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30 Practical, Psychological and Medical Tips on How to Deal with Anxiety
Anxiety is a state of worry, nervousness, gloomy expectations, and fear. Normally, these feelings serve as a kind of alarm, warning of danger. For example, a person who came home and saw a robber in their apartment feels that their pulse quickens, palms sweat, and the brain starts to work faster. In this case, anxiety helps to concentrate and find a way out of the dangerous situation. In other circumstances, for example, when it is necessary to finish work urgently, anxiety mobilizes all human forces, thereby increasing the effectiveness of activities. However, sometimes anxiety causes fear for no apparent reason. Then it becomes destructive. That’s why it is very important to learn how to deal with anxiety.
How to Deal with Anxiety?
Anxiety is a mental state that each of us experiences at least once in a lifetime. It is perfectly normal to worry before an important performance or exam and also feel a slight alarm in the busy period. But a chronic sense of anxiety is not just stress. If you’ve noticed that you have been anxious for a long time and cannot get rid of this feeling, think about paying more attention to it. Anxiety can manifest itself as a mental health disorder. It most often leads to constant anxiety, severe panic attacks, and even obsessive-compulsive disorder. If it seems to you that the level of your anxiety has passed normal, it is important to talk about this with a psychologist or a psychotherapist.
30 Tips on How to Deal with Anxiety
Approach 1. Changes in Lifestyle
Exclude from your diet food and drinks which contribute to the development of anxiety
This may sound a bit silly but, in fact, your daily diet greatly affects your mental state. If you notice a sense of anxiety and panic as well as daily stress, try to eliminate from your diet at least one of the products listed below. So, reduce the consumption of the following products:
- Coffee. The most popular energy drink of all times can be one of the main reasons for your constant anxiety. If you drink coffee every morning, try switching to decaffeinated coffee, tea, juice or just water (for several weeks). This can be quite difficult but most likely you will notice a decrease in the level of stress in this period.
- Sugar and starch. We all like tasty sweet food with a lot of sugar and starch (for example, ice cream, cookies, pasta), especially if you need to alleviate stress because delicious food provides a sense of calmness. Nevertheless, the rise and fall of blood sugar (which occurs after consuming these foods) can cause emotional stress.
Alcohol helps relieve stress for a while but after the end of its action, the feeling of relaxation is compensated by the severity of anxiety. Drink wisely and try to drink plenty of water so as not to feel too bad later.
Cigarettes’ influence is also bad for people with high level of anxiety. Try to smoke less or give up this bad habit. It will help to reduce anxiety. In order to get rid of anxiety, it is very important to stay away from bad habits.
Include in your diet foods that raise your spirits
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to a good mood. If you get enough nutrients, your body will work more harmoniously, so in stressful situations, you will not get anxious. To avoid negative effects of coffee, alcohol, and sugar on mental health, try replacing these foods with fruit and vegetables.
Consume more foods with a high content of antioxidants (such as blueberries, for example). They help to improve your mood and reduce the level of stress hormones.
Include foods high in minerals. Most people do not get enough magnesium which can lead to different mental symptoms, including anxiety.
Do exercises to reduce anxiety
The results of the studies showed that regular exercises reduce the level of anxiety. Also, they help fighting other mental health disorders. During training and for several hours after it, there is a feeling of satisfaction. Cardio exercises (such as running or cycling) as well as power and other exercises aimed at building muscle mass help to get rid of anxiety. Sport is indeed one of the most important answers to the question of how to deal with anxiety.
- Try yoga. In the yoga studio, there is a quite soothing atmosphere. Thus, you have a chance to relax and concentrate on yourself. That’s why this type of physical activity helps you get rid of anxiety.
If the very thought of physical exercises horrifies you, try to create for yourself a program with a minimum physical load. Understand that you do not need to engage in some kind of team sport or go to the gym for exercise. Even the usual daily walk will help to cheer you up.
