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How Can I Control My Anxiety

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8. Go to bed early.

This may sound impossible if you’re accustomed to staying up late to catch up on the to-do list. But this one’s a must.

Sleep deprivation is a huge anxiety culprit. Inadequate shuteye can amplify the brain’s anticipatory reactions, upping overall anxiety levels, according to research.

“We all have anticipatory anxiety,” explains researcher Fugen Neziroglu. “Having moderate levels of anxiety about doing well is important. But it can be destructive when it begins to interfere with your life.” It’s impossible to have healthy emotional functioning without adequate sleep.

Don’t burn the midnight oil in hopes of catching up on the weekends. Unused sleep minutes don’t roll over.

9. Wake up 15 minutes early.

Like most anxious people, you’re probably rushing around in the morning and yelling at everyone in your wake, “Hurry up! We’re going to be late!”

Go slowly, and set yourself up for a relaxed day ahead. If you start to worry about the to-do list, take a deep breath and think: There is enough time.

10. Get your lavender on!

Lavender oil has many healing properties and can be used as a natural remedy to reduce anxiety and other nervous conditions. There are many ways to incorporate lavender into your calm tool kit:

11. Reduce caffeine, sugar, and processed foods.

Sugar acts as an adrenal stimulant and can cause anxiety or even panic attacks. Other offensive foods include those containing refined flour products and even wheat, since this causes inflammation.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day weekends included.

Your routine before going to bed also matters. Consider giving yourself wind-down times. For example, 20 minutes with no devices. Instead, you could read a book or take a bath.

Avoiding potential triggers, like watching TV or scrolling the news on your phone, is key.

Creating a sleep routine will help you fall asleep faster and reduce the chances that youll lie awake, worrying about unfinished tasks or the next morning.

Learn Strategies To Immediately Deal With Symptoms

Educate yourself by learning strategies to immediately deal with anxiety symptoms. The National Institute of Anxiety and Stress has just made available free information that can help you reduce anxiety symptoms quickly, easily, and effectively.

This free information contains audio and workbook exercises that show you:

  • how to stop intense anxiety using a simple three-step formula
  • how to deal with anxiety symptoms quickly
  • what to do when youre having a panic attack

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How Much Worrying Is Too Much

Worries, doubts, and anxieties are a normal part of life. Its natural to worry about an unpaid bill, an upcoming job interview, or a first date. But normal worry becomes excessive when its persistent and uncontrollable. You worry every day about what ifs and worst-case scenarios, you cant get anxious thoughts out of your head, and it interferes with your daily life.

Constant worrying, negative thinking, and always expecting the worst can take a toll on your emotional and physical health. It can sap your emotional strength, leave you feeling restless and jumpy, cause insomnia, headaches, stomach problems, and muscle tension, and make it difficult to concentrate at work or school. You may take your negative feelings out on the people closest to you, self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, or try to distract yourself by zoning out in front of screens. Chronic worrying can also be a major symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder , a common anxiety disorder that involves tension, nervousness, and a general feeling of unease that colors your whole life.

If youre plagued by exaggerated worry and tension, there are steps you can take to turn off anxious thoughts. Chronic worrying is a mental habit that can be broken. You can train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more balanced, less fearful perspective.

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Feelings of anxiety â uneasiness, dread, fear, or an inexplicable sense of impending doom â can be deeply unpleasant. Whether anxiety presents itself as an upset stomach, heart palpitations, a nervous tension that colors everything, or even a panic attack, the discomfort and distress can be extremely challenging.

Weâre not talking about general, everyday anxiousness here, but clinical anxiety â the kind that can be all-consuming and, sometimes, debilitating. When classified as a disorder, anxiety is âpersistent and excessive worryâ where individuals can lose rational perspective and âexpect the worst, even when there is no apparent reason for concern,â according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Chronic or severe symptoms may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder , which affects close to 40 million adults in the US and, according to the World Health Organization , 1 in 13 globally. Thankfully, there are effective therapies and medications as doctors and healthcare professionals determine the best treatment options that are right for you.

With the right skills and lifestyle changes, we can better regulate our emotions and train our brain to view life with a more balanced, less fearful perspective. Hereâs how to relieve anxiety naturally, and with awareness.

