How to manage anxiety: 7 proven strategies that work
Anxiety is easily one of the most common mental illnesses found in America today. In fact, over 18 percent of the U.S. population over the age of 18 deal with anxiety on a regular basis. If you’re one of those people, you might be wondering if you have to resign yourself to struggling with anxiety for the rest of your life.
There are a lot of ways to take control of your anxiety, it just takes a little work. Read on to learn how to manage anxiety.
1. Limit Caffeine
If you’re someone who reaches for the coffee first thing in the morning, and then again around noon, and maybe a little more around 3, it might be time to reconsider your habit. Caffeine is a stimulant by nature, but it does more than stimulate energy. It can also stimulate your anxiety.
Caffeine triggers the same fight or flight response that your body has when you are scared. By triggering this response, your anxiety can be worse, or it can trigger a full on panic attack.
If you’re not sold on giving up caffeine, consider tracking your anxiety to determine whether your anxiety gets worse after grabbing a cuppa joe. If it does, try to minimize the amount of caffeine you drink and save caffeine for the AM hours only.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Anxiety and sleep are closely tied together. Going without enough sleep can crank up your anxiety levels during the day, but high anxiety levels can cause you to lose sleep at night.
So how do you resolve the problem?
There are several changes you can make in your life that’ll help you get more shuteye. The first thing you can do is to follow our advice in step one and limit the amount of caffeine you consume. If you can’t give it up altogether, limit your consumption to one or two cups of coffee in the morning.
You should also practice good sleep hygiene. This means staying out of bed unless you’re using it for sleep or sex. You should also avoid screentime on computers and TV for a couple of hours before you plan to hit the hay.
3. Start Exercising
Sometimes your body needs a little help relieving anxiety and generating feel-good hormones. The best way to do just that is to start exercising.
Exercise can help you generate more energy, enhance your concentration and creativity, and make you more alert. This is because exercise causes your brain to produce endorphins, which in turn reduce your overall stress levels and improve your ability to sleep at night.
You don’t have to become a gym junkie to overcome your anxiety, either. Try taking a brisk 30 minute walk a few times a week. Increase the pace and/or length of your exercise sessions over time if you feel comfortable.
Dealing with acute anxiety or a panic attack? Five minutes of cardio can help you start to feel better.
4. Practice Meditation
What better way to conquer your anxiety than to learn how to control your mind. Meditation is a great way for you to connect with your body and reduce overall anxiety and panic attacks.
Like all things, meditation takes practice. Start by closing your mind for one or two minutes and focusing on your breath. Take deep, slow breaths and breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
As you become more able to remain present through your mini-meditation sessions, gradually increase the length of your meditation sessions. Try out some guided meditations on YouTube or through smartphone apps.
Finally, if you find yourself mid-panic attack, you can use meditation to bring yourself back to a calm state. There are many ways you can do this, but the most common way is through grounding meditation.
5. Try Natural Supplements to Ease Anxiety
There are a number of over-the-counter supplements you can take to help you tackle anxiety.
For example, lavender is frequently used in aromatherapy to create a sense of calm. It’s also helpful for those of you who struggle with getting enough sleep. Try an essential oil diffuser in your bedroom or a nice sheet spray to help you conquer your anxiety at night.
Another great option is CBD oil. CBD oil comes from the cannabis plant, but it comes in forms that do not contain THC, and thus do not have psychoactive effects. It comes in a variety of forms, like CBD gummies for anxiety.
If you’re unsure about which supplements might be right for you, reach out to your doctor to discuss your options.
6. Make Time for Yourself
If you’re busy all of the time, then you might notice that your anxiety increases when you have a busier than normal day. Combat this by making sure that you have time for yourself each and every day.
Set aside an hour or two to relax and do things that you enjoy. This can mean taking a nice, relaxing bath, or catching up on your favorite reality show. Just knowing that relief is on the way can help ease your anxiety.
7. Talk to Your Doctor
If you’ve tried a number of options on your own and your anxiety is still high, then it might be time to speak to your doctor about your options. There are a number of different medications that can help you manage your anxiety.
There is absolutely no shame in seeking out medication from your doctor to help you deal with something that is interrupting your life. In fact, it’s quite normal. Many people take anti-anxiety medication and it helps them life happy and fulfilling lives.
Learning How to Manage Anxiety Is the First Step
It’s true, learning how to manage anxiety is the first step you can take toward getting your life back. If following all of these steps at once seems overwhelming, opt to integrate a few of them into your life at a time. Once you get into a rhythm with those actions, gradually start adding more in.
With a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to manage your anxiety in a way that works for you!
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