Sweaty palms, racing heartbeat, shaky hands, and constant fear – anxiety is much more than stressing over and fearing a life change or important event. It can lead to different symptoms and reactions among people, ranging from intense worrying to panic attacks.
A simple event or conversation can trigger the symptoms of anxiety in an individual. It is easy for an anxious person to get carried away by countless what-ifs questions and worst-case scenarios. Therefore, establishing healthy strategies to reduce or manage your anxiety is important to prevent the situation from getting worse.
Here are ten tips for managing anxiety and improving syour mental wellness:
1. Identify the Triggers
The most effective means of addressing your anxiety is to identify the main triggers. In some cases, these triggers might be rather obvious like excessive smoking or consumption of alcohol or caffeine. Prolonged stress from financial issues or relationship problems can also be a major anxiety trigger.
Working with an experienced therapist is an ideal way of figuring out stressful events in your life that make you anxious. The most common triggers include:
- Depression, or other mental disorders
- Chronic pain
- Chronic illness, like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease
- Medication side effects
- Withdrawal from medications or drugs
- Stressful work or home environment
Figuring out your triggers means you will be able to eliminate or restrict your exposure as much as possible to prevent an anxiety attack. If it is not possible to restrict it, you can come up with healthy coping mechanisms to reduce your anxiety.
2. Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing is an effective way of releasing stress and calming your mind. When you are in a state of anxiousness, your body enters the fight-or-flight mode that causes symptoms like a racing heart and panicky feeling.
You must activate your body’s natural relaxation responses that lower your heart rate and stress levels, which can be done through deep breathing. It helps in restoring the balance of your body and mind. Perform breathing exercises two to three times a day for five minutes to manage your anxiety level.
Doing yoga and other meditation can also prove helpful. Here is the right way of deep breathing:
- Start by closing your eyes and inhaling deeply.
- Imagine all the stress in different parts of the body – stiff back, tensed shoulders, etc.
- As you exhale slowly, imagine all that stress leaving your body.
- Relax your neck, shoulders, and forehead as you repeat this exercise a few times.
You will feel yourself entering a relaxed state of mind, and your anxiety levels will start dipping.
3. Try the 3-3-3 Anxiety Rule
When you are feeling anxious, you can try to calm yourself down by using this anxiety rule. Look around and find three things you see. Visualize them in your mind and name them one by one. Next, identify three sounds you hear and imagine what and how they are being produced. Lastly, name and move three body parts, like your arm, fingers, and legs.
This trick helps when your mind is overflowing with countless thoughts and you feel overwhelmed. It will slow down your racing thoughts by encouraging you to focus on one thing, gently steering you to the present moment.
4. Maintain a Thought Journal
Writing down your thoughts and emotions is another effective strategy to make things less daunting for you. It can get difficult to steer away from irrational and racing thoughts in your head. However, when you break them down in your journal, you will realize that the majority of them are highly unlikely and ridiculous.
A thought journal is a great way of breaking your negative thought pattern. Once you are consistent, you will be able to start challenging those negative thoughts when you are on the verge of having an anxiety attack.
The best part about keeping a journal is that you can unleash your creativity on the page. If you don’t feel like writing, you can start drawing or get all your frustration out by drawing circles until you feel better. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
5. Challenge the Negative Thoughts
In a state of anxiousness, your mind can cook up the most unlikely and unrealistic scenarios that may seem real to you. These thoughts become stronger as your anxiousness grows and can leave a lasting impact on your overall mental health. If you don’t tackle these thoughts, they will gradually become your thought pattern.
Therefore, you must break this negative thought pattern by challenging your thoughts. Your thought journal can help you with this. Monitor your thoughts regularly and transform the negative ones into positive ones.
If you keep thinking that you are a failure, remind yourself of the things you have accomplished. If you constantly tell yourself you are alone, remind yourself of the loved ones ready to help you out in any way you can.
6. Practice Mindfulness
Anxiousness often initiates when you are worried about your future or stressing about the things that happened in the past. Gently steering your mind into the present moment can prevent your anxiety from getting worse.
Practicing mindfulness exercises can help you in ensuring your mind stays in the present. Doing yoga or meditating regularly can help you become more mindful. Moreover, mindful living can be practiced anywhere, anytime, by focusing your mind on the task at hand, instead of allowing it to drift off.
Include more activities in your daily life that you enjoy doing, and be sure to be mindful when performing them. It is a good way to distract your mind from the negative thoughts and focus on the present. Here are a few ideas:
- Read a book
- Binge watch your favorite show on the weekend
- Write, paint, create music, etc.
- Spend more time in nature
- Hang out with your loved ones
7. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Following a healthy lifestyle can do wonders for your emotional and physical health and well-being. Begin by adopting a nutritious diet. By following a healthy diet, your body maintains a balance of blood sugar levels, which can positively impact your energy and mood.
Staying active is another healthy way of coping with everyday stress. Just a 30-minute walk around the block can refresh your mind and enhance your mental well-being. Similarly, getting adequate sleep is necessary to give your mind and body a much-needed break, giving you the energy to cope with everyday stresses in a healthy way.
Don’t forget the importance of self-care in addressing your anxiety. Pampering yourself once in a while can have a positive impact on your mental health. Go for a manicure, a massage, take a bath after a long day or read your favorite book.
These tricks can help relieve any pent up stress that can ultimately contribute towards an anxiety attack. Therefore, a healthy lifestyle can help you to overcome your stress and anxiety.
8. Start Decluttering
Why add the stress of not finding your keys or an important file, when you can declutter your space and organize everything? What’s more, cleaning and organizing has been found to reduce anxiety levels. It can help you to achieve some clarity in your mind as well.
Decluttering an entire house can be overwhelming, which is why you must start small. This technique can help:
- Take three boxes or large bags and label them each as donate, sell, or throw.
- Take on one cabinet or drawer every day or every week.
- Focus on each item and determine whether or not you really need it in your life.
- If you can’t justify its usage, then place it in one of the three boxes.
Gradually, you can move to the other drawers or areas of your room and house. Eventually, you will have your entire space decluttered. You will feel a sense of relief and accomplishment once you are done.
9. Practice Gratitude
Regularly practicing gratitude is a good way of breaking that negative thought pattern and changing it into a positive one. By the end of each day, identify one positive thing that happened to you or one good thing you did for others.
Being thankful and appreciating the positive things in your life will tone down all the unrealistic thoughts you get in an anxious state.
10. Consider CBT
A major part of addressing anxiety is to gain more control over your emotions to prevent them from clouding all your positive thoughts. There are numerous therapies available to help with anxiety.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been found to produce long-lasting and consistent improvements. In this therapy, you will be taught healthy skills to manage your anxiety by taking charge of and controlling your behavior, feelings, and thoughts. By opting for this therapy, you will learn relaxation techniques to calm your mind in an anxious state.
Anxiety can lead to severe issues and if you are unable to benefit from these tips, then it is highly recommended that you consider CBT and consult an experienced therapist. Getting professional help will direct you toward the appropriate treatment plans you can benefit from. Moreover, if your anxiety is severe, then your doctor may prescribe some medications depending on your symptoms. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, your mental health matters.
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