If Anxiety Is Causing Sleep Difficulties Consider Switching Locations
Weve probably all been there lying in bed, tossing and turning, with anxiety standing in the way of a good nights sleep.
If this is happening to you, consider leaving anxiety where it found you by getting up and switching your sleep location to another bed or the couch.
The simple act of changing sleep locations may be all you need to disrupt the worry loop going on in your head.
Quick fixes for anxiety are helpful during anxious moments. However, for long-term management of symptoms, you may want to consider these strategies.
Work With Anxiety Not Against It
Steven Hayes, professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Nevada in Reno, a prominent figure in the field of mental health and, more importantly, a man who is no stranger to panic attacks himself advocates for a more self-compassionate and self-accepting way of dealing with anxiety.
In fact, Prof. Hayes is the founder of one of the newest and most innovative forms of cognitive behavioral therapy, called acceptance commitment therapy . This form of therapy starts with the acceptance and neutral, non-judgemental observation of negative thoughts, and moves toward bringing the client into the present moment and helping them lead a meaningful life.
In this video, he explains why seeing anxiety as your enemy is not helpful. If you see your feelings of anxiety as your enemy, he says, then you see your personal history as your enemy if your physical sensations are your enemy, then your body is your enemy and fighting your anxiety means fighting yourself.
This self-denial and self-avoidance are what ultimately leads to psychopathologies, Prof. Hayes notes. Instead, he suggests, try to hold your fear in a self-compassionate way. Bring that frightened part of you close and treat it with some dignity.
Its perhaps worth mentioning that ACT has proven effective in the treatment of anxiety in a wide range of
Do Listen To How They Want To Be Supported
When you ask the person how you can support them, listen carefully to their preferences. After all, you want to know how to help people with anxiety and support them. They may want help breaking down a task they are anxious about, they may want you to distract them from their anxious thoughts or they may just want someone to talk to.
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Instead Say: Im Always Here For You
You dont have to understand what your friend is going through to be there for them. Showing you care will help if your friend is self-conscious about their anxiety or has a hard time opening up about it. Listen without judgment to what they have to say and what their experiences are like. Being there for someone even when you cant relate is a powerful way of showing support.
Natural Remedies For Anxiety And Stress
Natural remedies are generally safe to use alongside more conventional medical therapies.
However, alterations to the diet and some natural supplements can change the way antianxiety medications work, so it is essential to consult a doctor before trying these solutions. The doctor may also be able to recommend other natural remedies.
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Try Some Aerobic Activity
During periods of anxiety, your body is filled with adrenaline. Putting that adrenaline toward aerobic activity can be a great way to improve your anxiety. Exercise has numerous advantages for controlling your anxiety symptoms:
- Exercise burns away stress hormones that create anxiety symptoms.
- Exercise tires your muscles, reducing excess energy and tension.
- Exercise releases endorphins in your brain which can improve overall mood.
- Exercise is linked to healthier breathing.
- Exercise is a healthy distraction.
Aerobic activity, like light jogging or even fast walking, can be extremely effective at reducing the severity of your anxiety symptoms, as well as the anxiety itself.
How To Manage Your Anxiety
We all feel anxiety at times. It becomes problematic when it feels unmanageable, which means different things for different people.
- The key to managing anxiety is learning to identify it, understand it, and respond to it with self-compassion.
- Mindfulness techniques like breath work, meditation, and yoga can reduce anxiety and improve cognition.
- Routines help reduce general feelings of anxiety and are often effective antidotes for those with more serious mental health disorders.
- If your anxiety is holding you back, simply imagining success, and encouraging yourself as you would a friend, has also been correlated with motivation and the achievement of goals.
