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Flutters in your chest, stomach aches, dizziness, dry mouth, shortness of breath, feeling restless, problems falling asleep, a feeling of dread – all of these are common symptoms of anxiety. And anxiety is a very common part of grief. You have lost someone you dearly love and your world has been turned upside down. In addition to the painful feelings of loss, you may feel confused and stressed by the many tasks that are now part of your daily life.
If you have experienced anxiety in the past, you may feel it creeping back into your life. Grief may breed anxiety – but you don’t have to be controlled by it.
You can control anxiety by taking action. The following are some helpful tips to control anxiety before it controls you!
Include relaxation in your life.
Listen to soothing music, take a yoga class, or close your eyes and imagine yourself in a peaceful setting, such as the beach or a beautiful meadow. Let your imagination run free. Take in the experience with all five senses. Learn to take deep breaths. Breathe in deeply to the count of three, holding the breath for a count of three, and slowly breathe out to the count of three. Imagine yourself breathing in cool, fresh air and exhaling all the stressful thoughts and feelings.
Make diet and lifestyle changes.
Stop or limit the use of caffeine, sugar and tobacco. Engage in exercise you enjoy. Limit T.V. watching or reading that cause anxious thoughts.
Stop negative self-talk.
Using words like “I can’t do this” can make you feel helpless, which causes anxiety. Instead, use words such as “I don’t like doing this, but I will get through this.”
See your doctor.
Your doctor may want to give you medicine such as anti-depressants to reduce symptoms of anxiety. It is important to have a medical exam to be sure symptoms of anxiety are not signs of other illness.
Talk to someone caring.
Expressing your grief and fears openly can relieve stress and help you to come up with solutions for difficult situations. Grief often feels frightening and full of unknowns. Awareness of the normal symptoms of grief can be very helpful.
Pathways of Hope can provide reading material, support groups and one-on-one support to help you control anxiety. If interested, contact 937-258-4991.
*This article is featured in the Pathways of Hope Bridge Summer 2015 newsletter.