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 .
Aromatherapy And Essential Oils
Essential oils, the extract from plants, have been used for thousands of years to treat a number of conditions, including anxiety. Essential oils activate certain areas of your brain and release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin. They have been found to ease symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression, improve mood, and improve sleep.
Recommended use includes diffusing, inhalation, or topical treatment which can aid with anxiety symptoms. When diffusing an essential oil or essential oil blend you will need an essential oil diffuser to fill your space with the desired scent. Inhalation is used by deeply smelling the essential oil straight from the bottle or by applying a drop or two of the oil on something such as a diffuser pad or lava bead that is connected to a bracelet, necklace, or even keychain. You can also place a drop or two of essential oil into your hands, rub them together, then cup your hands and take a few deep inhalations to get the desired effect.
You should be sure that the essential oils you use are pure oils and not mixed with chemicals. Some good brands to use include: Mountain Rose Herbs, Plant Therapy, Young Living, Doterra. You can do your own research to find a brand that will best work for you and your budget. Remember that a bottle of essential oil will last a long time since you typically use only a few drops at a time.
Essential oils that are great for treating anxiety include:
How To Calm Anxiety: Name Your Fear
Denial is counterproductive.
The quickest way to find relief from fear, anxiety, or worry is to name what youre feeling label it, say it out loud, or write it down. Labeling is an incredibly effective way to manage what youre feeling. It sounds simple, but its not usually the first response, especially when you have ADHD. We are more likely to run away from the feelings of discomfort than we are to acknowledge them. Pretending that a threat or discomfort doesnt exist is a temporary and unhelpful fix squashed emotions appear unexpectedly and rip us up eventually.
Strength of character comes from naming your discomfort, rather than running from it. If you name it, you can manage it. Talk to a non-judgmental friend about your thoughts. If that doesnt work, write in a journal. Spill your guts. Labeling thoughts gets them out of your head.
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How To Handle A Panic Attack
Professor Paul Salkovskis, Professor of Clinical Psychology and Applied Science at the University of Bath, says it’s important not to let your fear of panic attacks control you.
“Panic attacks always pass and the symptoms are not a sign of anything harmful happening,” he says. “Tell yourself that the symptoms you’re experiencing are caused by anxiety.”
He says don’t look for distractions. “Ride out the attack. Try to keep doing things. If possible, it’s important to try to remain in the situation until the anxiety has subsided.”
“Confront your fear. If you don’t run away from it, you’re giving yourself a chance to discover that nothing’s going to happen.”
As the anxiety begins to pass, start to focus on your surroundings and continue to do what you were doing before.
“If youre having a short, sudden panic attack, it can be helpful to have someone with you, reassuring you that it will pass and the symptoms are nothing to worry about,” says Professor Salkovskis.
Breathing Exercise For Panic Attacks
If youre breathing quickly during a panic attack, doing a breathing exercise can ease your other symptoms. Try this:
- breathe in as slowly, deeply and gently as you can, through your nose
- breathe out slowly, deeply and gently through your mouth
- some people find it helpful to count steadily from one to five on each in-breath and each out-breath
- close your eyes and focus on your breathing
You should start to feel better in a few minutes. You may feel tired afterwards.
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Avoid Stressful Activities Before Bed
Amber Weiss, licensed psychotherapist and founder of Transformative Mindset, says, Creating some form of a transition from daytime to sleeping is highly recommended. According to Weiss, you cant expect the mind to go to sleep on demand. Instead, you need to allow time for the brain to transition, just like we transition to go outside or when we get home.
The goal is to reduce the nervous thoughts in your head so your mind is clear, calm, and positive before you head off to sleep. This can entail leaving the office, work, news, and social media exchanges for earlier in the day to create buffer time between work and sleep, setting yourself up for better rest.
How To Deal With Panic Attacks
A panic attack is a feeling of sudden and intense anxiety.
Panic attacks can also have physical symptoms, including shaking, feeling disorientated, nausea, rapid, irregular heartbeats, dry mouth, breathlessness, sweating and dizziness.
The symptoms of a panic attack are not dangerous, but can be very frightening.
They can make you feel as though you are having a heart attack, or that you are going to collapse or even die.
Most panic attacks last somewhere from five minutes to half an hour.