Take your time
It’s impossible to think clearly when you’re overwhelmed with fear or anxiety. The first thing you need to do is to take your time to physically calm down. Distract yourself from the worry for 15 minutes by walking around, making a cup of tea or having a bath.
Do something you enjoy
Often a feeling of anxiety appears when we are tired and cannot get rid of life’s problems. Spend at least 10 minutes a day on your hobby or something that brings you pleasure. It can be reading, playing, sports, music or art. Give yourself the opportunity to relax and throw bad emotions out.
At the time when you are doing something that brings you pleasure, make a decision not to think about your stress and anxiety. Throw these thoughts out of your head and enjoy your favorite pastime. This will help get rid of anxious thoughts in the future.
Relax at home with family and friends
Give yourself enough time to spend with those you love in a quiet and cozy environment.
Take a hot bath, listen to relaxing music, and try to avoid any stress factors.
If you do not have the opportunity to be with your relatives, call a friend and ask to meet. Try to spend quality time with your loved ones. Talk to family or friends about how you feel.
Do not overload yourself
If you have a busy schedule or worry about your school work, you are most likely too overwhelmed and worry more often than you should. Make a schedule of the most necessary things and try to reduce the rest a little. Give yourself enough time to deal with anxiety, and soon you will be able to overcome it.
Of course, meeting friends is a very pleasant thing, but too frequent meetings can also cause concern that you do not have time for yourself. Try to balance meetings and time for yourself.
Learn to answer “no” to some requests. Regardless of whether this is an assignment for work or simply a request, it is normal from time to time to refuse to fulfill them.
Try to sleep more
The lack of sleep is the cause of exhaustion and fatigue. It is very dangerous for people who suffer from chronic anxiety. Because of the lack of sleep, your anxiety can worsen. Remember that you need to sleep at least 7-9 hours a day.
Try to go to bed and wake up the same time every day. This will help regulate your sleep cycle and improve night sleep.
If you have trouble sleeping (cannot sleep or wake up), you are most likely to have a lack of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that is synthesized in the body and stimulates a good sleep. This hormone is contained in pills in small doses and is sold in pharmacies.
Do not use your phone, laptop or TV an hour before bedtime. These devices negatively affect the production of melatonin due to the fact that they emit bright light.
Finally, give yourself a treat. When you’ve overcome something you’ve been scared of, treat yourself with something you enjoy (a massage, a new book, a meal out, etc.).
Approach 2. Psychological Tactics as One of the Answers on How to Deal with Anxiety
Try to resist the sources of anxiety that you can control
There are many different situations that can cause anxiety. So, it is very important to understand why you feel anxiety and take action.
Keep a diary that will help determine the cause of your anxiety. Write down your thoughts in it and try to identify the causes of anxiety that you cannot yet find. Also, think about how you can deal with them.
Even if you understand that you cannot control the source of anxiety, you can completely change the situation so that it is less stressful for you. Try to find a way out of a stressful situation.
Try to avoid sources of anxiety that you cannot control
If you’ve noticed that you are feeling anxious in certain situations, just avoid these situations.
If you feel a crisis in some areas of your life (finances, social, professional, and personal life), you can address the psychotherapist.
Pay attention to the good things
A great way to keep your mind off the worry track is to focus your thoughts on good, positive, and beautiful things. Learn to focus on such things and appreciate them. Allow yourself to dream, wish, and imagine the best that could happen.
Relaxation and meditation are very effective for relieving stress. There are many different types of meditation. So, it’s best to experiment and choose the kind of meditation that will allow you to relax and feel comfortable. You can practice meditation as soon as you feel anxiety or stress, and also daily to relieve tension.
Try mindfulness meditation
This kind of meditation involves focusing on a particular thought or image that causes your anxiety. You focus on these images until they begin to disappear from your mind. To do this, you just need to find a quiet place where you can sit for 5 minutes and relax. You can try the following technique:
- Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
- Sit for 5 minutes, concentrating on the movements of your chest while you’re breathing in and out.
