Are you worrying about something too much? Do you feel like there’s too much going on in your life? Whether it’s temporary or long-term, anxiety can affect us negatively in many ways. You may suffer from headaches, can’t breathe well, not have the energy to go out, or feel too depressed to see anyone. According to the Anxiety Disorders situation Association of America, about 19 million Americans ages 18-54 experience some form of anxiety. So if you are unfortunately one of those people, keep reading as you will soon learn how to approach anxiety the correct way.
Yes, that thing we constantly do every day can be a powerful way to relieve anxiety. Deep diaphragmatic breathing is known to reduce stress on your bodies and mind, if done correctly. Try slowly inhaling for a count of 4, filling your stomach first and then your chest, hold your breath for a count of 4, then slowly exhale for a count of 4 and repeat the process several times. What this does is help your body go from the flight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system to the relaxed response of the parasympathetic nervous system.
To take this a step further, you should practice diaphragmatic breathing every day until it becomes an ingrained habit. Try doing conscious deep breathing for about one minute at a time, for 10-15 times a day. This should help train your body to breathe consistently and ingrain it in your head so you don’t forget while engaging in other activities.
Accepting You’re Anxious
In order to solve a problem, you have to admit there is one in the first place. Dealing with anxiety is no different. Once you admit you are bugging out, you can start coping with it. If you don’t accept it, it’s possible that your anxiety can worsen because what you are saying is that it’s intolerable.
And once you accept it, ask yourself why you are anxious. Is it one specific problem or is it several issues? Is this something worth being anxious about? When you are able to ask yourself these types of questions during a stressful time, this helps solve your problem in a rational way. You may even realize that some of these problems are not such a big deal after all. It’s easy to get caught up in all the madness going on in your life and over-exaggerate every problem that arises.
Get An Adequate Amount Of Sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep at night, your body doesn’t get a chance to clear out excess cortisol from its system. Cortisol is a hormone that is known for causing high levels of stress and anxiety if there’s too much present in your body. Try to get at least 8 hours of good sleep every night. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, avoid watching television and using your computer before going to sleep. Do some activities that are less intensive such as reading a book or meditating to alleviate anxiety or depression. This should assist with putting you in a calmer state of mind so you can ease your way into sleeping.
Watch What You Eat / Drink
Changing some of your eating and drinking habits can have a huge impact on your anxiety levels. It may not be easy, but try cutting back on some of these things below.
Caffeine – You may need to change your everyday coffee routine if you are having anxiety problems. The same goes for energy drinks and caffeinated sodas. Great alternatives to these is drinking tea or decaf coffee to start your mornings off.
Alcohol – Although alcohol is great to consume in moderation after a long hard day at work, it tends to do more harm to your body than good. You may feel great immediately after drinking alcoholic drinks, but the after-effect cancels is far greater than the temporary relief. Your body usually gets dehydrated and stressed, causing you to feel anxious. If you do end up drinking alcohol, do so in moderation and drink plenty of water afterwards to re-hydrate your body.
Sugar – It may be tempting to storm the freezer for ice cream during anxious times, but the fluctuation of eating sugary foods can make your emotions go up and down. Try eating fruits instead of processed foods with added sugars in them. Also stay away from drinks with high amounts of sugar such as soda and energy drinks.
The last thing you want to do when you are anxious is to passively sit around and obsess about how you feel. Instead, think about what you would be doing if you weren’t so anxious. A great way to release tension and stress is to exercise. Go to the gym or go outside for a walk. Or even better, take up yoga to help relieve stress in both your body and mind.
If you’d rather not exert too much of your energy, just go out to see a movie with some friends or go shopping. Being with good company and doing what you like to do is always a great way to reduce anxiety. Maybe all you ended up really needing was just a fun and enjoyable day to forget about all the problems going on in your life. It’s also a beneficial way to communicate your problems to your family or friends so they can give you help or advice.
During your anxious times, you may feel like the whole world is against you. It’s easy to remember all the bad things that are happening to you and forget about the bright spots in your day. If you continue to have a negative state of mind, chances are your outlook isn’t going to be bright. Try to be optimistic even though you are currently stressed out about a problem. Welcome in good humor from a friend or co-worker as laughing is a great stress reliever. Focus on the positive parts of your day, and if your day ends up going horribly, tomorrow is always a new day.
If you are in need of some guidance, check out this course on positive thinking as it teaches you about positive affirmation and the power of thought on your health. This course can be completed in as quickly as two hours and will give you the right tools to change the way you think.
Find Additional Help
Sometimes it’s best to seek additional help from experts who know how to deal with stress and anxiety. Dr. Sean Sullivan is a Harvard University graduate who has a 21 day program that is personally tailored for you to train your brain to reduce anxiety. Each day is broken down step-by-step so you know exactly what to expect from his program.
There’s also the Traditional Japanese Stress Management Module 1 approach, which uses Eastern style breathing techniques often used in Japan. Long-time Japanese resident Charlie Badenhop has over 3.5 hours of engaging video and audio lessons to help alleviate your anxiety.
As you can see, there is no one correct way to deal with your anxiety. The key is basically not to entrap yourself with it. So go ahead and next time you’re facing anxiety, try out the pointers listed here and see which ones work best for you. Hopefully from here on out, you will experience more stress free days!