by Brandy D. Anderson
Stress and anxiety are certainly things all of us can relate to, at least to some extent. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming and we need some coping techniques to help us get through the rough patches. These four pages offer different practical approaches to dealing with anxiety, with tips on how to overcome it.
This page comes from Psychology Today, the revered publication which says they’re “devoted exclusively to everybody’s favorite subject: Ourselves.” PT goes on to say that on their site they “have gathered a group of renowned psychologists, academics, psychiatrists and writers to contribute their thoughts and ideas on what makes us tick. We’re a live stream of what’s happening in ‘psychology today’”. Going strong since 1967, Psychology Today is once of the best places online to go if you’re looking for help.
Dr. Neel Burton wrote a piece here called “Coping With Anxiety: Simple strategies for reducing or eliminating your anxiety”. The beginning of the page is divided into two sections, “Symptoms of anxiety” and “Panic attacks”. Burton then starts to discuss ways of managing anxiety. He says, “The first step in managing anxiety is to learn as much as you can about it, as a thorough understanding of your anxiety can in itself reduce its frequency and intensity. It can be tempting to avoid any objects or situations that provoke or aggravate your anxiety, but in the long term such avoidance behaviour is counterproductive. When anxiety comes, accept it. Do not try to escape from it, but simply wait for it to pass. Easier said than done, of course, but it is important that you should try.” The rest of the page breaks down detailed ways of coping; the subsections include: “Making a problem list”, “Using relaxation techniques”, “Implementing simple lifestyle changes”, “Sedatives” [for short term relief], and “Taking treatments”.
HelpGuide.org is a sleek, easy-to-use, comprehensive “Trusted guide to mental, emotional, and social health”. In the “About” section, you learn that they’re known as “Digital Mental Health Pioneers, Global: The California Community Foundation used this description when they recently honored us as ‘Unsung Heroes’. We started HelpGuide in 1999, dedicated to our daughter, Morgan Segal. We believe her tragic suicide could have been avoided if she had access to professional information that gave her help and hope. We wanted to create an online experience that empowers people to help themselves create better mental health.”
HelpGuide.org goes on to say, “During the last 16 years we kept expanding and refining the website. We stay on top of developments in the psychological, social, and medical sciences, both through our own research and via our collaboration with Harvard Health Publications. HelpGuide has become a globally acclaimed resource serving over 80 million people annually.” At the top of the page, there are directional tabs, and under the “Topics A-Z” you’ll find a long list of choices. The section on “Anxiety” begins by saying, “There are different forms of anxiety—and successful ways of overcoming the problem. Explore the various types of anxiety disorders and their symptoms, and what you can do to get relief”. Each topic includes large subtopic thumbnail links; for instance under “Anxiety” you can choose “Anxiety Disorders and Anxiety Attacks”, “Panic Attacks and Panic Disorders”, “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder [OCD]”, “Social Anxiety and Social Phobia”, and seven others. Each subtopic then contains a description of what the term means, an anecdotal example, followed by signs, symptoms, treatments, and coping mechanisms.
If you look on their “About” section, you’ll read that RealSimple.com ‘showcases’ “good-to-know information with inspiring ideas”, saying they are “the go-to site for those who are looking to make life easier”. Although this site isn’t a strictly scholarly one, their claim that they “provide smart, realistic solutions to everyday challenges” is accurate. The great thing about this site is that they often provide informal but useful advice, making good on their promise to help readers “Find solutions quickly. With an enhanced search and browse, you can easily find exactly what you’re looking for”.
Dr. Robert L. Leahy wrote “10 Ways to Cope With Anxiety: Need help managing your worries? Follow this psychologist’s advice”. Leahy begins by saying that we can all relate to anxiety, before he lets us know that “there is something you can do to help―something more effective than the usual advice to ‘be positive’ or just ‘stop thinking so much.’ The latest research on anxiety suggests innovative, even odd, techniques for coping successfully with recurrent worries. I’ve seen these work for hundreds of patients. In fact, I’ve found that most people can get a grip on things if they take a few minutes to develop a different relationship with their thoughts and feelings. Here are 10 approaches to try”. Next, there’s a step-by-step description on how to achieve these results: “Repeat your worry until you’re bored silly”, “Make it worse”, “Don’t fight the craziness”, “Recognize false alarms”, “Turn your anxiety into a movie”, “Set aside worry time”, “Take your hand off the horn”, “Breathe it out”, “Make peace with time”, and “Don’t let your worries stop you from living your life”.
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation has been around since 1987 and is one of the top scientific grant awarders in the nation. Their mission statement reads, “The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is committed to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness by awarding grants that will lead to advances and breakthroughs in scientific research”. They achieve this because “100% of all donor contributions for research are invested in NARSAD Grants leading to discoveries in understanding causes and improving treatments of disorders in children and adults, such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, autism, and bipolar, attention-deficit hyperactivity, post-traumatic stress and obsessive-compulsive disorders”.
BBRF begins their coverage of anxiety by asking, “Did you know that 40 million American adults live with anxiety disorders each year? 18% of American adults are affected by an anxiety disorder such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and specific phobias each year”. The page on anxiety is split into five sections: “Generalized Anxiety Disorder”, “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder [OCD]”, “Panic Disorder”, “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]”, and “Social Phobia [or Social Anxiety Disorder]”. The page continues by explaining the symptoms of each, with more detailed links available. Below that are several more sections including “How are anxiety disorders diagnosed?”, “What is stress”, “What is the impact of stress?”, “What are main symptoms of stress in adults”, “What are the symptoms of stress in children and teens?”, “What is resilience?”, and finally, “Are there coping factors to help deal effectively with stress?”. Beyond this, each anxiety section has a separate link which brings you to more indepth information on the topic.