Anxiety can be a very hard mental health problem for many to fight. There isn’t one right way to deal with anxiety, and you can come up with your own techniques and things to tell yourself to calm yourself down when you feel anxious. Now Forbes has taken a look at how people deal with anxiety differently, and what the different kinds of reactions to anxiety there are.
Your Personal Style in Dealing With Stress
Paula Davis-Laack teaches an online course about dealing with anxiety at Stanford University. She has also written a book called The Upside of Stress, which may seem like a funny title, but learning how to deal with your anxiety can be incredibly helpful.
As she writes in Forbes, “Just knowing that there are a variety of ways to respond to stress was enormously helpful for me in terms of thinking about my own stress response style. Being able to view adversities as challenges (rather than threats) and knowing that your stress response is meant to help you connect with others can really make a difference in how you process stress moving forward.”
Knowing how you react to stress and anxiety is important to your mental health. As Davis-Laack continues, “Consistent stress sensitivity and lack of stress resilience have been shown to predict future mental-health outcomes.”
Davis-Laack then listed the five common ways that people deal with stress and anxiety. There’s the freeze response, where you are paralyzed by anxiety. Then there’s the fight response, where you get into a self-defense mode to combat stress. Flight response is when fear makes you want to flee or escape. Then there’s the challenge response.
As Forbes writes, “How you think about stress matters enormously in terms of how you process it. Some people view stress as a threat, while others are able to view it as a challenge.”
When you look at stress and anxiety as a challenge, “you get additional energy, your heart rate rises, and your adrenaline goes up.” When you know how to deal with anxiety in a positive way, you’re more focused, and “you are more easily able to access your mental and physical resources…People who are able to think about stress more as a challenge and less like a threat report less depression and anxiety, higher levels of energy, work performance, and life satisfaction.”
How to Reach Out For Help
While it’s important to have the inner strength and resources to deal with anxiety and stress, it’s okay to ask for help as well. This is what Davis-Laack calls a “tend-and-befriend response.”
Opening up to a friend where you can mutually confess your anxieties can be very helpful. “Being able to reach out to close friends, colleagues, and family members is central to resilience, flourishing, well-being, happiness, and just about every other positive metric of human functioning.”
So before your next stressful moment comes, look at how you can respond to it. Ask yourself how would you prefer to respond to stress, and how would you like to improve how you currently respond to it? And it’s good to think of different ways you can respond to stress in the future.
None of this comes overnight, but if you start improving your stress and anxiety responses now, it should benefit you greatly in the long run.