This quick quiz will help you know your anxiety-type and assist you to cure it. Use the exercises at the end to stop anxiety from holding you back, learn steps to cure anxiety, and kick it right in the $@&%!
Anxiety sucks. Literally. It sucks our motivation like Brad Pitt sucking the blood out of rats in Interview with the Vampire. We lose the drive to accomplish the day’s tasks, and anxiety keeps us in a state of fear or agitation. Think about the last time your anxiety kept you from doing something that you wanted or needed to do.
You’re saying to yourself, “Anxiety sucks. Now what can I do about it?” The first step is to identify it. Ever look at your wall at night and see some creepy shadow that looks like a person? Like you can see the shoulders, arms, torso, maybe even a profile of the face. Then you turn the light on and it’s your jacket hanging in some weird place and you feel relieved and silly at the same time. This easy quiz is designed to help you turn the light on and see the anxiety creep for what it really is.
Now it’s time to take the quiz. Take out a piece of paper or Post-It and write down the number of each question in order, and then simply answer each question- Truthfully. The questions are yes and no. When you’re stuck with a, “Sometimes but not always. I’m not sure how to answer that,” moment, give your memories a closer look. Remember the scene, sound, and feeling. Write Y for “Yes” and N for “No” next to the question number on your piece of paper. Go ahead and take the quiz now. Afterwards, we’ll give you a tip you can use today to help cure your anxiety.
THE QUICK ANXIETY QUIZ
1. When you’re away from home or important people do you feel panicky? Y N
2. Do enclosed spaces, tunnels, bridges, planes, needles, or certain animals make you feel sudden fear? Y N
3. Do you spend a lot of time thinking about what you’re going to say, act like, or do in social situations? Y N
4. Do you suddenly have disconnected, strange, or aloof feelings? Y N
5. Do crowds, public places, or public transportation make you feel anxious, worried, or nervous? Y N
6. Do you have a lot of worry about bad things that might happen, like an accident, family tragedy, or getting sick? Y N
7. Do you check things over and over to make sure something bad doesn’t happen?
8. Do you think something terrible might happen to people who you care about when you’re with them? Y N
9. Do certain animals or insects make you feel panicky? Y N
10. Do you have difficulty speaking up in a meeting or class? Y N
11. Do you have thoughts of losing control, dying, or other bad things happening because of a panic attack? Y N
12. Do you have thoughts about panic attacks, uncomfortable physical sensations, getting lost, or being taken over by fear when you’re in large crowds, traveling alone, or away from your home? Y N
13. Do you worry about getting bad evaluations or getting reprimanded at work?
14. Do you worry about contamination from dirt, germs, or things possibly being toxic or poisonous? Y N
15. Do you avoid going places or being away from home or the important people in your life? Y N
16. Are you frightened by heights, water, or storms? Y N
17. Do you feel panicky at the thought of giving a presentation or report to a group?
18. Do you suddenly experience a racing heartbeat, trouble breathing, faintness, or shakiness? Y N
19. Do you remain close to exits in places such as movie theatres, conference rooms, or on public transportation? Y N
20. Do you feel tense and restless most of the time or have trouble relaxing or falling asleep? Y N
21. Do you have a strong need for things to be even, symmetrical, or “just right”?
22. Do you call or text people who you care about to check that they are ok? Y N
23. Do you feel panicky at the sight of blood or needles? Y N
24. Do you feel super uncomfortable starting or joining a conversation? Y N
25. Do you leave situations early because of panic attacks? Y N
26. Do you avoid situations where you might feel trapped- such as being a passenger
in a car or stuck in a line? Y N
27. Do you have difficulty concentrating due to worry or anxiety? Y N
28. Do you feel troubled by forbidden sexual or religious thoughts? Y N
29. Do you spend a lot of time worrying or thinking about being away from people you’re close to? Y N
30. Do you frequently worry about choking or vomiting? Y N
31. Do you avoid calling or texting someone you don’t know very well? Y N
32. Do you feel worried or nervous about having more panic attacks? Y N
33. Do you worry you might have diarrhea or vomiting and you won’t be able to get to a bathroom in time? Y N
34. Do you have frequent stomachaches or headaches? Y N
35. Do you need to repeat a word or action until it feels just right? Y N
36. Do you have thoughts about causing harm to yourself or someone else that make you feel anxious? Y N
Using the scoring table below, look at each list and put a checkmark next to the number on your piece of paper for the questions you answered, “Yes” to. The more boxes checked under each anxiety category, the more likely you are to have that type of anxiety.
