Practical ways to deal with anxiety

Practical ways to deal with anxiety

Practical ways to deal with anxiety means the simple Ways to conquer anxiety.Anxiety can be experienced occasionally or as a persistent condition that can interfere with your life. It’s natural to feel stressed before a big event or during a busy period. If you notice yourself experiencing anxiety for long periods of time, however, and you can’t seem to kick it, a closer examination of this may be beneficial. If you’re concerned about your anxiety, it’s important to talk to a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist about your experiences.

Method 1
Method 1 of 3:
Making Lifestyle Changes

Eliminate anxiety-inducing food and/or drink from your diet. It sounds simple, but changing what you ingest daily can have a huge impact on your anxiety levels. If you notice yourself feeling anxious, panicky, or stressed every day, plan to implement at least one of these dietary changes. Rethink your consumption of the following common anxiety provokers:
Coffee. The most popular “energy drink” of all time may also be one of the leading causes of anxiety.[1] If you drink coffee every morning, try switching to decaffeinated tea or just water for a few weeks. It may be hard to give up, but chances are you’ll see a reduction in your stress levels over this period of time.
Sugar and starch. People often see eating sugary and starchy treats (like ice cream, cookies, or pasta) as an option for stress reduction, since comfort foods temporarily provide a feeling of calm. However, the rise and fall of blood sugar that occurs after eating these foods can actually cause emotional strain and stress.[2]
Alcohol. After a stressful day at work, many unwind over a few drinks. Alcohol makes stress feel far away in the moment, but the after-effect cancels out the temporary sense of relaxation. Drink sparingly, and when you do drink, make sure to hydrate to reduce the chance of getting a very stressful hangover. [3]
In functional medicine, anxiety is believed to be caused by inflammation of the central nervous system. This inflammation stems from the gut, so changing your diet may lead to a reduction in anxiety.

Incorporate mood-enhancing foods into your diet. Keeping yourself healthy with a balanced diet can go a long way toward stabilizing your mood. If you’re getting the right nutrients, your body will be better able to ward off anxiety during stressful situations. To avoid the negative mental-health effects of coffee, alcohol, and sugar, try replacing these foods with fruits and vegetables.
Consume more foods high in antioxidants such as blueberries and acai berries. These help to raise mood levels and lower the hormones responsible for stress.[4]
Try foods that are high in Vitamins D, B, and E, such as eggs, almonds, and salmon.
Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as walnuts or flax seeds, may also help.
Eat foods that are high in minerals like magnesium, such as whole grains (pasta and bread), maca root, and seaweed.[5] Most people do not get the recommended amount of magnesium which can result in a variety of symptoms, including anxiety.
Foods and drinks that have GABA, a type of neurotransmitter that increases sleep and relaxation, should be consumed on a regular basis. Some of these include kefir (a cultured dairy product), kimchi, and oolong tea.[6]

Try exercises that relieve anxiety. Studies have shown that regular exercise relieves symptoms of everyday anxiety and also helps to treat anxiety disorders. It improves feelings of well-being both while you’re exercising and for hours afterward.[7] Cardiovascular exercises such as running or biking, as well as weight training and other muscle-building exercises, all serve the purpose of reducing anxiety.
Consider giving yoga a try. The soothing atmosphere of yoga studios, and the chance to be quiet and internally-focused for an hour or so, make this physical activity particularly conducive to calming anxiety.
If the thought of exercising itself makes you anxious, try incorporating low-impact physical activity into your routines. You don’t have to play a team sport or join a gym to get enough exercise; simply walking around your neighborhood can go a long way toward boosting your mood every day.[8]

Use deep-breathing exercises. Breathing deeply and slowly will immediately decrease your stress level. Most people practice shallow chest breathing, drawing breath into their lungs and exhaling at a rapid rate. When we’re feeling stressed, we tend to breathe even more quickly, which stresses us out even more. Instead, focus on breathing from your diaphragm or belly.[9] Your stomach should balloon up.
Breathing deeply and slowly will draw in more air than breathing through the lungs would, and also helps decrease your blood pressure, relax your muscles, and calm you down.
Try breathing in for a count of 4, holding for a count of 3, and breathing out for a count of 4. Keeping your total number of breaths to 8 or less in one minute will help to immediately reduce anxiety levels.

Do something you love. Often, anxiety builds up when you don’t get a chance to detox from life’s problems. Take at least ten minutes during your day to practice a hobby or pastime which brings you peace. This may be reading, playing sports, playing music, or making art. Giving yourself an outlet will help to remove the anxiety from your mind both immediately and in the long run.
If you have a little free time, look into taking a new class in a field of interest to you. If you love jewelry, look into a local ring making class. If you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, start taking lessons from a local teacher or audit a language class at a local community college.
During the times that you are doing your favorite things, make a conscious decision to avoid thinking about your stressors.[10] Removing them from your thoughts will allow you to enjoy your activity much more, and help prevent future ruminations.
Do whatever it is that helps you relax in a healthy way. There’s no one right way to de-stress, everyone is different.