- Now let yourself feel some emotion: anxiety, depression, painful memories, a recent quarrel. Keep these emotions in your mind, but do not go deep into them. Just “sit” with these emotions, as you would sit with a friend.
- Now watch these emotions. Mentally tell them: “I’m here, I’m around. I’ll be sitting here with you for as long as I need.”
- Let the emotions express themselves and observe the changes. If you perceive these emotions as friends, they will begin to change and stop hurting.
This process will help you clear your mind of anxiety, obsessive thoughts and images and replace them with positive ones. Try using imagination to create in your mind a place where you feel calm and safe. Once you’ve presented the space, focus on the details to fully immerse yourself in this place.
Drive your thoughts and anxiety away to calm the body and mind.
Face your fears
Avoiding fears only makes them scarier. Whatever your fear is, try to overcome it and face what scares you. In general, if you face your fears, they start to fade.
Imagine the worst
Try imagining the worst thing that can happen. By doing this, it is easier to understand that such course of events is not likely to take place.
It sometimes helps to challenge fearful thoughts. Ask yourself if you have ever heard of this happening to someone. Ask yourself what you would say to a friend who had a similar fear.
Don’t try to be perfect
Life is full of stresses. And it’s clear that no one is perfect. Yet many of us feel that our lives must be much better. Everyone needs to realize that bad days and setbacks always happen, and it’s important to remember that life can’t be perfect.
Talk about it
Sharing fears takes away a lot of their scariness. Many people feel much better after talking to someone. If you need to speak, talk to your spouse, relative or a friend and ask them for advice. Tell how you feel. Very often you can get rid of negative thoughts by simply putting more emotions into words.
Ask for help
If you have to cope with a strong sense of anxiety, think about how to seek help from a psychotherapist.
Approach 3. Medical Treatment
Make an appointment with a therapist
It is important to understand that you need the help of a specialist. If you have chronic anxiety and you feel that you can’t cope with it, seek help from a psychotherapist or psychologist. It is very difficult to cure such disorders on your own. The sooner you contact a specialist, the faster you will feel better.
Tell the doctor why you are feeling uneasy
Try to describe the symptoms of anxiety as precisely as possible. Remember that the doctor is here to help you and they know a number of symptoms of mental illness including manifestations of anxiety. If you have specific reasons for concern, do not forget to mention them. Anxiety disorders respond well to treatment, but only the therapist is competent enough to help you.
If you have chronic anxiety, it negatively affects your sleep as well as your wakefulness
Ask the therapist to prescribe medication to reduce anxiety. Many soothing drugs have negative side-effects, some of them can be addictive, so before you buy medications, try treatment with physical exercises and various psychological techniques.
Panic attacks, severe social anxiety, and other symptoms are easily treated with certain medications that must be selected for each particular case.
Try the treatment with natural remedies
Some herbs, teas and natural supplements help reduce anxiety symptoms. Although homeopathic methods are not medically proven, herbs and herbal infusions can have a calming effect.
Management of the fight-or-flight response
There are two tasks:
- solve the problem that is making you anxious
- control your level of anxiety so that it helps you solve your problem
People are often tempted to avoid threatening situations, but if you do it, the anxiety will be worse next time you are in that situation. The best strategy is to confront the feared situation. Usually, it is better than you thought, and if not, you will have learned valuable coping skills by confronting your fears.
Additional Advice on How to Deal with Anxiety
Getting better means gaining control over worry. Understand that your anxiety will not go away overnight. It will take a lot of time to change internally and externally and cope with a sense of anxiety.
- Be kind to yourself. Anxiety is a very common emotion, and you don’t have to fight it alone.
- Do not hide your anxiety from others. Share your feelings with those you trust and try to go through it together.
In the case of strong anxiety and depression, it is best to consult a doctor. If you are worried about your condition, please, ask for medical help.
Do not take any supplements or medications without consulting a doctor first.
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By Maria Shevtsova
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist. Taking action in support groups organization and social adaptation of the people with mental disorders. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the undepress.net project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who want to get their life back or help someone dear, who got into mental trap.
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