Living With Anxiety: 5 Ways To Make It Better
Stress and anxiety have become an indispensable part of modern life. Whether you’re going for a job interview or planning your dream wedding, anxiety is a natural response to important life events. You feel anxious because you’re human and you care about people and objects. However, sometimes, your anxiety levels can go through the roof and interfere with your normal life. You might feel helpless and fearful thinking that things are spiraling out of control in a particular situation. Worse still, the anxiety attacks could become more frequent and take a toll on different aspects of your life. But here’s the thing – nearly 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from an anxiety disorder. That’s more than 10% of the total American population. This makes anxiety disorders one of the most common mental illnesses. The uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic has further made anxiety more prevalent across the world. So, if you’ve been experiencing chronic anxiety, the good news is that you’re not alone.
Anxiety disorders: a closer look
From social anxiety and panic attacks to general anxiety disorder and phobias – there’s a broad spectrum of anxiety-related ailments. However, what’s common to each of them is the debilitating feeling of helplessness and despair. Worse still, chronic anxiety can adversely affect your physical and mental health. It can also take a toll on your academic and professional performance, thereby pulling your self-esteem down. This, in turn, can further exacerbate your anxiety. However, simple lifestyle modifications can go a long way to help you deal with anxiety. Whether you’re prone to occasional panic attacks or just can’t put your mind to rest, there are various ways to cope.
In this blog, we’ll discuss a few tips to help you get better at managing anxiety. Let’s get started.
5 tips for anxiety management
First things first – if you’ve been struggling with anxiety for a while now, the best thing to do is to get professional help. Consulting an experienced and certified therapist will help you identify precisely what’s causing the anxiety. This, in turn, will help you manage it better. Also, depending on your diagnosis, your therapist will suggest a proper course of treatment for coping with anxiety. They might prescribe certain medications and ask you to go for counseling as well.
However, you can’t just rely on a therapist to eliminate anxiety from your life. The onus is on you to take appropriate measures to change your lifestyle and mindset. Here are a few effective tips to deal with anxiety:
1. Identify triggers
The first step of managing anxiety is to understand what causes it. Do you feel anxious in a particular space or in the company of specific people? Is your anxiety associated with the current phase of your life? Or do you get unreasonably fearful at the thought of addressing a roomful of people? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you identify the events, spaces, or people that could possibly trigger an anxiety attack. This, in turn, will help you devise the right way to cope with your emotions. You’ll likely need a therapist’s help to recognize and diagnose your anxiety triggers.
2. Practice sleep hygiene
Any mental health disorder tends to spiral out of control in the absence of proper sleep. Anxiety isn’t an exception. That’s why, as a ground-rule, make sure you get at least six to eight hours of sound sleep every night. Schedule your bedtime to a specific hour and make sure you stick to it. Also, try to avoid activities, such as working, eating, etc., in your bedroom. It’s just as important to cut down on electronic device usage before going to sleep.
3. Use a weighted blanket
Weighted blankets are known to have a calm-inducing effect on the body and mind. They apply pressure on your body to slow down your heart rate and breathing. This, in turn, relaxes your mind and helps control anxiety. Think of it as being hugged by a friend while you’re having a panic attack. A weighted blanket is particularly useful if you’re living alone and prone to sleep disorders. While you’ll find plenty of options online and offline, make sure you choose one of the right weight. You can check out the entire range of Hush products and choose a weighted blanket that’s roughly 10% of your body weight.
This is likely the most common advice you’ll receive every time you tell someone you have an anxiety disorder. But practicing meditation with an anxious mind is easier said than done. It’s recommended that you don’t stress yourself into meditating for long hours. Instead, take it slow and start with a deep breathing exercise to calm your mind. Start the meditation only when you feel ready. Also, don’t expect it to work like a miracle. You’ll have to meditate for a while before you start noticing any significant improvement.
Sometimes, the best way of coping with anxiety is to distract your mind by focusing on your body. It can help you feel accomplished and even stimulate the production of endorphins. That’s why you should make it a point to engage in a light exercise routine every day. It is, however, crucial to select a physical activity that doesn’t feel like exercise. If you aren’t fond of working out at the gym, you could just go for a walk every evening. Alternatively, you could practice yoga or aerobic exercises at home.
Do you use any other techniques to deal with anxiety? Share your tips in the comments section below.
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