We live in an age that wires us to worry. We get way too much information from the tv, radio, and especially the internet. There are no more secrets and almost everyone has 900 "friends" keeping them busy every minute of the day. There is never enough time to do the things we want to do. We often feel rushed, overwhelmed and frustrated that it is never good enough, fast enough or satisfying enough.

We want instant gratification and become angry or anxious when it doesn't occur. We have less and less patience and are becoming more and more anxious. This doesn't just affect us as adults, but also seniors, teens, and it is now showing up in our children who
are exhibiting symptoms of school and social anxiety, as well as fear of being bullied.

We know that anxiety is not life-threatening, and we do survive it, but it can take over your life. People who experience anxiety attacks describe it as one of the most unpleasant feelings one can have, without being physically ill. People often are misdiagnosed as having heart attacks when actually it is an anxiety attack. Feeling that you can't breathe, hyperventilating, sweating, shaking, feeling flushed, overwhelmed with heart palpitations are only some of the symptoms.

The best way to deal with these anxious feelings are to observe them early on and use your toolkit of techniques to decrease their power. What most people do is ignore the signs, hoping it will go away, and then it just gets stronger and stronger until you feel overwhelmed with a tidal wave of anxiety and at that point nothing will work but riding out the storm.

If you have experienced your extreme worry or anxiety as a 10 on the scale, you want to be noticing it coming on when you are a 4 or 5. If you cue into the early warning signs and you use the techniques I am recommending, it should greatly lessen the anxiety and in some instances,
when used often enough, clients have reported anxiety attacks ending completely.

1. Become aware of your body's signals. For example, let's say you have to make a phone call or confront someone, and your palms start to sweat or your mouth becomes dry. This is the time to start your deep breathing exercises. Inhale slowly, through your nose, to the count of 4, hold it in slowly to the count of 4 and exhale it through your mouth to the count of 6. This exercise is VERY effective in reducing worry and anxiety, but like all tips I will give you, they only work if you use it. If you are a worrier, you should be doing the breathing exercises at least 5 times a day.

2. Another technique known to quiet worry is to ask yourself the question, "In 5 years from now, how much will this matter?"

3. It also helps to be more proactive in certain cases. If you found a mole on your skin and are worring about it, taking action will help you to eliminate the problem. Calling your dermatologist and arranging an appointment will help you find out if everything is ok and if not the doctor will take care of it.

4. Statistics help too! When you are worried about something like skin cancer. The statistics I believe are something like 95% of skin lesions are curable if caught early. Of course, the worriers will say, what if i am in the bottom 5%. But just knowing that there is a 95% cure rate is reassuring and will lessen the anxiety.

5. Distract yourself. One of the things that most worriers tend to do is over think and over analyze. You know you won't come up with a better plan, but you can't seem to stop yourself from re-thinking it. This would be a good time to take your dog for a walk and notice the trees, the sky, the peace in nature. Other options are going to the gym, taking in a feel-good movie, Distract yourself from the nagging thoughts.

6. You know the expression, "Misery loves company". Well worriers also tend to attract other worriers. While, it may initially make you feel better that you're not the only one worrying, it can just multiply other worries. Try to find a supportive friend who will validate your concerns but help you see the positives in the situations or at least make some helpful suggestions as to how you might deal with it. That way you won't feel so alone and will feel supported, which will also help lower the anxiety.

7. Another statistic worth remembering is that they say that 95% of the things you worry about, never actually happen.

8. Become aware of your self-talk. The average person thinks 60-80,000 thoughts a day. If you are feeling anxious and worried that means that those are the thoughts you are thinking right now. While you can't be aware of each of these thoughts, you always know how you are feeling. Notice it and then ask yourself if it is true. Is this a real concern? How likely is this really to happen? Is there something I can do about it? Are these old tapes from my childhood or my parents voices? Figuring out where these worries are coming from can help you to see that it may not even be your worry. These may be old tapes you have inherited from your parents.

9. If you are a parent who worries, there is a good chance that you have have a child who worries too much also. Your child learns how to deal with life, not just from the words you use, but by your behaviour and how you handle stress. If you are anxious and worried, the messages many children receive, is that the world is not a safe place. If you are a worried partner, chances are it affects your abilty to feel confident, to trust and relax and
have fun in your relationships. Worry isn't an issue only affecting you, it affects the tone, the joy and feelings of peace that accompanies you into your home and with your family.

10. If you have tried these and other tips and still you live your life with anxiety, worry, and a constant feeling of distress; it may be time to accept some outside help. Whether it is some anti-anxiety medication from your doctor or cognitive tools and techniques from myself or another therapist, please consider it. See this as an opportunity to take back control over your life and find the solutions to lowering the anxiety, increase your confidence and learn how to dance with life.

Author's Bio: 

Rhonda Rabow, M.A.

Author's Bio Rhonda Rabow is an author and a psychotherapist living in Montreal, Quebec Canada. She has over 25 years experience counseling individuals, couples and families facing a variety of life challenges; from parenting, grief, depression, and self-esteem issues, to conflict resolution and marriage counseling. Her approach is empowerment and she accomplishes this by helping her clients find solutions to their problems and teaching them the skills and tools they need to feel back in control of their lives. She has also recently published an e-book called, "Discover the 3 secrets to living happily ever after".