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Drawing the Line Between Worry and Anxiety

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us worry a little and sometimes we become anxious about the future, our finances or our family. When anxiety crosses the line to seriously impact our daily lives, it may require treatment. If you are somewhere in the middle, it’s important to understand the differences and know how you can calm your worries.

Anxiety Disorder Defined

HarvardHealth says some 40 million Americans deal with anxiety disorders each year: “Everyone worries or gets scared sometimes. But if you feel extremely worried or afraid much of the time, or if you repeatedly feel panicky, you may have an anxiety disorder."  If you believe that you or someone near to you has an anxiety disorder, get help as soon as possible.

'Almost Anxious' Defined

On the other hand, if you are just nervous about a new job, or worried about making a deadline, you may be considered “almost anxious,” according to Harvard doctors.

In that case, you may find it harder to keep everything going as your worries keep showing up. You may go to work, but struggle to maintain your usual performance levels.

You may be easily distracted, moving a little slower than usual, or just slightly off track in your regular tasks. If this sounds familiar, you may realize that worry is using up a part of your effectiveness. If you have ever watched a new parent return to work, they often show signs of worry and distraction. When you ask them a question you may only get a partial answer or some vague reply. For the time being they are at work, but their mind may be busy worrying about their new role as a parent, and their brand new baby. As parenthood levels out, that new parent may pick up speed and settle down.

If you recognize the worry pattern, you may be able to reduce your worries and regain your balance by talking with friends and family, and practicing techniques such as mindfulness meditation and relaxation techniques. Or you may just need an afternoon away to browse a favorite bookstore.

When you are worrying too much try these techniques from the book Almost Anxious.

  • Challenge negative thoughts that tell you nothing is going right, or you are falling
  • When negative thoughts won’t let go, step away for a few minutes to practice a mindfulness meditation
  • Pinpoint specific worries such as anxiety about a presentation and start making more presentations

If worry settles down as you confront it, you can use the same techniques again whenever you need them. If worry and anxiety persist see your doctor and a specialist to work through the issues.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Tempe, Ariz.

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