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  • Writer's pictureTommy Cicero

Managing stress and anxiety

"The opposite of anxiety isn't calm, it's self-trust."

- Tory Eletto

We all have different relationships with anxiety. While anxiety is prevalent in the most common mental health disorders in the US, affecting nearly one out of five adults, most people experience some type of anxiety or stress, if even on a mild and infrequent basis. It's a more common occurrence in the fast-paced information age world we live in today. Throw a global pandemic and current culture wars in the mix to the plenty of reasons people experience stress and anxiety. With some self-awareness, we can learn to address and manage our stress on our own, or know when it might be time to turn to a professional.

I work for an employee assistance program (EAP) where I speak with dozens of people every week from clients all across the US. I would say about a third of the calls I receive are about stress and anxiety. What I truly value about the people who call into the EAP line is they are reaching out for help. They may have had a little encouragement by their employer or a loved one, but they are non mandated to talk to me. Some of them already have their own set of coping skills they use. Some of them end up learning a bunch of helpful stress-relief techniques to help manage their anxiety.

They had enough self-awareness to realize they could use the help. Some of them did not want to experience it or ignore it any longer. Being able recognize when we are experiencing stress and anxiety, and then actually doing something about it, is how we avoid having it lead to further mental health issues that may negatively affect our lives. It's normal for anyone to experience stress and anxiety. It's also becoming more normal to talk about it and do something about it. We do not have to get diagnosed to admit we can use some help managing our anxiety.

Stress and anxiety belong to wide array of mental health disorders that vary in the way they affect our ability to live our lives. It can affect our emotions that cause fear, worry and doubt. These are all emotions everyone experiences on different levels. When we can admit to ourselves how normal it is to feel this way, hopefully, we can admit it is also completely normal to address it too. This way we can improve the quality of out lives by making an effort to manage stress and anxiety instead of putting up with it or pretending it's not there.

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