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Controlling Anxiety Takes Time

Theres no quick fix for anxiety, and it may often feel like an uphill struggle. But by gaining awareness of what causes your symptoms, and getting help from your doctor, you can manage your symptoms.

You may find some of these hacks work for you straight away and others may have no effect at all, but the important thing is to keep trying.

Giving in to feelings of anxiety by retreating from the world only served to make my life more difficult in the long run. Continuing to search for solutions that work for me has been key to my recovery. Practice makes perfect, so dont stop trying to find ways that work for you.

Fiona Thomas is a lifestyle and mental health writer who lives with depression and anxiety. Visit her website or connect with her on .

What Should You Do If Youre Anxious

So what can you do if you notice yourself feeling anxious? Start by facing your anxiety, advises psychologist Susan Albers-Bowling, PsyD. Then try these 9 ways to calm yourself:

  • Think of yourself as a firefighter. Put out the flames of anxiety with some cool breaths. Breathe in and out, deeply and slowly. When you slow down your breathing, you trick your body into thinking youre relaxing or going to sleep, she says.
  • Cool down anxious thoughts. Thoughts like, I cant stand this this is awful! fuel the fire of anxiety, says Dr. Albers. Instead, think about what you can and cannot change about the situation. Then take steps to change what you can, and work on accepting what you cant.
  • Get some perspective. Anxiety can stem from needless worry about a lot of things that arent important in the long run. Consider how this will really impact you in five minutes, five months or five years, she says.
  • Soothe your system. Try some yoga stretches, or take a tennis ball and rub it under your foot or behind your back. Find gentle ways to calm your body, says Dr. Albers.
  • Talk it out. Research proves that simply naming your feelings can help to calm you down. This is easier to do when you share your feelings with others, she notes.
  • Dont ignore. Anxiety is like a red flag, telling you that something needs attention. Dont ignore this sign contact a professional to help you through it, says Dr. Albers.
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    How Do I Know If I Need Help

    Fear and anxiety can affect all of us every now and then. It is only when it is severe and long-lasting that doctors class it as a mental health problem. If you feel anxious all the time for several weeks, or if it feels like your fears are taking over your life, then its a good idea to ask your doctor for help, or try one of the websites or numbers listed at the back of this booklet. The same is true if a phobia is causing problems in your daily life, or if you are experiencing panic attacks.

    What Maintains The Anxiety Trick

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    You might wonder, why don’t people come to see this pattern, of repeated episodes of fear which don’t lead to the feared outcome, and gradually lose their fear?

    The answer is this. They took these protective steps, and there was no catastrophe. They tend to believe that these steps “saved” them from a catastrophe. This thought makes them worry more about “the next time”. It convinces them that they are terribly vulnerable and must constantly protect themselves.

    The actual reason they didn’t experience a catastrophe is that such catastrophes are typically not part of a fear or phobia. These are anxiety disorders, not catastrophe disorders. People get through the experience because the experience isn’t actually dangerous. But it’s understandably hard for people to recognize that at the time. They’re more likely to think they just had a “narrow escape”. This leads them to redouble their protective steps.

    It’s the protective steps which actually maintain and strengthen the Anxiety Trick. If you think you just narrowly escaped a catastrophe because you had your cellular phone, or a water bottle or because you went back and checked the stove seven times or because you plugged in your iPod and distracted yourself with some music, then you’re going to continue to feel vulnerable. And you’re going to get more stuck in the habit of “protecting” yourself by these means.

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    Signs Of An Anxiety Attack

    These are some of the more common mental and physical symptoms of anxiety:

    • feelings of danger, panic, or dread
    • nervousness or restlessness
    • hyperventilation

    Its also possible to experience an anxiety and panic attack simultaneously. The quick coping strategies mentioned above may also help with a panic attack.

    Other mindful strategies to cope with panic attacks include focusing on an object, repeating a mantra, closing your eyes, and going to your happy place.

    How Can I Help Myself

    Face your fear if you can

    If you always avoid situations that scare you, you might stop doing things you want or need to do. You wont be able to test out whether the situation is always as bad as you expect, so you miss the chance to work out how to manage your fears and reduce your anxiety. Anxiety problems tend to increase if you get into this pattern. Exposing yourself to your fears can be an effective way of overcoming this anxiety.

