According to the Medical News Today website, anxiety is a general term to describe various disorders such as fear, nervousness, apprehension and worry. Although these disorders affect your emotional and mental health, they also have their own way of affecting the way you carry yourself physically.
It is normal for you to experience anxiety before you do a challenging task, such as taking an exam, going for a job interview, or being part of a big performance. That’s fine, and you will get over the anxiety eventually. However, if this anxiety is starting to affect the way you eat, sleep and function, or you worry about almost everything including health, money, and relationships, then you need to start doing something about it.
Don’t worry. It may take some time, but here are 12 simple and effective strategies you can try to kick anxiety out of your life.
1. Start With Taking A Deep Breath
You can do this first and simplest thing when everything else starts to feel messy.
Taking deep breaths and counting from one to five will trigger your body’s relaxation response. It turns off your body’s fight-or-flight buttons, and helps create a balanced and relaxed response.
Sit or lie down comfortably and close your eyes. Shut everything off, and inhale as slowly and deeply as you can. Count from one to five as you feel your diaphragm expand. Then exhale through your nose or mouth while pulling your belly towards your spine. Repeat until you feel calm enough to face the next challenges.
2. Take A Break
When was the last time you had some “me time”? Can you remember the last time you treated yourself to a full body massage or a new pair of shoes? If you are constantly feeling anxious over the tiniest things, then it’s time to take that much-needed break.
Go ahead and schedule a foot spa and a back massage. Buy yourself a new pair of shoes or watch movie alone for a change. Learn a new skill or try cooking. Schedule a yearly vacation with friends, or with your special someone.
You could also take mini-breaks at home or while in the office. Take a quick walk, rest for a few minutes or switch tasks. Taking a break could be refreshing, don’t you think?
3. Work Out
There is a reason why exercise will always be a part of the good things to do list. It helps you lose weight, tone up, sleep better and feel better. Aside from this, regular exercise is an excellent way to help you cope with anxiety.
Regular exercise releases nervous energy trapped inside your body. At the same time, it releases endorphins, or the happy hormones, and makes you feel good.
Go for any physical activity that interests you. Try walking, running, biking, swimming or yoga. You could also enroll in classes or hang out with friends who like to work out, too. This way, you won’t feel that exercise is a chore.
4. Get Enough Sleep
How much sleep are you getting? If you are constantly anxious, you will notice that visiting dreamland is almost next to impossible.
Even if you do, you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night for no reason. When you are not getting enough sleep, this could trigger more anxiety.
Try sleeping techniques, such as taking a warm bath, deep breathing, listening to soothing music, or reading a book. Writing down your worries and activities for the following day could help. Stay away from sleeping pills as much as possible.
5. Be Sociable
Did you know that social support could help you manage stress and anxiety? When you are surrounded with positive people who make you laugh and feel good about yourself, you tend to forget your worries and problems. At the same time, it helps you change your mood.
Therefore, schedule a monthly lunch date with your best friend, or organize a get-together among your college friends. You could also enroll in classes, such as yoga or Pilates, so you can meet new people.
6. Say No To Caffeine
Coffee may be your instant pick-me-upper, especially in the morning. It keeps you awake and makes mornings start at the right side of the bed. However, did you know that coffee could worsen your anxiety issues?
It turns out that your morning dose contains substances that could make you more anxious. The more coffee you drink, the more caffeine works in messing up your system. If you need coffee, stick to one cup a day every morning. That is enough to give you a boost you need for getting on with your day.
7. Do Something You Love
Having time for yourself is important to help you recharge. Aside from scheduling that foot spa and back massage, rekindling that passion and doing something you love could combat stress, and make you feel better about yourself. At the same time, it helps you reconnect with yourself, which could have a positive effect in your mood and overall aura.
Think about the things you love to do, but are unable to do so because of having too many things on your plate. It could be baking, cooking, writing stories, arts and crafts, watching movie, or trying out a new restaurant. Bring back that passion and you will surely shoo away anxiety in your system.
8. Learn To Say No
Admit it. It’s hard to say no to an invitation, a friend, and even a work-related task.
This shows that you are reliable enough to be trusted with important tasks and events. However, this could spell disaster on your system, especially when you forgot to set limits for yourself.
It’s okay to say no, especially when you feel you have enough to do already. It’s not a sign of disrespect, especially if you have valid reason for doing so. If you constantly accept tasks and are readily available to do almost anything, then anxiety will surely come knocking at your door.
9. Find A Solution
Can you remember that time during your early years in math class when you had to identify a problem, and then use a formula or equation to find a solution to the problem? Why not apply that to real life and see the difference?
To be able to cope with, if not get rid of anxiety, you should start identifying the stressors or the problems that cause you to be anxious. After listing them, use a corresponding formula or equation to help you solve such life stressors. At the same time, this will help you evaluate the kind of stress you don’t need in life and do something about it.
Refer to your list from time to time, especially if you feel that fear or worry is knocking at your door.
10. Try Calming Practices
When you hear the phrase “calming practices,” you usually think of yoga, meditation, Pilates, or any activity known to calm your mind.
These calming activities are helpful. You could enroll in classes or resort to the World Wide Web for free videos and tutorials on how to do this.
However, you don’t always have to spend money just to keep yourself calm and get rid of anxiety. You can try saying positive and encouraging statements to help you put things in perspective. Challenging an anxious thought could also help you cope with anxiety attacks.
For instance, your anxious self is telling you to worry because you might fail the exam. Challenge the thought and tell yourself that you won’t fail because you studied hard for the big test.
11. Consider Professional Help
When all else fails, it won’t hurt if you seek help from a professional.
There are cases where anxiety can be difficult and challenging to manage, especially if you’ve done everything that we mentioned and yet anxiety is still there. In that case, scheduling a trip to a therapist might help.
Therapists or counselors who specialize in dealing with anxiety could help you identify the cause for such anxiety. At the same time, she could prescribe and come up with solutions to help you combat such a difficult condition. Ask for recommendations from friends, or check out organizations and support groups who have databases of professionals who can help.
12. Learn To Accept Anxiety
This is the most important thing you need to remember: anxiety will always be there.
No matter what you do, wherever you may be, anxiety will always find a way to knock at your door and try to mess up everything. The key here is your ability to handle and manage anxiety.
Therefore, start with learning how to accept anxiety. However, this doesn’t mean you should allow it to ruin you. By accepting anxiety, you learn to recognize that there are various feelings you are capable of experiencing. Yes, it could be overwhelming and you might feel that it is dragging you down.
The challenge now is how you are going to handle it. The effects are not immediate but slowly, you will be able to suppress this feeling. After all, you will become stronger with practice.