Anxiety can be “free Floating” hence difficult to point to the cause. This could be constant or intermittent. Situational anxiety relates to anxiety with a perceivable cause i.e. public speaking, dogs, etc. However the actual cause may be totally, partially or not related to the trigger. Thus it may seem inordinate to the situation.

There are numerous symptoms of anxiety. Some are emotional and others are physical.


While there are events and situations in our lives that we do not have control over, there are a number of things we can do to offset stress/anxiety and cope with it more effectively. Stress/anxiety reactions affect us emotionally and physically. The solutions are both emotional and physical.

Reducing isolation by confiding in other people for emotional support and asking for help when you need it is helpful. Interacting with someone you enjoy spending time with releases serotonin in the brain.

Sometimes there are emotional barriers to reaching out for support. Counseling can assist someone in surmounting these hurdles. Perhaps their original support system was emotionally unavailable or critical etc and they anticipate a negative reaction from people which hampers their attempts to connect.

Rethinking situations can be another way to mitigate the stressfulness of the circumstance. We give meaning and make conclusions about events/interactions that happen. Perceiving events in a number of ways allows for numerous emotional reactions that may lessen stress and possibly be more conducive to creating a more positive outcome.

Spending time every day having fun and relaxing as well as taking care of your body reduces stress physically. Exercise is another option for preventing/mitigating anxiety/stress. It raises mood enhancing neurotransmitters and feel good endorphins. Other benefits are the release of muscle tension and improved sleep. Exercise also reduces the stress hormone cortisol. In the cave days a stressor meant we needed to either engage in fight or flight. Our modern day response to stress still prepares us for this physical demand. Exercise helps to restore our balance after a stressor. There are also psychological benefits to exercise. It can increase confidence, feelings of accomplishment, meeting goals, facing challenges. It can have a positive effect on feelings about appearance and self worth. The feelings of empowerment and taking action can offset feelings of helplessness.

It is best to find an activity that you enjoy somewhat so you are more likely to stay with it. If you hate running but don’t mind walking or walking with a friend it is better to undergo a walking routine. Your starting expectation is not the eventual goal. The purpose is to get you acclimated to an activity i.e. walking 15 minutes a day 3 days a week, increasing the duration and frequency as you have been successful at the earlier level. Being successful in meeting the goal becomes motivating. Eventually the intrinsic rewards should help as motivators i.e. more energetic, relaxed etc.

As a motivator beforehand you can anticipate how you will feel when you are done the activity; better mood, relaxed, doing something that is healthy for yourself. Medications are used to assist people dealing with anxiety. Some that address primarily the anxiety and some i.e. antidepressants are used as depression and anxiety often overlap. Sometimes they are used long term and sometimes just temporarily while the person can find effective ways to cope or maybe change the situation. Lessening or eliminating caffeine while experiencing inordinate stress/anxiety can contribute to a more relaxed state.

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© Patricia McKee M.A.

Patricia McKee M.A.

University Village Area, Seattle, WA