Anxiety disorders are incredibly common. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 5.7% of adults in the United States will experience Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) at some point in their lives. Knowing how to handle this type of anxiety is a key part of getting a handle on this condition.
What Should You Do About Anxiety?
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to approach anxiety. These approaches range from starting a workout routine to building up your personal life. No matter what your background is, you can find new ways to approach your anxiety and regain control over your life…
13. Eat a Balanced Diet
While you can’t eat your way through an anxiety disorder, you can improve your ability to manage one by eating right. After all, a balanced diet is the foundation of all good health and that includes the mind.
Why Eating a Balanced Diet Helps
A balanced diet helps keep you healthy. When you are sick or feeling sluggish, it can give your anxiety more things to cling on to. It’s harder to have health worries when you are eating right and feeling great.
Taking care of our bodies is the best way to take care of our minds. Getting regular sleep is part of this self-care lifestyle, just like eating right…
12. Get Some Sleep
Anxiety is closely related to another condition: insomnia. When you are getting ready to call it quits for the day, anxiety can kick in and keep you up at night. Conversely, not getting enough sleep can heighten pre-existing anxiety.
Why Getting Some Sleep Helps
Sleep helps the body stay level, which includes giving us better mental fortitude. Poor sleep is therefore related to higher anxiety. Try to discover what is upsetting your sleep cycle and do what you can to restore a regular sleep schedule.
Reducing your anxiety is all about finding those things in your life that make anxiety harder to manage. Alcohol and nicotine are two such things…
11. Ditch the Alcohol and Nicotine
This recommendation might seem counterintuitive at first. After all, alcohol helps some people relax and others feel calmer while smoking. However, everything isn’t as straightforward as it might seem. Lowering your alcohol intake and quitting smoking can help your anxiety.
Why Ditching the Alcohol and Nicotine Helps
While alcohol and tobacco might lower anxiety in the moment, once their primary effect wears off, anxiety symptoms tend to get worse. Nicotine is actually a stimulant that can make anxiety worse, especially when you start to go through withdrawal. Furthermore, alcohol can be addictive, which can create problems for anxiety all on its own. Additionally, alcohol cannot address the root causes of anxiety, meaning it does nothing to help you form helping coping mechanisms.
Lowering your alcohol intake and quitting smoking altogether are great moves for your health and can help with anxiety. Exercising is another way to boost your health and reduce anxiety…
10. Start Exercising
Physical fitness is one of the keys to having great health. Namely, having a regular exercising plan that gets your blood flowing can help reduce your anxiety.
Why Exercising Helps
Exercise helps for a variety of reasons, which includes both helping your mind and your body. Our bodies release “feel good” neurochemicals when we workout. Serotonin and epinephrine (adrenaline), for example, both help our minds to feel better and both are released after a workout.
Another easy way to physically fight off anxiety? Deep breathing exercises…
9. Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is the act of purposely and intentionally breathing slowly, which can be combined with meditation or yoga for an added boost. It’s important to note, though, that these exercises are not for everyone. Please be sure to speak to your doctor about whether or not these exercises are right for you.
Why Deep Breathing Helps
When we are struggling with anxiety, we tend to breathe faster with shorter breaths. This practice can lead to feelings of dizziness, disorientation, and tingling in the hands and feet; those sensations can make anxiety worse. Deep breathing when anxiety spikes helps prevent those negative sensations, which in turn helps you feel in control.
Deep breathing is easy to incorporate into everyday life and can even be combined with other tactics like meditation…
Mediation is the act of slowing life down and taking time to build up our inner lives; it can also have a positive physical impact on the body.
Why Meditation Helps
Meditation is all about getting to know ourselves and boosting our feelings of serenity and joy. Science has demonstrated that meditating on a regular basis can actually change how the brain works and help us build up positive feelings.
When mediation is not a practical way to manage anxiety, you can always rely on your senses…
7. Use Your Senses
Our senses are incredibly powerful. Certain sights, smells, and physical feelings have the ability to completely change our mood, after all.