Quiz adapted from Jennifer Shannon,2015
Separation Anxiety: 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
Panic: 4, 11, 18, 25, 32
General: 6, 13, 20, 27, 34
Phobias: 9, 16, 23, 30
Agoraphobia: 2, 5, 12, 19, 26, 33
Obsessive-Compulsive: 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 36
Social: 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
What anxiety-type are you? Some people experience more than one sort of anxiety and most people exhibit a little bit of all of them. Yes, anxiety is normal and a lot of people have it. And by a lot I mean about 40 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States alone according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America – cut and paste this link to see the facts for yourself https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics/
Now that you have a sense of what types(s) of anxiety you experience try the following exercises to see what works for you.
EXERCISES YOU CAN USE TODAY!
Separation Anxiety: You can use a two-fold behavioral technique to start curing Social Anxiety.
Step 1. Increased Time Away from the Person – Weird, I’m suggesting you do the exact thing you’re fearful of, but the only way out is through. Fear has to be taken head on. With that in mind, it is crucial not to take on too much too soon. Start small.
Set aside a specific amount of time that you will be away/not have contact with the person e.g. 30 minutes, 1 hour, etc. You will feel the urge to call, text, go back to them, stalk them on Facebook or Instagram- DON’T! Just let it be and notice your thoughts and feelings.
Step 2. Activity Involvement – Activity involvement compliments Time Away from the Person. Think about it. What helps keep your mind off of something? Doing something else. When someone says don’t think of a purple elephant you think of a purple elephant. It’s like Dan Aykroyd in Ghostbusters; don’t think of anything…and BAM a huge Stay Puft Marshmallow Man comes crashing through the city.
So, find something to do that keeps your attention off of the person that you are anxious to be away from. Hot Tip: Spend time doing the activity with another person or group of people e.g. Go Go-karting, Walk the mall, Hit the gym, Go to the beach, whatever. If you have to go the activity alone, then at least have someone you can call if the anxiety becomes overwhelming, your mom, sibling, friend, cousin, uncle, aunt, sponsor, etc.
Panic: “Play it cool, that’s the old school rule, man…” – Nas, Mastermind. Easier said than done when having a panic attack, but Nas is on to something.
Panic attacks are terrifying. They are also short-term, predictable, and relatively harmless when they’re over. The tip offered for panic is to have a plan in place that you can use. During a panic attack is not the first time you should use your plan. You should rehearse the plan, so when a panic attack comes on you can give it a kick in the junk.
Here’s a solid plan that may work for you:
Step 1: Identify realistic and positive responses to the frightening thoughts that you experienced during previous panic attacks. For example, you have the thought, “I’m going to die” or “People are judging me while I’m freaking out.” A positive response may be, “No one has ever died from a panic attack. Panic attacks peak at 10 minutes and are usually over in 20-30 minutes.”
Step 2: Write these previously identified positive responses on an index card. Keep the index card in your purse or wallet and read it within the first 10 minutes of the attack.
General: The key to junk-kicking (Yep, junk-kicking is a clinical term coined by yours truly – Not) General Anxiety is shrinking it down.
Step 1. A useful technique to the shrink it down is draw a picture. Title the picture “This Is How My Fear Looks To Me.” Interpret the drawing first with yourself and then with someone you can trust and confide in. Closely examine the areas of your anxiety and separate them out. Some examples of general worry are I’ll fail my test, go see a movie and don’t like it, choose the wrong career path, natural disaster will hit my city, my child gets injured playing with their friends, my wife gets cancer or a serious disease, I won’t have enough money to retire, etc.
Step 2. Now, that you’ve identified the thoughts that create the General Anxiety, list several positive options for dealing with the situation, record the situation and the options in a journal, and/or decide to delay any corrective action until you speak with someone you trust and feel comfortable with.
Phobias: What I call the 4-Way Fear Cutdown technique to slash phobia.
1. Reimagine: Imagine your fear as big, terrifying, ugly, etc. Use 10-20 negative descriptive words to describe your fear in the worst way and with the worst consequences. Imagining the worst that can happen with the worst outcome makes the fear you face less big or terrible.