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How To Calm Anxiety: Stay In The Present
My ADHD imagination quickly jumps to the future, imagining the worst possible outcomes. The only way I can remain calm is to snap myself out of thinking about the future and return to the present moment. Mindfulness activities help. I stay grounded by taking a walk, sitting in nature looking at the trees, smelling a pleasant fragrance, or repeating a mantra like Im fine. I have everything I need. I am strong enough to handle this.
Try Dog Appeasing Pheromones
Dog appeasing pheromones are synthetic pheromones similar to the calming pheromones that female dogs give off while nursing puppies.
These pheromones can help reduce anxiety in some dogs and are available in a few different forms. There are collars, sprays, and diffusers, so you can choose the best option for your dog.
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Ways To Calm Anxiety In The Moment
Feeling anxious is a normal part of life. It can play a role in focusing our attention or alerting us to potential threats, however, experiencing it frequently and with no clear cause can painfully disrupt our lives. When your palms sweat, heart races, chest hurts or other signs of anxiety suddenly appear, you may feel powerless to control them. In these tense moments, try using some of the following techniques to help you gain control over your anxiety:
1. Focus. Try mindfulness exercises to help you concentrate on something else and reduce your anxiety, such as:
- Focusing on your senses. Bring your attention to the present by concentrating on what you see, hear, taste, smell, or touch. Try to focus on each sense individually before moving on to the next.
- Visualizing youre somewhere relaxing. Imagine being at the beach, watching the waves crash or in the woods listening to a babbling brook. If youre having trouble, try playing some relaxing sounds or music to help you visualize.
- Using essential oils, scented candles, or other inviting aromas to open the pleasure centers in your brain.
- Taking some deep, calming breaths. Try breathing deeply into your belly instead of your chest. Place your hand on your belly and concentrate on its rise and fall while you breathe in and out.
Tip : Evaluate Your Diet
The idea that diet plays a key role in anxiety is overblown. A person can develop anxiety with or without a healthy diet, and there are no foods that will cure anxiety as though they are like medication.
But there is still benefit to changing your diet. Bodies that are high in nutrients and hydration tend to have better sleep, experience less discomfort, and help a person gain better energy to cope with anxiety.
On the flipside, there are some natural tools you can use to fight anxiety. For example, herbal supplements like kava can be taken as needed, and as long as you use them in combination with non-medicinal treatments, you shouldn’t start depending on them.
Similarly, you may find that your anxiety symptoms dissipate with other natural tools as well. You may benefit from magnesium supplements, for example, because magnesium is depleted during times of stress, and magnesium deficiency can lead to some very upsetting symptoms and difficulty controlling anxiety.
There are plenty of natural and healthy options to try, and you should consider talking to your doctor about them as a way to assist in your stress reduction techniques.
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Describe Your Surroundings In Your Head
If you feel sudden panic strike, try to observe your surroundings and start describing thingsin your headin increasing detail. For example: Theres a chair.It has four legs.The legs are wooden.The cushion is embroidered.The embroidery is blue and white.It has white stitching. Whether its a chair or a book cover or a cute puppy, the idea is that the more you focus on describing something, the less you focus on freaking out. The more of your brain youre using to think of words to describe a golden retriever, the less of your brain youre using to think about any negative thoughts swirling around your head.
Tip : Practice Mindfulness
Worrying is usually focused on the futureon what might happen and what youll do about itor on the past, rehashing the things youve said or done. The centuries-old practice of mindfulness can help you break free of your worries by bringing your attention back to the present. This strategy is based on observing your worries and then letting them go, helping you identify where your thinking is causing problems and getting in touch with your emotions.
Acknowledge and observe your worries. Dont try to ignore, fight, or control them like you usually would. Instead, simply observe them as if from an outsiders perspective, without reacting or judging.
Let your worries go. Notice that when you dont try to control the anxious thoughts that pop up, they soon pass, like clouds moving across the sky. Its only when you engage your worries that you get stuck.
Stay focused on the present. Pay attention to the way your body feels, the rhythm of your breathing, your ever-changing emotions, and the thoughts that drift across your mind. If you find yourself getting stuck on a particular thought, bring your attention back to the present moment.
Basic mindfulness meditation
Click here for a free mindful breathing meditation.
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Why Is It So Hard To Stop Worrying
Constant worrying can take a heavy toll. It can keep you up at night and make you tense and edgy during the day. And even though you hate feeling like a nervous wreck, it can still be so difficult to stop. For most chronic worriers, the anxious thoughts are fueled by the beliefsboth negative and positivethat you hold about worrying:
Negative beliefs about worry. You may believe that your constant worrying is harmful, that its going to drive you crazy or affect your physical health. Or you may worry that youre going to lose all control over your worryingthat it will take over and never stop. While negative beliefs, or worrying about worrying, adds to your anxiety and keeps worry going, positive beliefs about worrying can be just as damaging.
