What to Do When Anxiety Comes for You

Written by: Lynn Finnell, LMFT, LAADC | Reviewed by: Christian Small, MD

What to Do When Anxiety Comes for You

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    Anxiety is a part of life that will always exist. In recovery, you must find ways to manage it. No matter where you are in recovery, moments of anxiety can tempt even the strongest to turn to substances to cope. 

    How can you calm your anxiety, restore balance, and do it without the assistance of substances? There seemed to be such ease in the immediate release that substance use offered when anxious. Substance use was almost like a crutch for something that, in ways, contributed to its existence in your life. 

    There are healthy and natural ways you can ease anxiety. Villa Oasis offers holistic methods and different approaches, such as yoga, breathwork, bonding with animals, and utilizing equine therapy.

    What Is Anxiety?

    Anxiety, in a nutshell, is a feeling that comes over you when you are worried, afraid, or even tense. This feeling is usually connected with things that may be about to take place or that could happen in the future. These events could even be as simple as a conversation or unexpected interaction.

    Everyone experiences anxiety in some capacity. It is a natural human reflex when you feel under attack by some measure. However, these moments, piled up, can turn into anxiety disorders, which are among the most common types of mental health disorders.

    Anxiety can be experienced through your thoughts, emotions, and even physical. You may feel anxiety coming on by signs of restlessness, difficulty finding focus, irritability, and even aches and pains in the body that are unexplained or without a known cause.

    A Toxic Relationship: How Anxiety Couples With Addiction

    Anxiety on its own is a beast. When coupled with addiction, anxiety can be dangerous. Many people don’t understand that anxiety can be among those contributing factors to the origin of addiction. Then, in turn, in your addiction, you may find yourself feeling the need to use substances even more when anxious.

    Anxiety, if not managed properly can settle into your life as another unwelcomed and unwanted guest. In the same way that traumatic experiences in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood can lead to or contribute to addiction, they can also cause anxiety.

    Stimulation and relaxation are usually the initial goals of substance use. Over time that feeling becomes more and more of a need. After a while, that escape from anxiety and whatever else you may be running from can become a habit. This need to overindulge is how dependency on substances forms.  

    The relationship between you and anxiety seems cured as long as you have what you need to escape it. But what happens when the substance use starts to heighten and add to your anxiety? You find yourself in a toxic love-hate triangle with fear and what was supposed to subside it but does not any longer. 

    Having a Plan for When Anxiety Comes for You

    There are ways to meet anxiety at the door before it even comes knocking. However, you have to have a plan already in place. In recovery, you can expect the onslaught of feelings and emotions to cause you to be anxious from time to time. Anything else that triggers you to be more anxious can be dangerous if you do not have a plan for managing your anxiety.

    As anxiety attacks the mind and body, yoga and breathwork are healthy coping mechanisms Villa Oasis provides their residents to practice. Sometimes breathing or moving your body in nature with access to the sun is just what you need to relax.

    Relaxation is medicine and the remedy for anxiety. Like being in nature, bonding around animals can also be therapeutic. Here at Villa Oasis, we offer this technique as equine therapy. Equine therapy is healing for anxiety which is healing for addiction.

    There are various healthy ways to cope with anxiousness. You have to find what fits you best. Knowing what ways you best cope with the stress and fear of anxiety are critical to your recovery.

    Anxiety Maintenance Is a Part of Recovery Maintenance

    One of the biggest parts of recovery is getting a hold of your emotions. Anxiety is what scatters your emotions. This clustering of your thoughts and colliding of your emotions cause you to be flustered. Anxiety is another component of fear, and yet many fear anxiety itself. As you continue your recovery journey, you will have to find the ways that work best for you to overcome this fear.

    For instance, if you have a fear of relapse, you will be anxious just at the thought of a trigger or craving. Anxiety, without maintaining its presence in your life, can lead to relapse. As a result, preparation and healthy management of this anxiety are vital. 

    Going through it and executing your plan of healthy ways to cope with anxiety is crucial to staying sober. Whether you read a book, write in a journal, or inhale and exhale deeply, you must find a way to calm yourself win anxiety comes for you.

    Anxiety is unavoidable. Sometimes it can creep up when you least expect it. When this happens in addiction, substances are used as a crutch to get through it. However, substance abuse can cause you to be even more anxious. In recovery, many try to avoid anxiety because of the urge to use substances when it comes. The reality is that you cannot hide from anxiety any more than you could when facing your addiction. There are ways to cope with the stresses of life. You do not have to live in fear of anxiety. Villa Oasis can offer healthy alternatives to managing anxiety in your life. For more information, call us at (323) 739-8673.

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