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Understanding and Dealing with Anxiety

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By Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson

As I was thinking about sharing this topic with you, I knew it would truly come from the heart. If you go online, there are many definitions of anxiety, but the one I want to share with you is this: Anxiety is a stress response that I refer to as a signal – it’s alerting you or me of something that we should alter or attend to.

I wouldn’t dare minimize anxiety and its effects, but my hope is that when we begin to understand and simplify some of these things that we are dealing with, we will be able and willing to confront and heal.

Now, that is a simple definition that I shared, but know that anxiety comes with a host of triggers, and it can range in severity – from moderate and manageable to severely debilitating with medication (and possible hospitalization).

One of the main markers of anxiety are physical symptoms such as nervousness, dizziness or even pain. Other physiological symptoms include feelings of fear, tenseness, or dread…some even report feeling hot or cold sensations throughout their body. So again, by no means will I ask you to take this lightly.

This is the season where financial, societal, and family pressures can trigger anxiety responses to a great degree.

It’s tremendous pressure that is applied to us to do and to have and it demands a response – often one that comes with negative side effects such as anxiety, stress, and depression. But I’m asking you to acknowledge and/or address the weight – the anxiety that you feel. Then confront it and work to understand it.

By getting an understanding of anxiety, I am asking you to seek medical help, document its symptoms, know its triggers, and employ tactics or medications to help you manage and overcome.

And for some this may seem uncomfortable, but when dealing with anxiety, talking to someone about your life’s challenges or stressors can help pinpoint the root of it. This could be a trusted friend or confidant or a licensed counselor. That may prove to be the healing you need. Because if we are honest about it, most of us have already dealt with anxiety or will deal with it in the future.

And even if we didn’t define it as that, we certainly have felt some of anxiety’s repercussions when life gives us that loss of a job or relationship; or unexpected bills that are immediately due; or health or life season shifts that we were improperly prepared to face.

So first, my goal is to simply make you aware that anxiety does exist. We cannot deny our way to healing, but we can create a plan to successfully deal with it. Second, I ask you to take a step farther and seek help by talking to your medical doctor and/or a mental health professional. Third, commit to rest and self-care during this season – do those things which minister to and restore you. And no, you don’t need anyone else’s permission to do so.

And whether you take the path of naturally healing, or choosing to heal with the help of medicines, the choice is left solely up to you. My goal is to not see you just survive this holiday season but thrive and enjoy all the gifts it brings.

I sincerely believe that you have the power to overcome anxiety or any mental health challenge that confronts you.

As always, I’m cheering for you, and I am just a call or email away.

Keisa Sharpe-Jefferson is a life coach, author and speaker. Her column appears each month online and in The Birmingham Times. You can contact Keisa at keisasharpe@yahoo.com and visit http://www.allsheanaturals.com for natural hair and body products.