Health Tips: Managing your Anxiety (erickson foundation article)
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Many people will experience anxiety at some point in their lives. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States that affects 40 million adults. Anxiety is a common response when we are going through big life changes, such as career changes, moving, or financial and health troubles. When the anxiety starts to become larger than the events themselves or your everyday life and routine are affected, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. Signs and symptoms of someone struggling with anxiety can range from excessive worrying, restlessness, agitation, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and more. If you need help managing your anxiety, here are some tips to help you manage it and overall better your life.
Identify your Sources of Stress. Try to identify your specific sources of anxiety by starting an anxiety/stress journal. You can write down the anxieties you experience and record the anxious thoughts you have. This can also help you determine possible triggers. Once you’ve identified specific sources of anxiety and stress, you can take steps to avoid them or at least work to manage your feelings toward them.
Use Relaxation Techniques. Techniques such as these are a good way for you to stop, take a breath, and learn to control your anxiety and stress. Deep breathing will work by taking 10-20 slow and deep breaths to calm down. Breathe in as deeply as you can, hold the air in for several seconds, and slowly let each breath out. Other techniques you can try out are meditation and mindfulness.
Think Positive. When you have anxious thoughts or episodes, they are preceded by self-sabotaging or negative thoughts or behaviors. To help with this, write down your negative thoughts once you feel them. Then, jot down the exact opposite of those feelings as well. As you become more comfortable with writing down these positive thoughts/affirmations, you can start to visualize and believe the outcomes.
Get Organized. Having poor organization can also be a source of anxiety and stress. If this is the case, learning good time-management skills could benefit you. Manage your daily tasks with to-do lists, calendars, planners, reminder cards, action programs, and more, to make you feel more in control.
Exercise more. Exercising regularly can help reduce your anxiety and serve as a release for any built-up tension or stress you may have. Search for ways to incorporate fitness into your daily routine, as studies have shown that exercise has a positive effect on anxious thoughts. Meditation and yoga can be productive activities to manage anxiety and focus on your breathing.
Watch What You Eat. You can decrease your anxiety by eating healthier foods and drinks and limiting your intake of caffeine, alcohol, soda, and junk food. This also means not skipping meals, eating a balanced diet, and staying hydrated throughout the day.
With anxiety as a common struggle for many all over the world, it is important to find ways to identify where we think our anxiety is coming from and how to use that information to better manage it. When anxiety is better managed, it improves the quality of life and gets us back to spending quality time with the important people in our lives and enjoying the things we like to do.
“Facts & Statistics: Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA.” Facts & Statistics | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics#:~:text=Did%20You%20Know%3F,of%20those%20suffering%20receive%20treatment.
Julson, Erica. “11 Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders.” Healthline, 10 Apr. 2018, www.healthline.com/nutrition/anxiety-disorder-symptoms.
“Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress.” Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, adaa.org/tips.
The Mind Tools Content Team, By the Mind Tools Content Team, et al. “Dealing With Anxiety: Understanding and Managing Anxious Thoughts.” Stress Management Techniques From MindTools.com, www.mindtools.com/pages/article/dealing-with-anxiety.htm.