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Understanding Anxiety: Recognition & Management

Author: Diane Flick, LCSWWe all have fear. Fear is a normal emotional response to specific threats or danger. Anxiety related to fear, however, is a response to “possible” threats rather than something specific happening. Anxiety can be described as a fear that something bad may happen. People may get anxious or have anxiety about a number of things or situations. Common situations that create anxiety for people are: dealing with difficult people, public speaking, visiting the dentist, having surgery, etc. Worrying about the future creates anxiety. Some people anticipate something bad happening and do a lot of “what-if” thinking. These thoughts can fuel the anxiety and lead to a feeling of panic.In order to manage anxiety, you have to recognize that it is happening. I encourage people to pay attention to their “body signals” that might help them to work through their anxiety before it gets too high. Signs of anxiety can include physical and cognitive / mental changes. The physical signs of anxiety may involve: muscle tension, feeling warm, sweating, clammy hands, tightness in chest, shallow breathing, rapid heartbeat, etc. Mentally you may notice: racing thoughts, trouble focusing, thoughts of being unsafe or that something bad may happen. The best way to manage anxiety is to address it before it gets too high. Being self-aware of what your body and mind is doing is very important. I encourage people to do a lot of “self-talk” that involves statements to oneself that help to calm down and handle the situation. Staying focused on the present can help people feel that they have a bit more control of things instead of worrying about possible things that could happen in the future. Meditation, journaling, exercise and relaxation training can also help lower anxiety. Keep calm and carry on!

About Diane Flick, LCSW

Diane Flick is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides services for The Primary Health Network. She joined The Primary Health Network in April 2008. Mrs. Dado graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Clinical Sociology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Summa Cum Laude with her Master of Social Work Degree from California University of Pennsylvania.

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