Anxiety and stress can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or social background. In fact, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting an estimated 40 million adults aged 18 and older, or approximately 19.1 percent of the population, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
While being anxious at times is a perfectly normal reaction to life’s stressors, for some people, anxiety can become so severe that it starts to take over their lives and interfere with work, school, and relationships. When this happens, finding healthy coping mechanisms becomes a necessity.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Some common signs that you may have anxiety include:
- Constantly feeling nervous or on edge
- Having an irrational fear or worry that is hard to control
- A crippling sense of impending danger
- Having trouble sleeping or concentrating
- Scaring easily
- Experiencing physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, trembling, and shortness of breath/over-breathing
Tips for Coping With Anxiety
Keep physically active
Exercise is proven to help reduce stress and promote overall physical and mental well-being. Incorporating at least 30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise into your daily routine can significantly improve your mood and lower anxiety levels.
Try relaxation techniques
There are numerous relaxation techniques that can help manage anxiety, including deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, visualization, and meditation. Experiment with different approaches to see what works best for you.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for managing anxiety. When you’re tired, your body and mind are under more stress, which can trigger or worsen anxiety symptoms. Make sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night, or talk to your doctor if you are having trouble sleeping.
Talk to someone you trust
Sometimes just talking to someone about what you’re going through can make a big difference. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a friend, family member, or colleague, consider seeing a therapist or counselor who can provide professional support and guidance.
Join a support group
Support groups can be a great way to meet other people who are going through similar experiences. They provide a safe and welcoming environment where you can openly share your feelings and thoughts without judgment and get the support you need.
Watch what you eat
What you put into your body can have a significant impact on your physical, emotional, and psychological health. Eating a balanced diet and avoiding processed foods, excessive caffeine, and alcohol can help boost your mood and reduce anxiety.
Learn everything you can about anxiety
The more you understand anxiety, the better equipped you’ll be to cope with the symptoms in a healthy manner. There are plenty of resources available, including books, websites, and articles that can provide insightful information about living with anxiety.
Spending time with friends, family, and loved ones can help reduce stress and promote positive emotions. Whether you’re going out for coffee, taking a yoga class together, or just spending time at home, quality time with others can help take your mind off of anxious thoughts.
Anxiety can be triggered by different factors such as work stress, family problems, financial worries, or relationship issues. Identifying your triggers is the first step toward overcoming your fears and learning to deal with your anxiety without feeling overwhelmed.
Find healthy stress outlet(s)
It’s important to find healthy outlets for daily stress. Some people find relief in creative activities such as painting or writing, while others prefer more active pursuits such as running or hiking. Do what works best for you.
Stick to your treatment plan
If you’re seeing a therapist or taking medication for anxiety, it’s essential to stick to your treatment plan. Don’t skip therapy sessions or appointments, and make sure you take your medications as prescribed.
The Bottom Line
There are many different ways to deal with anxiety, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s crucial to experiment with various techniques until you find the ones that work best for you. Remember, you don’t have to do it alone – speaking to a therapist or counselor can be a helpful way to get support and guidance.