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  • Jocelyne Martinez

How do you know it is anxiety?

November through January are the busiest months for any individual whether you are planning a holiday dinner for 10+ people or writing out your goals for 2024. Taking on new challenges can bring on various feelings ranging from excited to anxious. How do you know that you are feeling anxious?

Anxiety manifests itself in different ways depending on the individual and the situation. We can experience physical symptoms such as a rapid pulse, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness. Sometimes we may feel tension in our neck, back, shoulder, or jaw. The symptoms can also be mental such as constant worrying leading to low focus/ concentration, tension, and sickness. Everyone experiences anxiety, but if it often gets to the point where it inhibits your quality of life then it’s advised to search for support.

Here are some ways to decrease your anxiety:

Take care of your body

It’s important to consider hormonal changes you may be experiencing which may heighten your anxiety. During times that you are feeling heightened anxiety, it is recommended to exercise regularly, sleep well, eat balanced meals, and avoid alcohol, nicotine, sugar, and caffeine.

Take a breath

Controlled breathing naturally stops the automatic stress responses of your body. It is recommended to do 1 minute of deep breathing at least 10-15 times per day. You can set a reminder on your phone or smart watch.

Have fun

Set aside time to spend an afternoon with a good friend, watch your favorite show, or engage in a hobby for 1 hour. It can be hard to let loose when you have worries in the back of your mind. Be patient with yourself and progressively make time for something you enjoy. Maybe one week you’ll make a goal to spend 10 minutes doing something enjoyable, then increase it to 30 minutes, then 60 minutes. Another idea would be to find an enjoyable activity that incorporates the previous two recommendations such as yoga, joining a local kickball league, knitting, or learning to cook a new recipe.

Create a thought-stopping statement

Whenever you feel yourself losing control of your worries, you can ground yourself by saying a thought-stopping statement. For example, my thought-stopping statement is “Breathe. Can you do anything about it right now? No. Let’s focus on this instead.” Be creative and do what works for you.


A good plan will not cause worry. Plan to resolve what has been bothering you by identifying the problem, listing problem solving options, picking one, and writing out a plan of action. A common behavior of those experiencing heightened anxiety is re-planning for the same problem. Once you choose a solid plan, stick with it and create a thought-stopping statement such as “Stop! I have a plan.” Or “No, this plan is set.”

Everyone is unique, these suggestions are not a “one size fits all”. The journey to decrease your anxiety does not have to be lonely. If you are interested in getting support, contact us to connect with our providers who are experienced and trained in anxiety disorders and anxiety management. You can reach us by filling out a contact form on, emailing, or calling 619-500-4637.

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