stress and anxiety, therapy can help. Feel free to contact me and we can set up an appointment.
Call Melanie Lopes, MFT at 415-295-2940 or send me an email.
Post written by Melanie Lopes, MFT.