The overwhelming feelings of doubt, worry and unease that anxiety disorders cause can make it incredibly challenging for afflicted individuals to enjoy their lives and complete their daily responsibilities. That’s why it’s absolutely critical to seek treatment if you or a loved one are suffering from one of these dangerous and potentially crippling disorders. At Family Psychiatry and Therapy, our mission is to provide you with all of the knowledge and resources you need to overcome and cope with any form of mental illness. So today, we’ll be discussing 15 simple and effective ways to alleviate and manage the symptoms of anxiety.
- Close Your Eyes and Breathe Deeply
When we breathe deeply, it invokes our relaxation response and encourages full oxygen exchange, slowing the heartbeat and stabilizing blood pressure in the process. This technique can be a great boon when you begin to experience feelings of anxiety and need to calm yourself down. Just find a quiet place to rest in for a while (like a bathroom or an empty office room), shut your eyes to block out external distractions and focus on breathing slowly and deeply. Within a few minutes, you should feel much calmer and more capable of controlling your anxious thoughts.
2. Cut Down on Caffeine
Caffeine is a potent stimulant compound that most of us use for extra doses of energy throughout the day. However, this drug can also cause anxiety, insomnia, nervousness and hypertension. Consequently, eliminating caffeine products (like soda and coffee) from your daily diet can do wonders in your battle against anxiety. Depending on how much you currently rely on caffeine, this may be a difficult task, but there are a variety of substitutes and strategies you can use to stay awake and energized without it.
- Take a Yoga Class
Believe it or not, practicing yoga (even for a few minutes each day) is an incredibly effective way to manage stress and anxiety. According to Dr. Nevins, a board-certified osteopathic family physician, “yoga practice creates mental clarity and calmness; increases body awareness; relieves chronic stress patterns; relaxes the mind; centers attention; and sharpens concentration.”
4. Exercise Daily
According to Tom Corboy, the founder and executive director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles, even short bouts (30 to 60 minutes) of cardiovascular exercise will release endorphins that lead to a reduction in anxiety. Best of all, you can tailor these workout sessions around your favorite types of physical activity, including walking, running, swimming, biking and more.
5. Listen to Music
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that taking a short time-out by listening to music can help you when you’re suffering from anxious feelings by clearing your head and taking your mind off of your troubles. You can also use audio books, podcasts, relaxation tracks and a variety of other audio tools to achieve similar results.
6. Stop Drinking Alcohol
It might seem like a good idea to drink an alcoholic beverage or two to calm yourself down and relax when you’re feeling anxious. However, alcohol actually has the potential to aggravate your anxiety further and cause you to experience a panic attack. By phasing alcohol out of your diet completely, you can protect your system from its harmful effects.
7. Eat Healthy and Well-Balanced Meals
The ADAA recommends that you avoid skipping meals and keep healthy, energy-boosting snacks on hand throughout the day to mitigate the effects of stress and anxiety. Be sure to do some research online if you’re not sure which healthy meals and snacks you should make.
8. Get Enough Sleep
When you’re wracked by feelings of anxiety, it’s easy to neglect your normal sleeping schedule, especially if you’re working through an important project or task. Unfortunately, your body actually needs additional rest during these stressful periods, which is why it’s imperative to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. This important step will keep your mind sharp and help you stay positive and productive.
9. Question Your Anxious Thoughts
Next time you’re grappling with anxious thoughts, ask yourself this key question: Is this situation objectively as bad as I think it is? If left uncontested, your anxiety can cloud your judgment and cause you to believe that your life and circumstances are more urgent and dreadful than they actually are. Regaining a rational outlook on your situation will help you with the process of pushing away those anxious thoughts and maintaining control over your emotions.
10. Try Volunteering
The ADAA recommends working with your community and volunteering when you’re suffering from anxiety. These charitable and constructive acts will create a support network for you and alleviate some of your daily stress.
11. Be Optimistic
It’s very important to avoid falling into a pattern of negative thinking when you’re anxious. These pessimistic thoughts will only feed your anxiety and make it harder for you to regain your composure and control. Regardless of how scary or threatening your situation might seem, make an effort to think positively.
- Let Go of the Things You Cannot Control
Many victims of anxiety develop a tendency to fixate on factors that are beyond their control. The next time you feel a powerful wave of panic or anxiety, don’t allow yourself to worry about situations or events that you can’t influence. Factoring out uncontrollable problems and variables from your thoughts will simplify your situation and allow you to dedicate all of your time and energy to problems that you can fix.
- Start a Journal
Keeping track of your emotions and difficulties through writing is a fantastic way to organize your thoughts and identify things that trigger your anxiety. Just be sure to write short entries in your journal every day and record the details of any anxiety attacks you experience.
- Discuss Your Anxiety With Someone Else
The simple act of describing your problems and discussing them with another person can put your anxious thoughts into perspective and make you feel better, particularly when you realize that you aren’t the only person who’s suffering from these difficult emotions. If you feel too anxious to reach out to your family members or friends, there are a number of online anxiety forums and websites you can use to discuss your thoughts and struggles with others.
- Seek Professional Help
Seeking professional treatment from an experienced psychiatrist is the fastest and most effective way to manage your feelings of anxiety. If none of the above techniques are helping you with your anxiety, it’s imperative to reach out to a professional psychiatrist as soon as possible. These mental health experts can help you to identify the sources of your anxious thoughts and give you all the help you need to overcome them.
Beat Anxiety With Family Psychiatry and Therapy
If you need additional techniques for coping with anxiety or want to arrange an appointment with a professional psychiatrist, then don’t hesitate to call or message us today. We’re always here to help.