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What Can Help Calm Anxiety

Respect Their Feelings But Dont Empower Them

Box breathing relaxation technique: how to calm feelings of stress or anxiety

Its important to understand that validation doesnt always mean agreement. So if a child is terrified about going to the doctor because theyre due for a shot, you dont want to belittle those fears, but you also dont want to amplify them. You want to listen and be empathetic, help them understand what theyre anxious about, and encourage them to feel that they can face their fears. The message you want to send is, I know youre scared, and thats okay, and Im here, and Im going to help you get through this.

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.

When To Seek Immediate Care

Sometimes, anxiety can be overwhelming and it could lead you to experience great distress. This is natural and not uncommon. A therapist can help you find more effective ways to manage these emotions.

If your anxiety is persistent and intrusive, consider seeking the help of a professional. You can also check out our free anxiety quiz to find out whether what youre experiencing might be something more.

If youre feeling anxious, there are things you can do to help yourself calm down quickly. There are also lifestyle changes you can make that can help lower your stress levels and help you cope with potential triggers.

You might also find it helpful to talk to a therapist.

These resources might help:

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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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Reason #: Too Much Focus On The Day

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Nighttime anxiety can be caused by over-focusing on stress before sleep. Knott says that this is because our body can perceive work stress, relationship issues, and social contact as dangerous, and prepare us to fight or flee. Being fixated on your worries during the day and anticipating stressful activities for the next day will make it more difficult for your mind to relax.

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Start A Meditation & Mindfulness Practice

Meditation for anxiety and mindfulness practices aim to bring you into the present moment. By developing ways to ground oneself in the present, anxiety can be kept at bay. Additionally, mindfulness-based stress reduction allows the person to become an observer of their own experience, rather than feeling overwhelmed by it.5 Teachman encourages, Do a mindfulness exercise where you observe and accept your reaction without judging it its OK to feel anxious, thats just a feeling and it will pass. When you decide to tolerate anxiety instead of desperately trying to get rid of it, anxiety loses its power and typically diminishes.

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Check Levels Of Magnesium

Magnesium is an important mineral in the human body. It plays a role in more than 300 enzyme reactions and helps maintain muscle and nerve function, blood pressure, and the immune system.

Its also one of the minerals that many Americans do not get enough of in their diet.

There have also been several studies that have found that magnesium supplements can help reduce anxiety symptoms, including those related to PMS.

Like with vitamin D, you may want to check your current magnesium levels before supplementing.

You can get magnesium naturally by eating:

  • whole wheat

, but your body doesnt make them on its own. Instead, you get all your omega-3 fatty acids through your diet by eating foods such as fish or flaxseed.

Research, including a 2018 meta-analysis and a 2018 review study, found that omega-3 in the form of fish oil supplements could help ease anxiety.

If youre considering taking omega-3 supplements, you may want to mention this to your healthcare team. They can sometimes interfere with certain prescription medications, such as blood thinners. They may not be recommended for people with certain medical conditions.

Express Positive But Realistic Expectations

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You cant promise a child that their fears are unrealisticthat they wont fail a test, that theyll have fun ice skating, or that another child wont laugh at them during show & tell. But you can express confidence that theyre going to be okay, that they will be able to manage it. And you can let them know that as they face those fears, the anxiety level will drop over time. This gives them confidence that your expectations are realistic, and that youre not going to ask them to do something they cant handle.

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Strategies To Reduce Situational Nervousness

If you find yourself nervous in a specific situation, you’ll find it’s a bit harder to calm your nerves quickly. By specific situation, we’re talking about things like:

  • A blind date.
  • A public speaking engagement.
  • A big test in class.

Anything that would invoke some nervousness or fear, but may not be traditionally associated with an anxiety disorder. It can be hard to calm your body fast enough because the anxiety itself can serve a function. It’s telling you that you’re doing something that you find frightening in some way, and your body is reacting to make sure you’re aware of what you’re doing.

But obviously it can be problematic as well, especially because the anxiety can feel uncontrollable and may not be suitable for your situation. You don’t want to be overly nervous on a first date, or nervous public speaking, etc., so fast ways to reduce anxiety are important.

Consider the following:

Nervousness in some situations can also be preventable. For example, if you find you’re often nervous when speaking to a stranger in a bar or club, a solution to control that nervousness in the future is to head to a bar or club and purposely embarrass yourself as much as possible. This type of behavior prepares you for the experience of embarrassment and helps you learn that the consequences are likely not as severe as you expect.

Write Down Your Thoughts

Writing down whats making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.

These relaxation tricks are particularly helpful for those who experience anxiety sporadically. They may also work well with someone who has generalized anxiety disorder when theyre in a bind!

However, if you suspect you have GAD, quick coping methods shouldnt be the only kind of treatment you employ. Youll want to find long-term strategies to help lessen the severity of symptoms and even prevent them from happening.

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The Goal Isnt To Eliminate Anxiety But To Help A Child Manage It

None of us wants to see a child unhappy, but the best way to help kids overcome anxiety isnt to try to remove stressors that trigger it. Its to help them learn to tolerate their anxiety and function as well as they can, even when theyre anxious. And as a byproduct of that, the anxiety will decrease over time.

How Does Anxiety Work

Weve identified 5 ways that can help calm or quiet your anxiety from ...

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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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
  • numbness or tingling in your extremities
  • feeling hot or cold

If you notice that quick tips havent been working, you may want to consider seeing a professional for help. Especially if you believe you have GAD and its interfering with routine activities and causing physical symptoms.

