Overcoming your anxiety is a long-term process that takes time and patience. But there are things you can do to make the process easier and more effective.
Start by checking your health insurance coverage to find a provider who is in-network and that you feel comfortable with. Also, consider trying out BetterHelp to match you with a therapist who is right for you.
Identify Your Triggers
Anxiety is normal, but if it becomes severe or chronic it can affect your health, well-being and relationships with whanau. Learning to identify and avoid anxiety triggers can help reduce symptoms such as a pounding heart or stomach cramps.
Anxious feelings can be triggered by many different things, from everyday stress to specific fears and worries, like public speaking or an fear of being alone. A mental health professional can help you understand the connections between your thoughts, emotions and behaviours and learn coping strategies to manage triggers.
Keeping a journal of when you’re feeling anxious and what might be causing it can help you see patterns in your triggers. It can also create a safe space for expressing your feelings.
Other helpful strategies include visualizing techniques, meditation and getting enough sleep. Avoiding crowded spaces, cutting back on alcohol and caffeine use, and ending harmful relationships can all be effective ways to manage anxiety triggers. Using desensitization, which involves gradually exposing yourself to the triggers until they no longer cause an anxiety response, is another option for some people.
While some people may think of running, lifting weights or playing basketball when they hear the word exercise, it really can mean any physical activity that gets your heart rate up. Studies show that exercise is a key element in reducing anxiety symptoms and preventing them from returning.
It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it regularly. Ideally, you want to make exercise an integral part of your daily life so that it’s something you can count on to help manage your anxiety.
Exercise anxiety is often caused by negative thoughts about failure, embarrassment or fear of pain or injury. To get over this, it’s important to first be kind to yourself and then find a workout routine that feels enjoyable. This might mean hiring a personal trainer, joining a group fitness class or even taking up yoga. If you have more serious anxiety, consider connecting with a mental health expert on BetterHelp. They’ll be able to match you within 48 hours and provide further resources to help. Learn more about their services here.
Breathing exercises can help calm anxiety by increasing oxygen flow to the brain and stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a sense of relaxation. AIS endorses several breathing techniques, such as 4-4-4 breath and box breath, that can help calm the body and mind.
During an anxiety attack, people tend to breathe quickly and shallowly from their chest, which can upset the normal balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood. This can cause dizziness, muscle tension and other symptoms that contribute to a panic attack. Deep breathing from the abdomen, on the other hand, can help ease anxiety and prevent panic attacks by decreasing heart rate and calming a person’s physical state.
Anyone can practice these simple breathing exercises, and they can be done anywhere — while sitting in a waiting room, at work, or even while driving. They can also be used in combination with other anxiety-relieving methods, such as slow counting or imagining a calming scene. However, if anxiety is causing serious physical or emotional distress, it is important to seek professional help from a therapist or mental health counselor.
Anxiety is a natural reaction to fear and uncertainty, but it can also be all-consuming, debilitating and overwhelming. The uncomfortable pit-of-the-stomach feeling of anxiety can be accompanied by heart palpitations, sweating and an overall sense of unease that colors everything.
When you feel anxious, take a step back from the worry and refocus on your breath and your surroundings. Practice a physical activity such as deep breathing, meditation or yoga to calm the body and mind. Writing down your worries can help get them out of your head, and it will be easier to let go when you physically see them on paper.
If these lifestyle approaches don’t provide relief, seek help. A therapist can teach you ways to cope with your anxieties and help you identify the underlying beliefs or thoughts that fuel them. Be sure to check with your insurance company to find a counselor who is in-network and affordable. Your primary care doctor may be able to recommend a therapist as well. Also, if your anxiety has become chronic and interferes with your daily life, talk to your doctor about medications that can reduce the symptoms.
Learning how to manage your anxiety takes time and effort. It’s important to practice your new skills regularly so that they become a habit. You can help yourself stay on track by checking in with yourself periodically to evaluate your progress.
Try to engage in activities that bring you pleasure and focus your attention away from your anxious thoughts. Practicing an artistic hobby, for example, is known to lower stress levels by engaging the brain and reducing the production of harmful chemicals.
Exercise is another powerful tool in overcoming anxiety. Exercising can burn up stress chemicals and boost your mood, especially if you choose activities that you enjoy. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week, and make sure to vary your routine to avoid boredom.
Meditation is also a helpful coping technique. It can help you relax and reduce the effects of your anxious thoughts by focusing on your breath, body sensations, and nonjudgmental evaluation of your thoughts as they come up in your mind.