Feeling anxious is our body’s natural response to being in uncertain, dangerous, and unknown situations. But some people feel anxious doing seemingly normal things like socializing, talking in class, etc. This might be an indication of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder symptoms include trembling, hyperventilating, sweating, feeling helpless and nervous, increased heart rate, etc. These symptoms can interfere with your daily life activities.
When you feel anxious about a place, activity, person, or thing, you start to avoid it. And this can seriously come in the way of your education, relationships, employment, etc. Anxiety is not only harmful to one’s physical health but mental health. That’s why finding healthy ways to deal with anxiety is essential.
In extreme cases, your healthcare provider might put you on medication, but there are some tips and strategies that you can adopt to deal with your anxiety before it turns into something serious.
This article discusses five healthy ways, both long-term strategies and quick tips, to deal with anxiety.
- Try Therapy:
Trying therapy is one of the safest and most effective ways to deal with anxiety. Different psychotherapy options help better identify your triggers, understand your anxious feelings, and develop effective coping strategies. For example, Opposite Action DBT is one such therapy you can try. The opposite action technique is a part of dialectical behavior therapy. Opposite action DBT is great for emotional management and has positive effects on one’s mental health.
Basically, in opposite action DBT, when you have overwhelming feelings and your feelings are encouraging you to do something, you do the exact opposite of that. It’s clear how beneficial it is for those who have self-harming thoughts.
When you encounter intense emotions like anger or fear, some neural pathways in your brain trigger physical responses like muscle tension or increased heart rate. So, acting against these automatic responses disrupts the neural circuits and reduces physiological symptoms. Thus, this evidence-based technique can help you in managing your anxiety-driven behaviors.
- Stay Physically Active:
Staying active improves your fitness and helps you manage your anxiety. To keep physically active, include exercising in your daily routine. Exercise is a great stress reliever. It is not only for when you have to get abs and tone your body, but it can help you calm down and reduce anxious feelings. Exercise also helps you improve your mood.
But we don’t mean you have to hit the gym daily for 2 hours to deal with anxiety. Instead, slowly incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Start by doing 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity every week, like brisk walking, cardio, etc. Once you get used to this, you can slowly increase the duration and intensity of your physical activities.
The key here is to find the physical activity that you enjoy doing so that it can help calm you down and reduce anxiety. You can jog, bike, swim, walk, lift weights, or do whatever you find exciting and makes you happy.
- Improve Your Eating And Sleeping Habits:
Some minor lifestyle changes can go a long way in coping with anxiety. Your current lifestyle can be a cause of your anxiety, and by improving and changing what you eat, how much you sleep, etc., you can significantly alter how you experience anxiety and prevent anxiety flares. The food you consume has a major effect on your mood and stress levels. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a powerful tool in reducing stress, as shown by studies.
Similarly, sleep plays a huge role in your physical and mental well-being and also your anxiety levels. Research shows that problems with sleep are one of the risk factors leading to anxiety disorders. Even if you experience short-term disruptions in sleep, it can increase your stress and anxiety levels. To improve your sleep, make and stick to a bedtime routine. Don’t use your mobile phone or any other electronics when you are in bed. Work on your sleep hygiene, and you will develop a sound sleep routine.
- Start Journaling:
To deal with your anxiety, you need to know your anxiety. Which means you must know what thing is adding stress to your life. Is it school, family, or work? Similarly, you need to understand which anxiety management techniques are working for you. Do you feel calmer after breathing exercises or yoga? You need to know how much improvement you have made thus far, etc., to improve your situation. And the best way to keep track of all these things is by journaling.
When you write things down, finding a pattern is easier. Because when you see a specific situation repeatedly resulting in you having anxiety, you know you need to work on it first. If you see that a specific exercise is more helpful than others, you do more of that. Etc. Regular emotion-led journaling also lowers depression, anxiety, and distress.
- Try These Quick Tips:
Till this point in this article, we have discussed long-run strategies. But there are also some quick fixes or tips that you can try that will alleviate your anxiety. The first quick tip is to try breathing exercises when you feel anxious. You might have noticed that you start breathing shallower and faster when you are anxious. This puts your body in an alert and panic mode. So it’s necessary to bring back your breathing to normal. There are different breathing exercises you can try. For example, count to three and slowly breathe in, then count to three and slowly breathe out.
Another common problem that people face when they are anxious is muscle tension. You can try progressive muscle relaxation techniques to quickly lessen the tension in your muscles when you are anxious. For muscle relaxation exercises, it is preferable to find a quiet place. Close your eyes and slowly tense and then relax every muscle group in your body from your head to your toes. The effective way is holding the tension for three seconds and then quickly releasing it.
Other than these, there are many yoga poses you can try that will calm down your mind and body and make you feel relaxed. You can also meditate to overcome anxious feelings. Visualization techniques are also an effective way to deal with anxiety.
Not a day goes by without us feeling anxious about one thing or another. But if you are in a constant state of worry, you might have an anxiety disorder. If you have high anxiety levels, it can get in the way of you living and enjoying your life. Anxiety can deteriorate your mental and physical health. You must opt for healthy tips and strategies to deal with anxiety. This article points out five healthy ways a person can deal with anxiety and enjoy a better, healthier life.