Anxiety is a serious condition that affects the lifestyles, job performance and self-confidence millions of Americans, including those who have been diagnosed with panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorders. But even if you have not been clinically diagnosed, anxiety can still inhibit your brain’s ability to deal with stressful situations.

From relationship stress to problems at work or school, to personal issues with body image, goal setting or feelings of accomplishment, anxiety manifests itself in the form of physical tension, poor sleeping habits, body aches, nervous tics, negativity, and other unfortunate side effects. While you may not be able to completely cure your anxiety on your own, here are 7 ways that you can arm yourself against anxiety andworry.

1. Check in with yourself periodically. It’s easy to get carried away and respond to external situations only, but if you mentally check in with yourself during the day to evaluate your stress level and emotional well-being, you can take a step back and talk yourself through your anxiety before it gets out of control.

2. Become aware of yourself physically: In addition to monitoring your mind and your mood, make a point to relax your body. Relax your jaw, back, shoulders, stomach and legs. You’ll feel better almost immediately.

3. Know your triggers. If you’re able to identify the people, places or situations that make you uncomfortable or angry, you can better prepare yourself to deal with the situation in a constructive manner and avoid an anxiety attack.

4. Track your goals and to-dos. An easy way to re-gain perspective and feel like you’re in control is to track all of your long-term and short-term goals in detail. In the morning, go over what you want to accomplish each day, and cross off each item when you complete it.

5. Avoid negative thinking. When you catch yourself thinking negative, deconstructive thoughts that cripple your self-confidence or attack others, think of way to turn the situation into a positive, constructive one that puts you in control.

6. Exercise. Regular aerobic exercise like cardio workouts, running or swimming can help you relax and vent frustration.

7. Think of peaceful, pleasant things when you start to lose your cool. Create a safe “happy” place in your mind that you can retreat to in order to relax when you start to feel out of control, angry or worried.

This post was contributed by Jill Gordon, who writes about the online colleges. She welcomes your feedback at Jill.Gordon25@

Published by @INeedMotivation