by Carol Fredrek
If you are reading this article you are probably struggling with managing your own anxiety or you know someone that is struggling. We all feel nervous or worry at times, which can be helpful when it motivates or warns us of danger.
An anxiety disorder causes unexpected or unhelpful anxiety that seriously impacts your life, including how you think, feel, and act.
There are many different anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety, panic disorder, social anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It is important to consider a comprehensive approach to managing anxiety by addressing it on an emotional, physical, behavioral, and mental level.
8 Tips to Manage Your Anxiety
1. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is being aware of what you are feeling, thinking, and sensing in the moment. Guided meditations are particularly helpful if you have difficulty staying focused. It can be a peaceful and calming way of starting your day. There are several guided meditations on You Tube. Just search “guided meditations”.
2. Exercise Daily
Exercise is an effective way to manage stress. It can also be a helpful way to move anxiety, anger, or painful feelings out of your body. Find a physical activity that works best for you. That might be yoga, running, hiking, or a walk. It is movement that is important, not the type of activity.
3. Use Daily Affirmations
Affirmations are a way of maintaining a positive attitude. Replace the negative self beliefs that serve to reinforce your anxiety by using daily affirmations. You can get affirmation books, cards, or make a list of your own. Stay with one of the affirmations until it feels believable. To help you with this you might want to rate how believable it is to you and then re-rate it every few days.
4. Practice Relaxation Exercises
With anxiety your body is usually in a state of tension. Your heart races, your breathing becomes heavy, and you may get sweaty palms. Your blood pressure rises and your body goes into a fight or flight mode.
Relaxation training can reset you body and move you towards developing a calmer constant state. Progressive relaxation is one of the most common.
5. Manage Stress
Stress can build to a point where you feel overwhelmed and anxious. It is helpful to use a calendar to record the tasks that you want to do as well as leisure and self care activities.
Self-care is often neglected and we find ourselves scrambling when we are in a crisis. Managing your stress before it reaches a crisis point is critical. This includes setting clear boundaries with yourself and with others. You need to be able to say “no”.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is important for everyone but with anxiety or stress it is even more critical. It is recommended to have a sleep routine, which will look different for everyone. You will want to develop a plan or ritual that you do every night, even on weekends.
Perhaps a bath, a cup of chamomile tea and a meditation before bed. Try different things out to find what works best for you.
7. Take Deep Breaths
Breathing from your diaphragm is important. It gets your heartrate to slow down and brings down your blood pressure. Take a few deep breaths, regularly throughout the day. Be sure not to breath from your chest as it will increase the intensity of your anxiety. Keep your eyes open so you stay in the present moment.
8. Count Backwards
Counting can be a helpful strategy to calm your body. It can prevent your anxiety from escalating, and even help with sleep. The strategy is called 54321. You name 5 things that you can see, 5 things that you can hear, and 5 things that you can feel. You then go down to 4 things, 3 things, 2 things and 1. Go through this as many times as you need. It can be done with your eyes open, or closed if you are already in bed.
You don’t need to do this alone. If you would like to talk about your struggles to see if counseling would be a good fit for you Book a FREE 15-phone consultation or if you feel ready to start you can Book a full 60-minute session.