    Know yourself

    Try to learn more about your fear or anxiety. Keep an anxiety diary or thought record to note down when it happens and what happens. You can try setting yourself small, achievable goals for facing your fears. You could carry with you a list of things that help at times when you are likely to be become frightened or anxious. This can be an effective way of addressing the underlying beliefs that are behind your anxiety.

    Try to learn more about your fear or anxiety. Keep a record of when it happens and what happens.

    Exercise

    Increase the amount of exercise you do. Exercise requires some concentration, and this can take your mind off your fear and anxiety.

    Relax

    Learning relaxation techniques can help you with the mental and physical feelings of fear. It can help just to drop your shoulders and breathe deeply. Or imagine yourself in a relaxing place. You could also try learning things like yoga, meditation, massage, or listen to the Mental Health Foundations wellbeing podcasts.

    Healthy eating

    Avoid alcohol, or drink in moderation

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    Stop An Anxiety Attack With Belly Breathing

    Feeling short of breath is a hallmark symptom of an anxiety attack. But you can make the feeling worse by taking short, shallow breaths. Try belly breathing instead to stop the anxiety attack.

    Carbonell compares the type of breathing youll need with the breathing of infants, whose bellies rise and fall with each inhale and exhale. When an anxiety attack starts, exhale deeply, loosen your shoulders, and focus on some longer, deeper inhales and exhales that let your belly rise and fall. Place one hand on your belly if you need to feel this happening.

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    antibenzodiazepinesalprazolamclonazepamchlordiazepoxidediazepamlorazepamPhysical symptoms of stress include:

    • Low energy.
    • Upset stomach, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.
    • Aches, pains, and tense muscles.
    • Chest pain and rapid heartbeat.
    • Insomnia.
    • Loss of sexual desire and/or ability.

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    Six Simple Habits That Defeat Anxiety

    Deanne Repich, Director: National Institute of Anxiety and Stress

    If youre like most anxiety sufferers, you probably spend much of your day wrestling with physical symptoms, feeling afraid, or even hiding your anxious feelings from others. When stressors arise your racing heart, trembling, dizziness, obsessive thoughts and other symptoms take over.

    Anxiety can keep you feeling trapped and once you feel this way, its difficult to know how or if you can ever feel better.

    If you suffer from anxiety, take heart. Studies show that simple anxiety-reducing habits can go a long way toward improving how you feel.

    Here are six simple habits you can use to defeat anxiety and take back control of your life.

    Consider Quitting Smoking Cigarettes

    Smokers often reach for a cigarette during stressful times. Yet, like drinking alcohol, taking a drag on a cigarette when youre stressed is a quick fix that may worsen anxiety over time.

    has shown that the earlier you start smoking in life, the higher your risk of developing an anxiety disorder later. Research also suggests nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke alter pathways in the brain linked to anxiety.

    If youre looking to quit, there are lots of different ways you can get started. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends finding a safe substitute for cigarettes, like toothpicks.

    You can also take up habits that may distract you in order to create an environment that works for your smoke-free life. Additionally, you can make a plan with a support system who can provide everything from encouragement to distractions.

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    See Our Other ‘how To’ Guides

    Fear is one of the most powerful emotions. It has a very strong effect on your mind and body.

    Fear can create strong signals of response when were in emergencies for instance, if we are caught in a fire or are being attacked.

    It can also take effect when youre faced with non-dangerous events, like exams, public speaking, a new job, a date, or even a party. Its a natural response to a threat that can be either perceived or real.

    Anxiety is a word we use for some types of fear that are usually to do with the thought of a threat or something going wrong in the future, rather than right now.

    Fear and anxiety can last for a short time and then pass, but they can also last much longer and you can get stuck with them. In some cases they can take over your life, affecting your ability to eat, sleep, concentrate, travel, enjoy life, or even leave the house or go to work or school. This can hold you back from doing things you want or need to do, and it also affects your health.

    Some people become overwhelmed by fear and want to avoid situations that might make them frightened or anxious. It can be hard to break this cycle, but there are lots of ways to do it. You can learn to feel less fearful and to cope with fear so that it doesnt stop you from living.

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