Anxiety is an increasingly common disorder, with more and more people experiencing symptoms and signs that prevent them from living life to the full. If you suffer from anxiety, or you find it hard to switch off and stop thoughts from whizzing around your head, there are techniques, strategies, and therapies that can help. Here’s a useful guide to help you manage anxiety and protect your mental health.
Focus On Your Breathing
It may sound incredibly simple, but focusing on your breathing can help you to deal with anxiety, especially when attacks or bouts of severe anxiety come on quickly or unexpectedly. Breathing deeply and using tailored breathing exercises can help to reduce the heart rate and help you feel calmer and more in control. When you feel anxious, one of the first symptoms you’ll notice is that your heart increases. This can be a trigger for other symptoms, and if you can control your breathing and start to slow the heart down, this should help you feel better. Count your breaths in and out, and concentrate on the movement of your chest. If you’re breathing very quickly, and there’s a risk of hyperventilation, breathe into a paper bag.
Talk To Someone
Talking may seem like the most straightforward treatment option for anxiety, but it can often be incredibly tough to do. Many people who are prone to bouts of anxiety feel embarrassed or ashamed, and they struggle to get their words out, let alone open up to somebody about how they feel. If you can get over the initial barrier, you should find that talking really helps you to process your emotions and to work towards taking control of your anxiety. Speak to somebody you trust. This could be a friend or a family member, or even someone you’ve never met. Some people find it easier to open up to a therapist or to try counseling, which enables you to speak to somebody who is removed from the situation.
Make A Point To Excercise
Exercise is one of the best natural remedies for anxiety. If you’re active, this will help to distract you from sources of anxiety and stress, and it will also make you feel better. Working out can help you to channel your emotions in a constructive, cathartic way, and it also makes you feel great, due to the release of endorphins and an increase in dopamine and serotonin levels. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to enjoy exercise. If you’ve never been to the gym before, you don’t suddenly have to spend every spare minute you have on a treadmill. Even simple things like going for a walk every day, doing a yoga class or working out at home can make a massive difference.
Get Plenty Of Sleep
We all know that a lack of sleep can affect our moods and our energy levels. We tend to be more emotional when we’re tired, and fatigue can exacerbate symptoms of stress and anxiety. If you find it difficult to sleep due to anxiety, try and establish an evening routine and get your body used to going to sleep and waking up at the same time. Spend at least half an hour every night doing something that makes you feel calm and relaxed, for example, reading, listening to music, enjoying a soak in the tub, or meditating. Leave gadgets and phones outside the bedroom, and make sure your room is quiet and dark.
Put Worrying On Your Schedule
It may seem slightly counterproductive to give yourself time to worry, but this is a strategy that some people find really useful. If you experience periods when you feel like your mind is running away with you, and you have thoughts, ideas, worries, or emotions pinging around your brain, it can be beneficial to establish a period of time to think about and process them. Give yourself 10 minutes or however long you need to focus on those concerns and thoughts, and then move on and get on with the rest of the day.
Write It Down
If you find it hard to talk to people, or you struggle to switch off, writing things down can be productive. Often, we find it easier to express ourselves on paper, and making notes or keeping a journal can help you maintain control of your emotions and prevent you from bottling things up.
Creative activities have been found to reduce the severity of symptoms of anxiety and stress, and they can be particularly beneficial for those who struggle to deal with their emotions. Being creative, whether this means painting a picture or writing a song, for example, gives you an outlet. It can also be really enjoyable, and provide a distraction from anything that is making you feel uneasy or anxious.
Learn To Spot Triggers
Anxiety is a normal emotion, and everyone will experience anxiety at some points in their lives. What isn’t normal is feeling anxious or uneasy in situations or settings that pose no threat. For some people, there are clear triggers, which can provoke unease. Start noting down details about episodes you experience, and see if there are any patterns or trends. If you know that going out to a busy place triggers anxiety, for example, you can take steps to make this proposition less daunting the next time around. You could ask a friend to go with you, for example.
Positive thinking is not always easy, but if you can try and adjust your mindset and start visualizing positive outcomes, this can help you to manage anxiety. This is particularly useful if you’re feeling anxious about something that is going to happen, for example, an interview, or going to a party where you’re going to be exposed to new faces. Think about the positives that could come from that specific scenario and imagine yourself taking control, breathing deeply, and focusing on doing your best in terms of managing your anxiety.
Take It Easy
There is no miracle cure for anxiety, and it can take time to get to a point where you feel like you’re making progress. Take every day as it comes, try not to put too much pressure on yourself, and don’t lose heart if you have a bad day. We all go through good times and tough periods, and it’s perfectly normal to experience setbacks, even if you’re well on your way to learning how to manage your anxiety. If you do spot triggers, or you wake up feeling like the day ahead is going to be challenging, look after yourself, surround yourself with people you trust and care about, and devote your time to activities and exercises that make you feel calm and grounded.
Spend Time With Pets
Pets can be a great source of support, love, and reassurance when you’re anxious, and you feel like you can’t unwind or relax. Pets can listen to you without any judgment if you fancy thinking aloud and they’re often there to provide cuddles when you need a pick-me-up. Research shows that even something as simple as stroking a cat or dog can bring your heart rate down and make you feel calmer. Many people also find that they can confide in a pet, rather than a person because they’re not going to react in any way. When you need to get something off your chest or you feel like you’re going to cry, it doesn’t really matter whether your audience has two or four legs.
Come And Visit Us
There are countless self-help techniques you can employ to try and ease anxiety, but you don’t have to struggle in silence or try and find solutions on your own. At Wellness Collaborative, we provide tailored anxiety therapy to patients based in Houston Heights and beyond. Dr. Kelli Wright offers therapy and counseling in a comfortable, serene setting, promoting realistic goal setting in an empathetic, non-judgmental manner. There’s no shame in reaching out, and talking to a psychologist who is trained to listen can be incredibly beneficial. Often, speaking to a person you don’t know is easier than letting a friend or family member in because you may be anxious about upsetting or disappointing them. With Dr. Wright, you can access expert help in a safe, secure, and relaxing environment. Treatment can help you identify triggers, understand your emotions and feelings, and find ways to manage and reduce the severity of symptoms moving forward.
Anxiety is increasingly common, and there are several possible causes. Although it is normal to experience anxiety in some situations, many people struggle to get the most out of life because anxiety creeps up on them in scenarios where there is no real danger or threat. If you find it hard to switch off, you’re always on edge, or you worry constantly, you don’t have to suffer in silence. There are many self-help techniques you can try to manage anxiety, and you can also get in touch with us at Wellness Collaborative Houston. We provide a comprehensive range of services that are designed to tackle and take control of anxiety, giving you the confidence and freedom to live your life how you want to.