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One Less Thing to Worry About

We all know that anxiety and stress can take hold year-round, but we feel them particularly during stressful economic times.

As a therapist specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders, Jerilyn Ross, MA, LICSW, President and CEO, Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA) has spent nearly 30 years teaching people how to rid themselves of irrational fears and cope with common everyday worries that have grown beyond control. Instead of advising them to get rid of anxiety, she teaches them how to accept it.

Some anxiety is necessary to our well-being and survival. So the key is to accept it as a normal and healthy response to many stressors we face daily.

Accepting Anxiety
In her book, One Less Thing to Worry About: Uncommon Wisdom for Coping with Common Anxieties, Ross includes steps to help you make your worries work to your advantage. Here’s how:

Once you have assessed the nature of your anxiety and looked at how you interact with it, you begin to have options: You can change the way you relate to anxiety-provoking situations, you can take steps to diffuse the anxious feelings, and you can learn to tolerate and ultimately accept that worry, anxiety, and stress are an inevitable part of life. She offers a valuable tool for dealing with the inevitable—the Eight Points: Techniques to Control Anxiety, Worry, and Stress.

The Eight Points: Techniques to Control Anxiety, Worry, and Stress

  1. Expect, allow, and accept that worry, anxiety, and stress are part of life.
  2. When you feel yourself getting anxious or starting to worry, stop, breathe, and think.
  3. Focus on what you can do, rather than on what you cannot do.
  4. Label your anxiety level from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. Note the thoughts and behaviors you have at this level and what happens to the level when you change your thoughts and behaviors.
  5. Ask yourself: “What am I really anxious about?”
  6. Ask yourself: “What can I do to lower my anxiety level?”— and do it.
  7. Stay rooted in the here and now. Focus on the information you have rather than on the “what if?”s that often accompany anxiety.
  8. Expect, allow, and accept that worry, anxiety, and stress will return, because they are part of life.

They are solid steps that anyone can take anytime, anywhere, to remain grounded when anxiety threatens to throw them off balance.

One Less Thing to Worry About: Uncommon Wisdom for Coping with Common Anxieties
Jerilyn Ross, MA, LICSW, Robin Cantor-Cooke
Ballantine Books; (2009)

For more information about anxiety disorders, visit the Anxiety Disorders Association of America website. You’ll also find self-tests and referrals to therapists.

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