How To Manage Your Anxiety
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Anxiety is a feeling that everyone experiences at some point, but for some people, anxiety has a significant impact on their life every single day. In fact, generalized anxiety disorder is a diagnosable mental health condition that can be quite disabling for some people. Keeping anxiety of this magnitude under control often requires a multidimensional approach that involves medical treatment and behavioral modifications, and there are several behavioral modifications that everyone can use when they are feeling anxious to get it under control.
Learn About Relaxation Techniques
When you are anxious, you get worked up, so learning how to relax when anxiety strikes is the easiest way to management. This does take time and it is important to note that it can take some trial and error to find the relaxation technique that works best for you. The relaxation techniques that you try should be positive, so things like having a glass of wine or a cigarette should be avoided. Consider activities like deep breathing, yoga or stretching or tai chi - All of these give you a positive release for your anxiety so that you can reclaim control and prevent an attack.
Treat Your Body Right
When you are healthy and doing things that promote health, you are reducing your risk of an anxiety attack. It is important that you eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep and exercise regularly. All of these activities together can help you to be more peaceful, and they give you the strength that you need to overcome anxiety. When you are at your peak of physical health, your body and brain will work together so that you do not succumb to your emotions and become overly anxious.
Connect with Other People
Being alone often can feed anxiety and lead to further mental health issues like depression. Those who are depressed are at a higher risk for experiencing anxiety. Take the time to have coffee with a friend or call a family member for a quick conversation. This does not mean that you have to go out on a daily basis, but you should take some time each day to be social, even if it is just an hour. An easy way to do this when you have a strict schedule is to use your lunch breaks at work to connect with your coworkers. This allows you to be social without having to put off any of your responsibilities.
This sounds simple, and that is because it is. When you are in a situation where you feel anxious, turn your thoughts around to something positive. For example, if you tend to feel anxious in traffic, envision a place that makes you happy while you are waiting for traffic to move. This helps you to calm yourself down so that you can focus on the task of driving and prevent anxiety from becoming an issue. You can do this just about anywhere to refocus and center yourself when you feel that anxiety is starting to affect you.
Divert Your Attention
When someone is feeling anxious, all of their focus is on their anxiety and the thing or situation that is fueling it. The next time you are feeling anxious, identify the trigger and then put it out of your mind. For example, if you are thinking about work and feeling anxious, force work out of your mind and think about something that makes you happy and calm. You can also do something physical to divert your attention like playing a musical instrument, drawing or doing a puzzle.
Connect with Nature
It is often said that nature is man's natural antidepressant, and this is true. When you spend time in nature, it brings about a natural sense of peace that nothing else can provide. Go for a hike or a bike ride at the park, or walk along the beach to calm and center yourself. If you live in the city and do not have a good park close by, even just sitting in your backyard can help because you are still outside with green and lush surroundings. If you have a family, taking a walk outside or in a park together is a great way to connect with others and nature while also getting some exercise.
Anxiety does not have to rule your life and you can use the methods discussed above to ensure this. For many people, it takes a mixture of these methods to ensure that their anxiety does not get the best of them. The good thing about these methods is that they not only work to calm anxiety, but they also help you to refocus your mind so that you feel better and more focused overall.
- Rosemary Kitchen
Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2014). Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress. Retrieved on January 29, 2015 from http://www.adaa.org/tips-manage-anxiety-and-stress
Smith, M., et al. (2014). Stress Management. Retrieved on January 29, 2015 from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm