Everyone feels anxious at some point, but when it lingers, it’s time to seek help. Luckily, anxiety disorders are among the most treatable mental health conditions.
Learning to Overcoming your anxiety takes practice, patience and courage. But it’s worth it. The following techniques can help manage your anxiety: 1. Education: The old saying “knowledge is power” is true for overcoming anxiety.
1. Breathing Exercises
Breathing is something most of us do without consciously thinking about it. It is a vital function that allows blood cells to receive oxygen and release carbon dioxide as waste, but when anxiety sets in, breathing can become shallow and rapid. This type of breathing increases the heart rate and can lead to feelings of stress and suffocation. It is important to learn to consciously shift back to normal breathing when you start feeling anxious. Breathing exercises can help with this.
Many of these breathing techniques are similar to those used in yoga, which helps keep a healthy balance between body and mind. They are easy to practice and can be done anywhere. Some only take a few minutes and can be done multiple times a day.
The most common breathing exercise to try is 4-7-8 breathing, which teaches you to breathe into your belly instead of your chest. This can be done anywhere and is especially helpful when out and about or during a stressful situation. Inhale through your nose, focusing on your tummy rising, hold the breath for a count of 4, and then exhale through pursed lips, making a whooshing sound for a count of 7. Repeat as needed.
One of the most effective nonmedical ways to reduce anxiety is to get moving. Exercise improves cardiovascular health, reduces skeletal muscle tension and promotes relaxation. It also releases endorphins, which help to decrease the body’s sensitivity to stress and anxiety.
Studies show that just about any form of physical activity can help relieve anxiety symptoms, from tai chi to high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It’s important to choose an activity you enjoy so you’ll be more likely to engage in it regularly.
For example, many people with anxiety find that deep breathing exercises alleviate their physical symptoms. These involve breathing in deeply through the nose for a count of five, then exhaling slowly for a count of 10. This technique helps slow your breathing and prevents hyperventilation.
Another exercise that’s proven to be beneficial is progressive muscle relaxation, which involves tensing and relaxing each of your major muscles, starting with the chest, back and arms, then moving down to your legs and abdominals. It’s recommended to do this exercise with a trainer or in a group, since it can help you feel supported and connected to other people.
One of the most powerful ways to reduce anxiety is through meditation. It helps soothe the mind and body, calm the thoughts, and improve overall mental well-being. Meditation can be done anytime, anywhere, and for as little or as long as you need.
Many different types of meditation are available, but mindfulness meditation, which is rooted in Buddhist teachings, has been shown to be particularly effective at decreasing anxiety and stress. This type of meditation involves paying attention to the breath, noticing any tension in the body on the inhale and exhale, and observing the emotions that come and go without judgment.
Practicing meditation on a daily basis can help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and stress, so make it a part of your routine. Set aside time in your day to meditate, and try to do it at the same time each day (like first thing in the morning or right before bed). Over time, you can use meditation as a tool to overcome anxiety and build up a stronger sense of self.
In addition to breathing exercises, meditation and exercise, journaling is another way to reduce anxiety. By writing down your thoughts and feelings in a private and personal space, you can release pent-up emotions without worrying about burdening others or putting pressure on them to solve your problems.
Keeping a journal can also help you identify triggers that cause you to feel anxious. When you write down these triggers, you can begin to recognize when they occur and develop strategies for addressing them. This is a great step toward reducing anxiety in your daily life, and it can be done in any format that works for you, including handwriting, typing or creative alternative techniques.
One of the best things about keeping a journal is that it can allow you to examine your thought patterns and challenge negative ones. This is a core tenet of cognitive behavioral therapy, and it can be an effective strategy for overcoming anxiety. When you review your journal entries, pay attention to any illogical beliefs and try to find ways to change them.
5. Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques can be used alone or in combination with other treatments to help overcome anxiety. Many techniques can be done in the privacy of your home and are inexpensive or free to try. The most important thing is to find a technique that works for you and stick with it.
Several different relaxation techniques are available, including meditation, breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and visualizing a calming environment. Health care providers can teach you how to perform these relaxation techniques or they may be available in books and online.
It is important to note that not all relaxation techniques will work for everyone and it will take time to develop a habit of them. They should also be used in conjunction with other coping mechanisms and treatment methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), to ensure success. In addition, they may not be safe for some people with medical conditions such as epilepsy and some psychiatric disorders. It is important to talk to your therapist about these types of issues and discuss how you can incorporate relaxation techniques into your life.