Most people experience anxiety at some time in their lives. Some only experience anxiety during very stressful situations or events in their lives, while others experience anxiety on a daily basis. Of the people who experience anxiety on a daily basis, some are able to function, going about their daily lives, and no one is the wiser. Others who experience anxiety on a daily basis are not able to leave their homes due to being so anxious. However, the majority fall somewhere in between these two extremes.
The way in which anxiety affects individuals varies for many different reasons. These differences may be due to genetic factors (family history of anxiety), resiliency (the ability to recover from or adjust to change), current life stresses, and several other possible factors that impact the individual person directly.
However, there are strategies that may lessen the duration and frequency of anxiety
The following are some key suggestions that many people find helpful when it comes to managing their anxiety!
1. Deep Breathing
Yes….it sounds cliche, but it can work! The idea behind taking deep breaths helps to lower heart rate and blood pressure. Lowering heart rate and blood pressure can help to decrease anxiety by helping you physically feel less anxious, especially since anxiety tends to raise heart rate and blood pressure.Tervis Shamrock 24oz Water Bottle
If deep breathing sounds too silly, especially if you are in public, try something as simple as stopping and taking a drink of water. This allows you to have an excuse to pause, take that deep breath or two, take your drink of water, and then resume with your previous activities. It becomes your excuse to take that deep breath or two without seeming like you are just taking deep breaths for no reason.
Distraction simply suggests that you allow yourself to focus on something that is less stressful at the time you are experiencing the anxiety. Some people choose a specific mental picture to think about when they are anxious, such as a beach scene or favorite person in their lives.
Others redirect their attention to a less anxiety-provoking solution to their problem or worry. For example, they may be worried that they will get into a car accident if they drive their car, so they take second to take a couple of deep breaths and remind themselves that car travel is statistically a safe form of transportation. Another example would be if they are worried about not passing a test or doing poorly at a business meeting, they would change their focus to the amount of time they prepared for the meeting or test and not focus on their fear of failure.
Exercise is probably not the best tactic during a panic attack or other high anxiety situations, but it can help to decrease your anxiety overall. Exercising increases the good chemicals in our bodies and helps us feel better physically and mentally. Exercise can also help with sleep, also causing us to feel less anxious because we are more rested. Additionally, it is a way to get our minds off our worries and focus on becoming healthier overall.
Self-care can be one tactic that many of us do not consider to be important, especially if we have others to take care of in our lives. However, it is even more important when we have others to care for because we need to be able to take care of ourselves to take care of others.
Self-care can be as simple as doing something you like each day or once a week. It can be making sure that you get exercise so you feel and are healthier. It can be choosing to eat healthily and get enough sleep. Self-care can also be the fun things in life! Spending time with your family, taking a vacation, or just sleeping in one day. It simply means taking care of yourself and doing what you need to feel and function better.
This is the main way that self-care can lead to less anxiety. When you take time for yourself, you feel better and are better able to handle the life stressors that lead to increased anxiety. Additionally, self-care means getting rid of tasks that make you anxious by delegating to others or simply saying “no” to that extra job task or commitment someone else wants you to make.
5. Social Support
Another great way to help manage anxiety is to utilize your social support network. This means talk with your friends about your stress and troubles. Do fun activities that you enjoy with family and friends, even if this is only a distraction from your current stress and worries. Spend time with people who are positive influences and spend less time with people that put you down or make you feel bad about yourself.
Therapy and/or medication are additional options if needed
Sometimes anxiety can be too much for any one person to handle alone. That is NOT a sign of weakness. However, it is a sign of needing additional assistance.
If you are unable to manage your anxiety on your own, contact your primary care physician and discuss his or her recommendations. Many times a low dose of anti-depressant or anti-anxiety can be a good way to help manage chronic stress and reduce anxiety. Therapy is also beneficial to help you develop a better outlook on yourself and on your life while learning additional coping skills to better manage your stress and anxiety.
You can also check out another post we have about taking care of yourself and relieving stress!
For more anxiety management techniques, check out our mini-course!
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