Relax at home with friends and family. When you’re at home you should be totally anxiety free. Your home, and the people you love, should be your sanctuary. When you are dealing with a lot of anxiety, take some time and relax at home. Make sure that you give yourself ample time to spend with those closest to you, in happy and non-stressful scenarios.[11]
Take a hot bath, listen to calming music, and avoid anything that might worsen your anxiety.
If you’re not around anyone at your home, call a friend, or ask someone to come over. It can be comforting to spend time with people you love.
Talk to a family member or friend about how you’re feeling. Say something like, “I’ve been very anxious lately, and it’s been preventing me from feeling happy. Do you ever feel this way?”

Get some sun exposure. Vitamin D deficiency may contribute to your anxiety.[12] The best way to increase your Vitamin D is to go outside in the sun for at least fifteen minutes a day. You can also take Vitamin D supplements if necessary.

Don’t overwhelm yourself. If you keep a busy schedule, bring work back with you from the office, and stress about perfecting your school papers, you’re likely often overwhelming yourself and creating more anxiety than is necessary.[13] Keep a schedule of your necessary activities and cut everything else out for a bit. Giving yourself alone time to deal with your anxiety will help you to overcome it in the long run.[14]
Although getting together with friends regularly is always nice, doing it too often can cause anxiety about letting them down and not having time to yourself. Spread out friend dates with plenty of time for yourself in between.
Learn to say “no” to some requests. Whether it be another commitment from work or piling on errands, turning down invites is okay from time to time.

Get lots of sleep. A lack of sleep can leave anyone feeling haggard and worn out, and it’s worse for individuals who suffer from anxiety. Insufficient sleep can cause your anxious, worried thoughts to worsen.[15] Make sure that you’re getting 7–9 hours of sleep every night.[16]
Try going to bed and waking up at the same times every day. This will help to regulate your sleep cycle, which will help you to get better nights of sleep.
If you’re having a hard time falling or staying asleep, try using melatonin supplements. Melatonin is a hormone your body creates to help you fall asleep. You can buy low-dose melatonin supplements from most health food stores.
Avoid using your phone, laptop, and television in the hour before you go to bed. These devices can inhibit healthy sleep and prevent proper melatonin production in your body because of the bright light they put off.[17]

Method 2
Method 2 of 3:
Dealing with Anxiety Using Mental Tactics

Confront sources of anxiety you can control. There are many different situations that induce anxiety, and it’s helpful to pinpoint exactly what might be making you anxious and take steps to confront it.[18] If you’re behind on doing your taxes, for example, you may feel like you’ve got a yoke around your shoulders until the chore is finally done.
If your job or finances are causing you stress, you may want to look for a new, better-paying job. You can also get a certificate or go back to school to increase your earning potential.[19]
Keep a journal to help you figure out what exactly is making your mood dip. Writing down your thoughts can often reveal sources of anxiety you hadn’t yet acknowledged to yourself, and give you ideas of how to confront that anxiety.
Learn about anxiety as much as possible. Even just understanding how anxiety works and what causes it can help you feel more in control of it.[20]
Even if a particular source of anxiety feels as though it is out of your control, you may be able to change something about the situation to make it feel less stressful to you. For example, if you feel anxious about the holidays months before the time to visit with family actually rolls around, figure out a way to approach the situation differently. Try hosting your extended family at your house so you won’t have to travel, or holding your celebration at a restaurant so you don’t have to host. Look at the flexible side of anxiety-inducing situations.

Avoid sources of anxiety you can’t control. If a certain type of situation makes you feel anxious, it’s OK to simply avoid it.[21] If you hate flying, and don’t feel this fear is ever going to abate, it’s OK to drive. Know your limits, and practice self-preservation.[22] However, it is important to deal with anxieties if they start to interfere with your life. For example, if you work in a profession that requires you to fly frequently, then driving is not a practical option and it would be better for you to see a therapist for help dealing with your anxiety about flying.
If you feel that your functioning (financial, social, occupational, or home) has decreased, such as from a job loss or poor review, stress on your relationships, or in some other notable way, and it is due to avoiding things that cause you anxiety, then it’s time to seek out a counselor and psychiatrist.
If certain people in your life cause you anxiety and you don’t feel comfortable/can’t confront them, make changes so that you don’t have to be around them.
If you are anxious about any a societal situation, like climate change, remind yourself that you can not fix these issues alone.
If your work or school is stressing you out, take a time during the day where you turn off your cellphone and laptop to remove yourself from the anxiety they cause. If you know you get anxious being glued to your email because of work, take it out of your life for a bit.

Practice meditation. Relaxation and meditation routines are very effective at lowering anxiety levels, especially for people with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). There are many different types of meditation, so it’s best to experiment with a few different methods and choose the one that makes you feel the most comfortable and relaxed. You can practice meditation when you feel an anxiety attack coming on, or daily, to decrease your overall anxiety.[23]
Guided meditation is a good option for beginners. A guided meditation can be practiced in person, but it may be easier to buy a meditation CD or watch a meditation video on YouTube to start. You’ll learn techniques on how to calm yourself down when your heart starts to race or when you feel you are not in control of your thoughts.

