Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Own Your Fear of Change


The following is a guest post by Sam Marquit, author of fmarquitv.tumblr.com

In his essay, he speaks of anxiety, what it is and how to deal with it. I am absolutely no stranger to anxiety.... I've dealt with it for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I can control it easily, sometimes it gets out of control. So, what helps? This blog helps me. Exercise helps me. Sometimes just talking it out helps me.

Of course, everyone ticks a bit differently, read on for some of Sam's thoughts and tips.

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I own several pieces of Long Island real estate, so I encounter many tenants who have a hard time adjusting to change.  It's natural for people to find comfort in a routine, fear change and feel anxiety when their routine is disrupted.  This is what protected people when the world was a scarier place, and this fear continue to protect us even today.  When the threat is small but fear is strong, this can be a problem.  

How To Feel Secure

When a person has food to eat, safe shelter and cash in the bank for emergencies, they feel safer.  Moving to a new home or starting a new job can cause fear and anxiety because people do not like their daily routine changed.  These big changes force people out of their comfort zone, and they may react with increased anxiety. 

The Effects of Anxiety

Everyone gets anxious or worries sometimes, especially when undergoing a big life change.  As humans, we have a natural fear instinct that causes us to react to stimuli that threatens our sense of security or safety.  One way we react is with increased anxiety.  After a while, this anxiety can lead to depression, trouble sleeping and other health problems.  If this happens, you should talk to your doctor. 

Relieving Anxiety

When I moved to an apartment away from my family, I started feeling frustrated and unhappy.  I had mini panic attacks where I would feel like I was choking and feel nauseous.  These physical symptoms were a direct result of my inability to cope with the move.  When the body experiences stress, it releases excess hormones, including cortisol.  These hormones can lead to high blood pressure, which can negatively affect your physical health.  I had to learn new ways to deal with these feelings to feel better and reduce physical and mental symptoms.


Getting Help

If you feel like you can't handle the additional stress, ask your doctor or other professional for help.  Sometimes talking to a close friend or family member can help offer support.  Talking about your situation with a friend or therapist can help reduce stress and anxiety.  When moving to a new home, it is normal to feel anxious and stressed, even if the move is a positive one.  Admit to yourself that you are feeling stress and talk to a friend to get advice.  Ignoring your feelings will not make them go away, and often will make them worse. 

Exercise To Reduce Anxiety

Exercise is a very effective way to reduce stress and anxiety.  When the body gets anxious, it releases adrenaline to prepare for a fight-or-flight situation.  If you do not get rid of this extra adrenaline, you feel nervous and upset.  Just 20 minutes of exercise per day can help you reduce adrenaline in your body.  Exercise also gives your mind a chance to relax and take your mind off your worries.  You're likely to find that after you exercise, your mind is clearer and you feel more relaxed and have a better outlook on life.  Now that I own my own home, I still have bouts of anxiety.  When I start to feel anxious, I do household chores in place of exercise.  Mowing the lawn or fixing something helps take my mind off my anxiety, and my house looks better when I'm done. 

Get A Change of Scenery

Sometimes changing your surroundings can help reduce anxiety.  This can be as simple as redecorating your new space in hopes of reducing anxiety.  When you move to your new home, your place with be sparsely decorated.  This will be a constant reminder that you just moved and left your family and friends behind.  Fill in open areas with furniture and pictures of friends and family.  Not only will you be reminded of your loved ones often, but adding personal touches to your new place will help it feel like home.  Invite friends and family over to your new home.  Create positive memories with your friends at your new place to help you reduce anxiety over the move.  Working on home improvement, decorating and getting into an exercise routine can help you reduce anxiety and stress.  Although these help you reduce anxiety, they will not address to root cause of the anxiety. 

If exercising and redecorating do not help you reduce anxiety, you may want to talk to a therapist or doctor.  They will help you find the cause of your anxiety and treat it.  Anxiety can be caused by many health conditions, but a doctor can help find the cause quickly.  Anxiety is often made worse by negative thoughts and behaviors, so don't forget the power of positive thinking.  Learn to think optimistically and your anxiety will probably decrease. 

The first step in thinking positively is to separate your thoughts from yourself.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most common types of therapy to reduce anxiety.  A therapist will help you identify negative behaviors and thoughts and replace them with positive ones.  Meditation and visualization can also help you learn to think in a positive manner.  If you have a positive outlook on life, you will adapt to change faster and with less stress.  Overcoming your fears and learning to welcome change is a sign of personal growth, which makes adapting to change less stressful and easier in the future. 


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xo, Tabi :D

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