Whether it’s short lived bouts or living with the condition on a daily basis, we’ve all suffered with anxiety at one point or another. It’s estimated that 40 million adults in the US live with some form of anxiety disorder, yet only 37% actually receive treatment. With so many people going without treatment, it’s no wonder that so many of us are looking at alternative ways to help ease anxiety. So what different techniques are there to help us manage anxiety? Read on for ten ways that will help you to manage it effectively.
It’s no secret that meditation has become one of those things that has really taken off in recent years. Studies have shown that it’s incredibly effective in managing stress, and doing it regularly has shown to reduce anxiety. That’s not the only benefit either, additional benefits of meditation include improved sleep, better concentration and promotes emotional wellbeing. Don’t fret thinking you have to do it for hours on end either. Meditation apps such as Headspace and Calm have exercises designed to help you take just a few minutes out of your day to relax.
While not a long term fix, distraction is a useful tool when it comes to coping with anxiety, particularly in the case of fighting off a panic attack. What works for one person may not work for another, but popular techniques include doing something creative, doing chores, watching a TV show you love, and shifting your focus to your breathing. Find what works for you and you can build up a bank of go-to techniques the next time you’re feeling anxious.
While some of us aren’t the biggest fans of exercise, it’s well known that it’s a great way to reduce anxiety and depression. It helps to release endorphins, which will help boost your mood, and just 5 minutes of exercise can create anti-anxiety effects. There’s a huge variety of options out there when it comes to deciding what exercise we take up, and it’s all about finding what works for you. Find something that you can easily fit in with your lifestyle, and also something that you enjoy – if it fits both of these categories, you’ll be more likely to stick to it!
There’s so many things that can fall under the umbrella topic of self care, and again, it’s all about what works best for you. Some may find effective self care is actually meditation or exercise as we’ve already mentioned. Others may find indulging in one of their favourite hobbies is their go-to move, while others may curl up in front of the TV for a Netflix marathon. A personal favourite of mine is to indulge in a little pampering. Treat yourself to a few goodies from one of your favourite beauty brands such as The Body Shop, Salon Skincare or Look Fantastic and spend an evening taking care of you. You can even take advantage of one of Look Fantastic’s many offers or a Body Shop discount code to save a little if you’re budget is restricted.
Planning small things such as coffee with a friend or an evening to yourself is a great way to help you stay positive and help you get through a tough period. If there’s a positive event or a treat at the end of things, focusing on that rather than your current situation can drive you to get through it.
There’s a number of tips out there that tell us how to reduce anxiety, but in a lot of cases, they don’t tell us how to relieve the symptoms that come with it. If you’re like me, sometimes the symptoms of that anxiety can be more distracting than the anxiety itself. So what can we do? Natural remedies are a great way at fighting off anxiety and it’s associated symptoms. For example, ginger is helpful for reducing nausea, peppermint tea can help with gut distress, and the relaxing scent of essential oils such as lavender can be excellent at promoting sleep.
If you’re regularly feeling anxious, it might be worth taking a look at your caffeine intake. The stimulant effect of caffeine can cause us to feel jittery or on edge, and in some cases could even trigger a full blown anxiety attack. While this is something to consider if you’re one to knock back several cups of java a day, make sure that if you do cut down, that you do it safely. Stopping your caffeine intake all together will trigger withdrawal symptoms such as headaches and funnily enough, anxiety. While they’re not dangerous, they can be unpleasant, so if you’re thinking of cutting the caffeine all together, do it gradually.
While journalling is a useful distraction technique when it comes to coping with anxiety, it’s also useful at identifying patterns or triggers. Keeping a journal for the sake of distraction gives you a whole world of opportunities, as you can write whatever you want, however you want. Whether you use it for a ‘brain dump’ just to empty your thoughts, or you keep it nice and structured is entirely up to you. On the other hand, you can also use a journal to track your anxiety symptoms or particular events that have happened that could have triggered it. This can help you to identify patterns, which in the long run can be useful at preventing anxiety. In addition, it’s also useful to have should you need to visit your doctor about your anxiety too.
It sounds obvious, but accepting that you’re feeling anxious can help you feel more in control of the situation. Sometimes if you try and fight it, it can exacerbate things. By acknowledging your feelings and reassuring yourself that it’s a perfectly normal response, you’re accepting that it’s okay to feel that way. Which it is, of course!
They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and this can be applied to anxiety too. We all know how great it feels to get things off your chest, so it can always be useful to tell someone you trust that you’re struggling. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to offload everything, but simply mentioning to a friend or relative that you’re feeling anxious can go a long way. Sometimes by opening up to someone we trust, it can often help to normalise things and reassure us that we all struggle from time to time. Of course, if you’re really struggling with anxiety to the point where it’s starting to impact your day to day life, it’s always worth making an appointment to see your doctor.
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