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When I was nine, I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder by my first-ever therapist. My parents dragged me into treatment after repeatedly catching me cleaning their bathroom. I didnt mind, but I was confused. I didnt see anything wrong with what I was doing: organizing their medicine cabinet by color and size, throwing out expired antibiotics and sticky bottles of cough syrup. My favorite part was wiping down the sink with warm water, feeling my worries wash away with stubble and soap scum. Cleaning gave me the sense that I could find inner order among the outer chaos our cramped New York apartment, murmurs of my parents struggling marriage, the growing pains of adolescence.
Its all a practice.
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What Makes Anxiety Worse
Avoid soothing your anxiety with things that can lead to more anxiety, advises Dr. Albers.
For example, stress eating is like putting a Band-aid® on a gaping wound, she says. You want to deal with your anxiety directly.
Dredging up bad experiences from the past or imagining scary scenarios in the future will just heighten your anxiety. When this happens, realize what youre doing.
Remind yourself that bad things happen relatively sparingly and that our brains are well-equipped to handle a crisis, if one occurs, says Dr. Bea. Be engaged in your real life, not in imagined moments.
The best way to begin is to work on developing a new relationship with your thoughts.
Thoughts are like breezes. Theyre not good or bad, they just come and go, he says. You dont have to react to them Oh, wow, works better than Oh, no. Being grounded in the present moment, without judgment, is the place to be.
Dont Say: I Know What You Mean I Had A Panic Attack When I Saw Seattle Rent Prices
Panicking about the absurd cost of that tiny studio apartment makes sense because you need a roof over your head and cant magically increase your salary. Panicking about taking a bus because youre afraid of having a panic attack on said bus doesnt. Theres a difference between the uncomfortable but rational anxiety we all get in stressful situations and the sometimes paralyzing but illogical anxiety super anxious people like me get in situations that arent actually stressful or threatening. People with anxiety disorders experience anxiety over things others wouldnt and with such intensity that it interferes with our ability to function and do things we enjoy. So unless you have a diagnosable anxiety disorder, comparing your anxiety to someone elses isnt helpful.
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Dont Enable Their Anxieties
When someone has anxiety, they may try to avoid certain places or scenarios. As a result, you may have started to modify your behaviour as well. For example, you may have started to avoid certain places or scenarios too, or may have started taking on tasks to help the person continue with their avoidance.
We understand that this may seem helpful as you are stopping the person from worrying in the short term, but this avoidance can actually have a negative impact on them in the long run. Their continued avoidance can perpetuate their worries and prevent them from recognising that they could actually manage in the scenarios that they are evading.
Ways To Help Lower Anxiety Naturally
Overcoming a challenge takes strength and courage, so its a good idea to show up nourished and well-rested. Heres how to help lower anxiety naturally.
Taking care of yourself is key. Research shows that after a good nights sleep 7-9 hours is ideal youre likely to feel less anxious and more confident. Physical activity during the day will help you sleep better, but you know that! Eating real, unprocessed food lean protein, whole grains, legumes, fruit, nuts, veggies, the occasional piece of dark chocolate! will keep your energy level on an even keel. Fast food and processed snacks cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar that can leave you jittery. Here are 6 natural cures for anxiety worth considering.
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Public Events Or Performances
Public speaking, talking in front of your boss, performing in a competition, or even just reading aloud is a common trigger of anxiety. If your job or hobbies require this, your doctor or therapist can work with you to learn ways to be more comfortable in these settings.
Also, positive reinforcements from friends and colleagues can help you feel more comfortable and confident.
Other Risk Factors For Developing Anxiety
In addition to these primary causes of an anxiety disorder, there are other risk factors that can contribute. These include:
- Severe stressors: These include financial ruin due to job loss or losing a loved one on whom you heavily depended.
- Certain personality types: These include Type A personalities and perfectionists.
- Gender: Women are twice as likely to have generalized anxiety disorder as men.
- Underlying medical conditions: These include chronic pain, respiratory conditions, gastrointestinal disorders and heart disease.
- Everyday stressors: These include more minor stressors like a hectic schedule or dealing with an unruly child. Such factors can build up without proper self-care.