Practice mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on a particular thought or pattern of thoughts that make you anxious and naming the emotions that surface without passing judgment or being critical of them.[24] If the emotions get too intense, back off a bit and focus on your breathing. This practice can be as simple as finding a quiet space to think for 5 minutes at the beginning of each day. Here is an example technique you can try:
Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
Spend 5 minutes feeling the “in” and “out” movements of your breathing.
Now invite in an emotion: anxiety, depression, a painful memory, a recent conflict. Hold the emotion in your mind, but don’t allow yourself to get lost in thinking.[25] Just “sit” with the emotion as you might sit with a friend.
Watch the emotion. Hold it in your conscious awareness and say, “I am here for you. I will sit with you as long as you need.”
Allow the emotion to express itself and watch it change. If you sit with the emotion as a friend, the emotion will begin to transform itself and heal.

Try visualization. This is a process of clearing your mind of anxiety-inducing thoughts and images and replacing them with peaceful thoughts and pictures. Try using guided imagery to picture a place that you feel relaxed and safe in. As you picture the scene, focus on the details so that your mind is fully immersed in the place of your imagination.
Turning your thoughts away from your anxiety to positive thoughts and images will calm both your body and your mind, and prepare you for dealing with whatever is causing your anxiety.

Ask for help. For many people, talking about anxiety is a very helpful release. If you need to vent, ask your spouse or a friend for advice and tell them how you feel. Sometimes just putting your feelings into words can take a lot of stress away.[26]
Try saying something like, “I’d like to talk with you about how I’m feeling. Lately I’ve been overwhelmed by anxiety; it’s a feeling I can’t escape.”
If you lean on the same person for advice too often, your problems may overburden them. Make sure that you’re not overwhelming your confidante.
If you have a lot of anxiety to work through, consider seeing a therapist. You’ll be free to discuss your problems as much as you need to in the knowledge that a trained professional is there to help.

Method 3
Method 3 of 3:
Treating Your Anxiety Medically

See a therapist. Know when it’s time to get a doctor involved. If you are experiencing chronic anxiety and feel you may have an anxiety disorder, make an appointment with a psychologist or a psychiatrist.[27][28] Anxiety can manifest as a mental-health disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Anxiety disorders can lead to debilitating worry, panic attacks, agoraphobia, separation anxiety, social anxiety, and even obsessive-compulsive disorder.[29] It’s very difficult to treat mental-health anxiety disorders without the help of a doctor, and the sooner you see one, the faster you’ll feel better.
Although “diagnosis” can be an intimidating word, a diagnosis of a mental-health disorder—such as anxiety disorder—will help your therapist or psychiatrist know how to treat your specific case of anxiety.
To find a therapist, start by talking to your medical doctor. He or she may have recommendations on where to find a good mental-health professional. There are also online resources to connect you with a therapist or psychiatrist in your area: the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) website lets you search for therapists in your area.[30]
It’s important that you trust your therapist, and feel relaxed and comfortable when speaking to them. When searching for a therapist, you should also check in with your health-insurance provider to see if therapy, psychiatrist, and medication expenses are covered by your insurance.

Explain your anxiety to your doctor. Be as specific as possible when describing your anxiety symptoms to a therapist or psychiatrist. They’re there to help you, and will already be familiar with a range of mental-illness symptoms and manifestations of anxiety. If you have specific triggers that set off your anxiety, be sure to mention those. Anxiety disorders respond well to therapy, but only if your therapist has enough information to help you.[31] Try saying something like:
“Normally I’m fine, but whenever I have to be in a crowd, my breathing and heart rate increase and I’m suddenly very anxious.”
“I have so many anxious thoughts going through my head that it’s hard for me to get through the day.”

Sign up for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of psychotherapy where your therapist teaches you how to cope with your anxiety while reframing your way of thinking. For this therapy, you will meet with a therapist once every week or two. It can be used in combination with medication and other forms of therapy.[32]
Your therapist may give you exercises to do between appointments. Always do these exercises to help improve the effectiveness of therapy.
CBT can take up to a few months. You must remain committed to the therapy for the entire duration for it to work.

Consider anti-anxiety medications. If you experience prolonged anxiety that affects your ability to sleep and go about your day for an extended period of time, ask your psychiatrist about medication that could reduce your anxiety. Many anti-anxiety drugs can have negative side effects or be habit-forming, so be sure to try methods such as therapy, exercise, and mental strategies before jumping into medications.[33]
Panic attacks, extreme social anxiety, and other symptoms can be effectively treated with a prescription drug that suits your needs.

Try a natural remedy. Certain herbs, teas, and supplements are said to decrease symptoms of anxiety. Although homeopathic methods are not proven medically, herbs and teas can be useful in soothing and calming you.[34] Try the following options:
The chamomile flower is traditionally used to treat anxiety, stress, and an upset stomach. It has properties that are similar to anti-depressant drugs. It can be brewed into tea or taken as a supplement.[35]
Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine that may be helpful in treating anxiety. You can buy it as a supplement.[36]
Ginseng is said to help the body reduce stress. Try taking a ginseng supplement daily for its anxiety-fighting effects.
Valerian root is popular in Europe for its sedative properties. Take it when you are experiencing difficult bouts of anxiety that you can’t seem to overcome.