Positive beliefs about worry. You may believe that your worrying helps you avoid bad things, prevents problems, prepares you for the worst, or leads to solutions. Maybe you tell yourself that if you keep worrying about a problem long enough, youll eventually be able to figure it out? Or perhaps youre convinced that worrying is a responsible thing to do or the only way to ensure you dont overlook something? Its tough to break the worry habit if you believe that your worrying serves a positive purpose. Once you realize that worrying is the problem, not the solution, you can regain control of your worried mind.
How To Calm Anxiety: 8 Natural Ways
Occasional anxiety is a normal human experience. Mild anxiety can occur before interviewing for a new job. A higher level of anxiety can occur from barely avoiding a car crash. And an even higher level may come with the loss of a loved one. There are also those people who experience anxiety persistently. However, learning how to calm anxiety is essential for your quality of life. Its also important to know what causes anxiety to determine the best way to alleviate it.
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How To Calm Down Quickly
Something sets you off, and before long, you feel stuck in an endless loop of intrusive thoughts, pondering every possible thing that could go wrong. Your body tenses, your breathing quickens, and you can hear your heartbeat pounding in your ears.
When you feel anxiety kick in like this, its time to calm yourself down. The first step is awareness. Its a good idea to learn to recognize the first signs of anxiety and get to work right away before experiencing an episode.
Managing Anxiety Vs Curing It
There is a considerable difference between managing anxiety and curing anxiety. Managing anxiety does not mean it no longer exists. It means that you have learned skills or utilized medications to bring your symptoms under better control.
Most individuals can learn to manage their anxiety. Curing anxiety insinuates that you will likely never suffer from anxiety again. Anxiety is just like most chronic illnesses there is rarely a cure, but almost always a way to manage it.
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How To Ease Anxiety: 5 Ways To Feel Calmer Right Now
When we’re anxious, our breath becomes rapid and shallow. Deep belly breathing helps decrease anxiety by stimulating the bodyâs relaxation response, lowering our heart rate and blood pressure. Itâs a powerful technique that works because we canât breathe deeply and be anxious at the same time. There are many variations to try, including this simple exercise:
Inhale deeply for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 4. Exhale for a count of 4. Repeat several times.
Exercise is one of the best anxiety remedies, immediately and long term. Going for a walk creates a diversion from worries and releases muscle tension. Grab your headphones or earbuds on the way out:studies show that listening to music brings its own calming effects.
Long term, regular exercise triggers the release of feel-good neurochemicals in the brain, building up resilience against stormy emotions. It boosts confidence and mood, and we donât need to run a marathon to feel the benefits. Washing the car, hiking, gardening, a pick-up game â anything that gets us moving counts. Research shows that 30 minutes, 3 to 5 days a week can help to significantly improve anxiety symptoms, but even 10 minutes can make a difference.
How Does Anxiety Work
Anxious thoughts chase each other like a dog chasing its tail.
Imagine a woman who has a headache, and the very next thought that jumps into her mind is, Oh no, maybe its a brain tumor, says Dr. Albers. That creates anxious energy. She tells her husband about the headache, who says, This is the first headache youve had in years. Its probably just a headache.
That feels good for about 20 seconds because its true. But then she thinks, This is unusual, Ive had this headache for 30 minutes. He wasnt really listening to me. Next thing you know, shes online, checking out symptoms for brain tumors. She doesnt meet any of the criteria until she sees headache on the list and thinks, Thats no good! Now shes back to square one.
This is one small example of how trying to quell anxiety with reassuring thoughts, or to fix anxious thoughts with other thoughts, just doesnt work. Its also exhausting.
Reassuring thoughts are like a short-acting drug they wear off quickly, says Dr. Albers. Then, the irrational thoughts come flooding back in.
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How To Reduce Anxiety In The Long Term
If you find that you’re often suffering from anxiety and nervousness, even when you’re not in a situation that typically cause that level of anxiety, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders cannot be cured overnight but many people do improve. They’re the result of years of experiences, and they take time to heal.
The fastest way to reduce anxiety is to first identify what you’re experiencing, and then use step by step methods to move forward.
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