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Set Small Achievable Goals
Anxiety sufferers tend to set unrealistically high expectations for themselves. To counteract this tendency, set goals that you can easily accomplish. This builds your confidence and your sense of accomplishment.
When you are learning skills to handle stress and reduce your anxiety, small steps work best. For example, if your goal is to integrate deep breathing into your life, start by practicing for one-minute intervals three or four times a day instead of for an hour all at once.
Setting small, achievable goals will help will take you farther than you can imagine over time. It will help you reach your final destination: a happier, low-anxiety life.
The Connection Between Food And Mental Health
Since we dont have all the answers, biologically, behind anxiety and depression, theres no clear reason why changing your diet can change your mood, Knüppel says.
But we do know a few things: Vitamins in the body help the function of enzymes that enable reactions such as the synthesis of serotonin, which plays an essential role in our happiness, she explains.
Meanwhile, too much sugar has been to decrease a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor , which is involved in the development of depression and anxiety.
Theres also emerging research that suggests that our gut plays an important role in mental health.
The microorganisms in our gut can communicate with the brain and several systems that could play a role in depression and anxiety, and the composition of the gut microbiota is influenced by nutrition, Knüppel adds.
Michael Thase, MD, psychiatrist and director of the Mood and Anxiety Program at the University of Pennsylvania, says there are a few other factors at play here.
When you treat depression with medication, the actual magical chemical ingredients matter maybe 15 percent. Its really the process of working with a doctor and finding the motivation to recognize the problem and take steps toward fixing it that counts for most of the good, Thase says.
You can get that much of the good in a non-medication intervention that includes diet, exercise, and talking to someone, he believes.
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Talk To Someone Friendly
Another very effective technique is to talk to someone you like and trust, especially on the phone. Don’t be shy about your anxiety – tell them you feel anxious and explain what you’re feeling.
Talking to nice, empathetic people keeps your mind off of your symptoms, and the supportive nature of friends and family gives you an added boost of confidence. If you’re suffering from a panic attack, it also helps you feel more confident that if something were wrong, you’d have someone that can watch over you.
Help Someone Who Is Anxious To Temper Their Thinking
Youll be a more useful support person if you educate yourself about cognitive-behavioral models of anxiety, which you can do by reading or attending a therapy session with your loved one. But, in lieu of that, you might try using some techniques that can be helpful to people suffering from anxiety.
Typically, anxious people have a natural bias towards thinking about worst-case scenarios. To help them get some perspective on this, you can use a cognitive therapy technique where you ask them to consider three questions:
- Whats the worst that could happen?
- Whats the best that could happen?
- Whats most realistic or likely?
So, if your loved one is anxious that they were supposed to hear from their parents hours ago but havent, you can suggest they consider the worst, best, and most likely explanations for the lack of contact.
Take care not to overly reassure your loved one that their fears wont come to pass. Its more useful to emphasize their coping ability. For example, if theyre worried about having a panic attack on a plane, you could say, That would be extremely unpleasant and scary, but youd deal with it. And, if your loved one is feeling anxious that someone else is angry with them or disappointed in them, its often useful to remind them that you can only ever choose your own actions and not completely control other peoples responses.
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Create An Exposure Hierarchy
Identify and rate how each social situation makes you feel in terms of anxiousness. For example, 0 would mean no anxiety and 10 would be a full-blown panic attack. Make a list and write down how you think you would feel for every situation, no matter how small or big. From walking into a room at a gathering to asking a stranger on the tube for the time. Its important to write down on a piece of paper your predictions so that when the times comes to experience it, you know how you thought you would feel.
The majority of the time the thought of doing something is scarier than actually doing it and we usually cope a bit better. Test your predictions and keep a record of social situations, your predictions and then how you actually felt. You might find that talking to your co-worker was actually a 4 instead of a 9. All this helps towards tracking and trying to ease social anxiety.