2. Rearrange. Write down the 4 most common thoughts you have that lead to increased fearful feelings. Take those thoughts and turn them on their head. Rearrange the thought that leads to fear to a more realistic and positive thought. The way we think affects how we feel. Change your thoughts and your feelings will follow.
3. Reassure. Write down 5 statements that will give you reassurance when you are faced with your phobia. Either memorize them or put them on a card and carry them with you. When you run into the phobia bust that card out like the gun from your proton pack, and read your statements. I know, another Ghostbusters reference. “I ain’t afraid of no ghost.” Reassuring statements will help you cope with the difficult or scary situation.
4. Relax. Distraction is powerful. Create a relaxing daydream to distract yourself when facing or thinking about the fearful situation. Now choose a relaxing situation to distract you at other times e.g. massage in a spa, laying on the beach, standing under a waterfall, etc. Distraction helps us forget the fears and worries.
Agoraphobia: Trapped, helpless, embarrassed? All three? Identifying past settings, situations, and reactions will help.
Investigate. Think of the last time you were afraid you were going to have a panic attack in a setting, situation, or circumstance.
1) Where were you?
2) Who was with you or nearby?
3) What happened and what were you experiencing before you started feeling helpless, afraid, trapped, embarrassed?
4. Where was your breathing? Chest, belly, clavicles?
5. What was the speed of your breath? Super fast, faster than usual, slightly faster than normal?
6. What else were you feeling? Sweating, dizzy, shaky, nauseous, etc.?
7. What were you thinking? “I can’t…” “I’m going to have a hear attack.” “Everyone is staring at me.”
8. What did you do? Take a walk, lock yourself in a bathroom stall, have a drink, take a pill, etc.
9. If you knew you were going to have a panic attack in exactly one hour from now use the answers to the previous 8 questions and imagine the outcome. What action are you going to take?
Obsessive-Compulsive: Obsessions are brutal on our brains and bodies. It can be exhausting to constantly think about bad things that may or may not happen or repeatedly be compelled to perform an action in a specific way to avoid something bad from happening or going wrong. Use this Thought-Stopping technique to get in the way of those thoughts.
1. List your obsessive thoughts that affect your daily functioning.
2. List 2 positive calming scenes that you can imagine to swap out for the obsessive thought. Eating a delicious candy, hiking on a mountain trail, sitting in a forest, etc.
3. Now, whenever you have the obsessive thought shout the word “STOP!” silently to yourself. Imagine a large red stop sign, and think about one of your calming scenes while breathing from your stomach and releasing any tension in your body.
The more you use Thought-Stopping the easier it will be and the faster you will obliterate those problem-causing obsessive thoughts.
Social: Social Anxiety plagues more people than you think. You are not the only one. The Living Extraordinary Evolved + Dynamic tagline is Empower Your Living. To do this you have to know your strengths and interests.
***Social anxiety and awkwardness is a tough one and we strongly recommend practicing this exercise with someone you know and trust before trying it with people you don’t know well or in situations that are not routine for you. ***
Sharing Your Strengths and Interests
1. Sit down in a quiet place and write down the things that make you feel excited and alive. Then talk with your family, friends, people you know and ask them what they think your strengths and interests are. Ask yourself, “What am I good at?” “What do people compliment me on?”
Write down at least 5 Strengths, Talents, and Interests.
2. After practicing this exercise with someone you know and trust, in the next week share your strengths and interests with three different peers or colleagues.
3. After each conversation when you shared your strengths and interests write down and answer each of the following questions.
a) Identify who you shared your strengths and interests with?
b) What strength or interest did you share with the peer or colleague?
c) How did you feel about yourself while you were sharing your strength or interest?
d) How did your peer or colleague respond when you shared your strength or interest?
e) What opportunities will you have in the future to share this strength or interest?
Take these techniques as a starting point, a foundation, and the next time anxiety steps in your way kick it square in the $@&%!
P.S. If you found this quiz or the exercises helpful, learned something, or think this may help someone you know, Subscribe, Tweet, or Share. Pay it forward.
***DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for informational and educational purposes only. This is not to be considered therapy, counseling, psychotherapy, or any form of treatment by any individuals, groups, or parties. Clinical treatment, personal situations, and diagnostic or treatment questions or comments will not be answered or responded to through this site. If this is an emergency and you feel that you need immediate assistance, contact your local emergency services, mental health crisis hotline, or your local police department.***