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Anxiety: Should we fear natural disasters and global unrest?

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Get control of unhealthy anxiety

Are recent global events keeping you up at night or consuming your thoughts all day, every day? Even if a natural disaster or a global event doesn’t happen in your backyard, you can still experience mounting – even debilitating – fear and anxiety over your family’s safety. We talked to Dr. Gregory Jantz, author of the upcoming book Overcoming Anxiety, Worry, and Fear: Practical Ways to Find Peace (Revell, 2011), about the health consequences of chronic anxiety and how to put your fears at ease.

Five easy tips to ease your anxiety

Retraining your thinking to be less catastrophic is like breaking a bad habit. Here is Dr. Jantz's five-step guide to managing your anxiety by controlling your thoughts.

1Get control of unhealthy anxietyLook for independent reality

Your fears will yell loudly in your head about imminent danger. Don't take those fears at face value -- read, ask and evaluate to see whether those fears are justified. Very often, they're not.

2Examine your conclusions

If concern takes an inch, fear takes a mile. Before you head down that road to panic, examine your destination; is that really where you're headed?

3Look for the facts

Fears have a way of shouting down facts. Because of that, they can be harder to recognize -- so you need to make sure to really look for them.

4Look at the odds

What are the odds of that what you fear will actually happen? Yes, there are damaged nuclear reactors in Japan; that is a fact. What are the odds any of that radiation will constitute a personal danger to you?

5Ask yourself: If it's true, what can I do?

Unhealthy anxiety produces paralysis and panic. Healthy concern produces action and purpose. Fears take away your feeling of power and control; taking action and being prepared can give them back.

More ways to manage your anxiety and decrease stress

4 Fast ways to lower your anxiety
8 Ways to overcome anxiety
Ten 10-minute stress busters

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