Your question: How do I feel when anxiety goes away?

My reply:

Hi, I hope this message finds you well. My name is Cesar Guedez, a psychologist trained in cognitive behavioral therapy. Anxiety is a natural response of the body to external pressures. It is therefore a normal and necessary feeling to adapt to the stresses of everyday life, no matter how unpleasant the experience may be.

Generally, anxiety makes you feel hopeless and fearful. The psychological symptoms of anxiety are related to the feeling that everything is out of your control and that something terrible could happen at any moment.

It is common that when you experience recurring episodes of anxiety, it becomes difficult to determine when an episode of anxiety is over. You may also question whether you will ever stop feeling anxious for good, and that makes you anxious because you see anxiety as a burden or sentence.

Is your anxiety necessary?

First, you must understand that anxiety itself is not negative, except when it is chronic and involves a psychiatric diagnosis. In such cases, psychological intervention and medication help people to carry out their daily activities without this implying a major problem.

Anxiety itself is a symptom, a warning sign that something is not going well in your life and must be addressed for your peace of mind. So, you must learn to see it and treat it as a tool rather than a disease or a burden. By understanding the specific workings of your anxiety, you facilitate the process of anxiety intervention, and you will find more accurate strategies to reduce it.

How do you know if the anxiety is gone?

First, you must know how to identify when anxiety is present in your life. For this, a valuable technique is the panic diary(1).  Basically, it consists of writing down in a notebook the situations that make you anxious, detailing what physical and emotional sensations the specific situation caused you.

In this diary you will keep a record of the everyday situations that make you anxious, as well as the associated symptoms. Everyone experiences anxiety differently so your symptoms are unique. You may feel tachycardia and stomach pain, you may feel fear of dying, want to run away or want to cry. You know your body better than anyone else, and it is important to record all these details in your journal to give a record and tell the story of how anxiety works in your particular case.

Once you have done this, it will be easier to identify when an anxiety episode is over. When identifying specific symptoms, you should ask yourself the question, “From 1 to 10, how intense is this symptom at this time? If the number is significantly low, you can conclude that the anxiety episode is over.

Will you ever stop feeling anxious?

Because it is a natural part of life, anxiety cannot be completely eradicated. Although it is annoying and unpleasant, it is useful for sending signals to your body that a real or imagined stressful threat is in your life, and you must work to cope with it.

There is no specific time for the duration of anxiety episodes or anxiety disorders. The duration is variable according to characteristics such as gender, age, job, and associated medical and psychological problems. However, all research points to one thing: instead of looking for anxiety to go away forever, you should work on strategies that decrease symptoms and make you feel more comfortable with yourself.

How to relieve your anxiety?

There are a number of things people do to help cope with symptoms of anxiety and make treatment more effective. The American Psychiatric Association (2) makes several recommendations, including:

  • Seek out support groups, in-person and online, for people with depression, anxiety or other emotional problems.
  • Avoid caffeine, which can worsen symptoms.
  • Learning more about the specifics of a disorder and helping family and friends to understand the condition.
  • Applying relaxation techniques and medication to help with anxiety episodes.

In my experience…

The proper question that people should ask themselves regarding anxiety is “how to learn to live with anxiety” since it is something that will be part of our life. Through managing your emotions and learning to cope with life’s problems in a more effective and assertive way, the feeling of anxiety will diminish, and you will feel it “go away” a little bit from your life, being present to remind you that you are human and it is okay to be unwell at times.

I hope that with these suggestions you can improve. I recognize and applaud you for seeking professional counseling, because it shows that you want to feel better and you are on the right path to change the things that make you feel bad. I believe that you all have the capacity to improve, although sometimes your mind makes you believe that you have no solution. It was a pleasure to write to you.

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