Anxiety has the potential to affect work, relationships, and physical health. If unmanaged or ignored, it can grow and show signs of a mental health disorder. Even if you don’t have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, overwhelming feelings of uneasiness and apprehension will probably arise sometime in your life. Roughly three out of every four people with stress or anxiety say that it interferes with their daily lives.
Cognitive therapy, group counseling, and confiding in support systems are all great ways to manage anxiety and stress. Unfortunately, there are times when these resources aren’t available. So, what can you do when anxiety arises at work, at a social event, or while trying to handle day-to-day activities?
Thankfully, anxiety doesn’t have to drag you down throughout the day. There are many quick and easy things you can do by yourself to help alleviate anxiety. Below, we’ll explore a few of these different techniques.
1. Take A Time-Out
Today, more than ever, we are constantly bombarded with distractions and feel the need to answer every text, social media notification, and email. However, it’s important to give the brain a rest from connection, whether it be digital or physical. And if you’re undecided about a stressful situation, walking away temporarily can bring you some clarity.
You don’t need an hour to achieve the benefits of taking a time-out. Just two minutes of solitude can make a big difference. Lunch break during work or school can also be used to unwind and disconnect. After eating, use the rest of the time to meditate, listen to some of your favorite music, or read a book. These might be simple acts, but done without any distractions, they can settle an active mind.
2. Breathing Techniques
Practicing focused, deep breathing is a great tool for quick relief from anxiety. Relaxation practices also help bring the body back into balance and regulate the fight-or-flight response we feel when we’re stressed. By focusing on the simple task of breathing, we’re temporarily brought out of whatever stressors are filling our minds.
You can try breathing in for four counts and breathing out for four counts for a total of five minutes. Evening out your breathing can slow down your heart rate and help calm you down.
Another breathing technique is the 4-7-8 technique. This technique is focused on replenishing your body’s organs and tissues with much-needed oxygen. If you incorporate a daily breathing technique into your schedule, the effects are felt more and more over time.
The physical symptoms of anxiety are caused by the body’s flight-or-fight response to stressful situations. This floods the body with adrenaline and other stress chemicals. When we have pent-up adrenaline and stress, anxiety can manifest in toxic behavior or a depressive state. Physical activity burns off adrenaline and promotes relaxation.
Taking time to walk, do yoga, or fit in some quick calisthenics can help change your mood and refocus energy. Just as with taking a time-out, you don’t need intense hour-long workouts to feel the benefits of exercise. A 10- to 20-minute session can be sufficient. You can also find forms of exercise that you enjoy that are outside of “normal” exercises, such as a dance class or swimming. The main goal is to get your body moving, whatever that looks like for you.
4. Write Down Your Thoughts
The more time spent thinking about stressful situations, the more muddled the mind can get. For people who have symptoms of anxiety, or who are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the mind tends to run, assuming the worst will happen. This doesn’t allow any room for a positive thought to enter the decision-making process.
Writing down what’s causing you anxiety can help to rid your mind of the thought and reveal different sides of a situation you didn’t give time to consider. By writing about situations that we are nervous about, or negative events that have already passed, thinking patterns can be revealed to us. Seeing the patterns can help you to better handle potentially anxiety-inducing situations later on.
5. Dietary Adjustments
What we put into our bodies throughout the day can play a huge factor in our overall mood and stress levels. An important factor in managing and treating anxiety levels is the mineral magnesium, which is known to help muscle tissue relax. A magnesium deficiency can lead to anxiety, insomnia, and depression. Not having enough natural vitamins C and B can also expound anxiety symptoms.
There are drinks and foods that boost our energy levels, such as coffee, energy drinks, and power bars. They work by releasing adrenaline in our bodies. Once the adrenaline wears off, it can leave our body fatigued, which leads to anxiety. If you drink coffee or energy drinks, try swapping these out with water, wholegrain cereals, leafy green vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.
These are just a few of the ways you can mitigate symptoms of anxiety in your daily life. Try a few different techniques and find what works best for you.
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