A mental health professional can help with streamlining the process of identifying your triggers, maintaining long-term strategies through behavioral therapy, medications, and more.

Anxiety may always be a part of your life, but it shouldnt overtake your day-to-day. Even the most extreme anxiety disorders can be treated so that the symptoms arent overwhelming.

Once you find what treatment works best for you, life should be a lot more enjoyable and a lot less daunting.

How To Prevent A Severe Anxiety Attack

Not all anxiety is just general nervousness. Some people experience severe anxiety attacks. Also known as panic attacks, these are bouts of what can feel like uncontrollable, severe anxiety that are usually followed by other physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, chest pain, lightheadedness, and more.

Anxiety attacks often peak after about 10 minutes and then there is a slow but clear decline in the anxiety symptoms, usually followed by a feeling of being drained or stressed. Many people wonder how to stop panic attacks from getting out of control. It’s difficult to stop the attack itself, but there are some fast ways to prevent the attack from being as severe. These include:

These won’t stop the panic attack altogether – for that you need panic attack treatments – but they will reduce the severity of the panic attack, and an anxiety attack that is less severe is generally easier to cope with.

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Achieving Better Mental Health Through Diet

Be sure to talk to your doctor if your anxiety symptoms are severe or last more than two weeks. But even if your doctor recommends medication or therapy for anxiety, it is still worth asking whether you might also have some success by adjusting your diet. While nutritional psychiatry is not a substitute for other treatments, the relationship between food, mood, and anxiety is garnering more and more attention. There is a growing body of evidence, and more research is needed to fully understand the role of nutritional psychiatry, or as I prefer to call it, Psycho-Nutrition.

About the Author

Uma Naidoo, MD, Contributor

Learn To Recognize The Signs Of Anxiety

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Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health condition in the United States, affecting up to 18% of the population. Knowing the signs of anxiety can help you realize when someone you love is having fearful thoughts or feelings. Symptoms vary from person to person but can be broken into three categories:

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Other Foods For Anxiety And Stress

Healthy eating is one of the best ways to control anxiety and stress. In fact, one of the best things you can add to your diet is more water. Many studies have found that dehydration affects as many as 25% of those with persistent stress or more, and dehydration is known to cause more anxiety.

As for foods, anything with magnesium, vitamin B12 , zinc, and antioxidants can be beneficial for helping you deal with stress. There are also herbal supplements like kava and passionflower that may be valuable for anxiety.

Encourage The Child To Tolerate Their Anxiety

Let your child know that you appreciate the work it takes to tolerate anxiety in order to do what they want or need to do. Its really encouraging them to engage in life and to let the anxiety take its natural curve. We call it the habituation curve. That means that it will drop over time as he continues to have contact with the stressor. It might not drop to zero, it might not drop as quickly as you would like, but thats how we get over our fears.

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Crucial Foods To Avoid

There are foods that help anxiety, but just as important is making sure that you’re not eating foods that contribute to anxiety. Examples of these types of foods include fried foods, high glycemic carbs, refined sugars, and alcoholic beverages.

Other foods depend on how much you understand you own anxiety. If you have panic attacks, you may want to avoid coffee, because coffee can increase your heart rate and trigger an attack. But if you have more general anxiety, coffee may actually be beneficial. Many find that caffeine , can actually reduce stress and improve mood.

Otcs To Supplement Other Anxiety Treatments

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Other types of treatments for anxiety might include talk therapy and prescription medications .

You can theoretically use over-the-counter medications for anxiety while receiving other treatments. But first, ask yourself why. Some common reasons to continue to use over-the-counter remedies alongside other treatments include:

  • You are in therapy and need some additional relief from your acute symptoms but you are wary of taking a prescription medication.
  • You are taking a prescription medication, but are waiting for it to take effect and need short-term relief.
  • You are already using an alternative treatment and want to add over-the-counter medication to your treatment plan.

In all these cases, it’s likely that you will be better off consulting with your doctor. They can help you determine the best course of treatment for you. If you are only receiving talk therapy and want a short-term solution for mild anxiety that bothers you mostly at night, then an over-the-counter solution might be helpful, though it’s best to consult a physician first.

Never combine an over-the-counter medication with prescription medication for anxiety without the advice of your doctor, as there is the possibility of medication interaction and negative side effects.

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Can Alcohol Cause Anxiety

The long-term consequences of alcohol abuse can be a variety of health problems, including mental health disorders.

Research shows that people with alcoholism find it difficult to recover from traumatic events. This is possibly because of the effects of alcohol abuse, which can actually change brain activity.

Long-term heavy drinkers may be predisposed to developing an anxiety disorder. However, there is no evidence that moderate drinking will cause anxiety.

Increased anxiety is also a symptom of alcohol withdrawal. If youve consumed alcohol in large amounts for a long period of time and suddenly stop drinking, your anxiety can be aggravated by the side effects of alcohol withdrawal. Other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • trembling hands

moderate typically refers to two drinks a day for adult men and one for women. Older adults metabolize alcohol faster, so if youre in this age group, limit yourself to one alcoholic beverage per day. Ask your doctor if moderate alcohol consumption is suitable for you.

The benefits of alcohol consumption can sometimes be outweighed by the risks, which include:

  • depression
  • liver disease
  • cardiovascular damage

Alcohol affects everyone differently. It can cheer you up after a rough day or make you feel more sedated. Discuss these concerns with your doctor first to see if alcohol is safe for you.

Keep in mind that you may not safely drink alcohol if you have:

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