Why Using Your Senses Helps
You can utilize any of your senses to help you with anxiety when other methods might not be available. Have a favorite song, food, or even a blanket ready to help you when you are feeling anxious. Think about your favorite sensations and how you can evoke those positive feelings when anxiety spikes.
While connecting with physical stimuli is a great way to lower anxiety, you can make real progress by connecting with the people around you…
6. Connect With Friends and Family
There’s nothing quite like social interaction when you are trying to reduce your anxiety. Being around people that care about you can go a long way to helping you lower your anxiety.
Why Connecting With Friends and Family Helps
You want to find someone who can be there for you for an uninterrupted period of time. They should be able to listen to you without judging you are making your anxiety worse. Think about the people closest to you and who fits this description. Of course, meeting new people can also be a great way to reduce stress, whether you meet them at religious gatherings or local community events.
Reaching out and talking with the people close to you is a great way to get started building up these personal connections…
5. Talk About Your Anxieties
Talking through your anxieties and worries is a great way to break them down.
Why Talking About Your Anxieties Helps
When we are stuck with our own thoughts and no one to share them with, they can quickly spiral out of control. By talking with someone else, you are fixing your anxieties into concrete points that are less capable of spiraling out of control.
Starting a conversation about your anxieties with someone close to you is just as much about knowing who to talk to as who to avoid…
4. Avoid People Who Trigger Your Anxiety
Let’s face it: there are people in our lives that can make our anxiety worse. Being able to minimize contact with those individuals, especially when anxiety is on the rise, can help us to navigate these conditions.
Why Avoiding People Who Trigger Your Anxiety Helps
Think about the people in your life that trigger your anxiety and how you can better navigate those relationships and interactions. For example, maybe you have a relative who likes to pester you about your finances, which triggers your anxiety. Try talking with that person about these issues and avoiding difficult topics of conversation with them.
There are plenty of ways to navigate your personal relationships without triggering your anxiety, but they all start with educating yourself on Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and anxiety in general…
3. Educate Yourself
Anxiety thrives off of you not being able to distinguish between the good worries and those that are spiraling out of control. Learning how Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) works can help you get a better handle on your mental health.
Why Educating Yourself Helps
Being able to identify a “good worry” as compared with an anxiety is one of the strongest skills you can develop. When you know how to spot the difference, you can better navigate your own worries as well as come up with more direct plans to lessen your worries.
When it comes to managing your worries, reframing how you look at your worries can help…
2. Reshape Your Worries
Anxiety produces worries that are less than useful. You can learn to recontextualize how you relate to your anxious worries in order to get a better handle on them.
Why Reshaping Your Worries Helps
When we start to worry, it can feel like self-defense. After all, thinking over a worry lets us prepare for difficult situations, right? That isn’t always the case; the worries that fuel anxiety are typically unproductive. We wind up dwelling on worst-case scenarios instead of thinking about how things can get better. Understanding how your worries operate and recognizing that not all of them are helpful is a powerful first step towards getting a hold on anxiety.
At the end of the day, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a medical condition and your case might benefit from visiting a doctor…
1. Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies (CBTs) are different styles of therapy that give you new tools with which to regain control over your life.
Why Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy Helps
Cognitive therapies help you to change the way you look at your anxiety. These therapies give you the tools you need to reevaluate your anxieties and unpack worries before they become anxieties. Behavioral therapy can teach you to tackle your fears instead of dwelling on them. When you have developed the confidence to face the situations that trigger your anxiety, you will be one step closer to being in control of them.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), along with plenty of other anxiety disorders, is extremely common. Many people struggle with this condition at some point in their life. If you are concerned about your anxiety, you can follow these steps to regain control over your worries. Think about which ones will work best in your life and incorporate them to try to reshape how you live.
When in doubt, reach out to a Cognitive or Behavioral therapist for specialized help. You can stop your anxieties from being in control of your life!