Action Anxiety Day: Understanding, Reducing Stigma, and Accessing Resources

June 10th marks Action Anxiety Day (AAD), a significant national awareness and education day dedicated to understanding anxiety, reducing stigma, creating awareness of evidence-based resources, and raising funds to support free anxiety programs. Anxiety disorders affect millions of people worldwide, making it crucial to educate the public and provide support to those in need. On this day, we come together to learn, share, and take action against anxiety.

Understanding Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural response to stress, characterized by feelings of worry, nervousness, or fear. While occasional anxiety is a normal part of life, persistent and excessive anxiety can interfere with daily activities, leading to what is known as an anxiety disorder. Common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and phobias.

Reducing Stigma

One of the primary goals of Action Anxiety Day is to reduce the stigma associated with anxiety disorders. Stigma can prevent individuals from seeking help, exacerbate symptoms, and lead to feelings of isolation. By openly discussing anxiety and sharing personal experiences, we can foster a more understanding and supportive environment. It’s essential to recognize that anxiety disorders are medical conditions, not personal failures, and that seeking help is a sign of strength.

How to Help Someone with Anxiety

Supporting someone with anxiety involves understanding and patience. Start by educating yourself about anxiety and its various manifestations. This knowledge will allow you to empathize better and provide informed support. When your loved one shares their feelings, listen actively without judgment. It’s important to create a safe and non-judgmental space for them to express their fears and concerns. Avoid giving unsolicited advice or minimizing their feelings, as this can make them feel misunderstood and isolated.

Encourage them to seek professional help if they haven’t already, and offer practical support such as accompanying them to appointments or helping them find a therapist. Additionally, patience is key—recovery and management of anxiety can be a slow process. Small gestures, like helping with daily tasks or encouraging healthy habits, can alleviate some of their stress. Engaging in relaxing activities together, like walking or practicing mindfulness, can also provide comfort and support.

Navigating Anxiety: 4 Effective Ways to be Begin Managing Anxiety

  1. Cognitive Reframes & Self-Compassion 

Engage in cognitive reframing by consciously steering away from negative thoughts that intensify anxiety. For instance, instead of fixating on thoughts like “I’m not good enough to handle this situation, and I’ll probably mess it up,” remind yourself that anxiety is manageable and doesn’t define your capabilities. Transforming negative thoughts into neutral or positive ones, such as recognizing past resilience and potential for growth, can help prevent anxiety from escalating and promote a sense of calmness and control within your body.

  1. Square Breathing

Implement square breathing by inhaling through your nose for four seconds, holding for four seconds, exhaling through your mouth for four seconds, and holding again for four seconds. This technique helps regulate the nervous system, reducing anxiety and inducing relaxation through controlled breathing cycles.

  1. Psychological Sigh by Huberman Labs

Utilize the psychological sigh technique advocated by Huberman Labs. Inhale deeply through your nose, take a second brief breath on top of your full lungs to fully expand your lungs, and then exhale slowly and completely through your mouth. This method activates the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing anxiety and fostering a state of calm.

  1. Vigorous Exercise

Engage in vigorous exercise to give your anxiety “a job” and release excess energy.

This prevents anxiety from circulating through your body with no release. Physical exertion helps reduce anxiety symptoms and promotes a sense of well-being.

References: 
https://www.anxietycanada.com/get-involved/action-anxiety-day/

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