In my therapy practice many people come to me for help with managing anxiety. I say manage anxiety because some anxiety is normal and can be helpful. But when it gets to the point where your anxiety is negatively affecting your everyday life- then it makes sense to get some help.
These tips that I am about to share with you can be done alone, however, these are not meant to take the place of therapy, but to be used in conjunction with it.
Certainly, once symptoms are managed, these techniques can be helpful in controlling anxiety as needed.
Anxiety and depression are two of the most common symptoms I see in people who come to me. I’d like to share with you some tips that have helped my clients manage anxiety in their life.
8 Tips to Manage Anxiety
Some of my clients learn meditation techniques and have found them helpful. Meditation can calm the mind and thus, lessen panic and anxiety, and it can stimulate the body‘s production of endorphins that can contribute to a positive mood.
Exercise is one of the best ways to control anxiety available. You can go for a walk, play a sport, swim, bike ride, garden, yoga, dance, play tennis. Regular exercise is should be scheduled into your daily regimen.
Diet is so important to managing anxiety and one’s overall health. I recommend some of my clients meet with a nutritionist to evaluate their diet if they are not clear on a diet for managing anxiety. And of course, watch out for food and drink high in caffeine, sugar, preservatives, and other ingredients that can contribute to poor nutrition.
There have been a number of breathing techniques that have been proven useful to help alleviate anxiety. When people are anxious, some have reported breathing more rapidly, and some report they breathe shallowly. In some cases people even hold their breath. Any irregular breathing causes the body to respond with an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones. To breathe more normally, it is recommended to take a few moments to focus on your breathing patterns. Go through a few breathing cycles, and then take a slow, deep breath, breathing from your lower abdomen. Let your stomach feel soft and relaxed, and then repeat this several times. If this works for you, then you can use this technique when you notice that you’re anxious or feeling stressed out
Many people find solace and comfort in daily prayer. Prayer triggers something called the “relaxation response,” which calms the mind and the body. A daily prayer routine can help you put things in perspective and it can be amazing how one can find relevant and timeless prayers, affirmations, or passages from the Bible such as the Psalms and Gospels, that can help put current problems into perspective.
This is something I help my clients do on a regular basis. Sometimes, if we explore our thoughts we can see that they cause us anxiety due to excessive worrying, fears and other internal dialogues. We typically notice the negative labels or distortions, explore these and then change these to be more realistic, constructive, rational and/or positive. We often use cognitive behavioral therapy for this process.
Writing our fear and worries down can often be extremely beneficial because it gets our fears and worries out of our head. Once we see our thoughts written out, we often can gain better clarity to our problems and situations, and often gain fresh answers and perspectives.
It often helps to get some realistic, honest feedback for our anxious thoughts and fears. By spending time with people you can trust, a family member, a friend, a spiritual/religious leader or counselor can help because anxiety often lessens when we can share our fear and concerns, and develop constructive solutions to our problems.
Hopefully, these tips can help get you started in managing your anxiety. If your anxiety is getting in the way of your everyday functioning, talk to your doctor and get a referral, or seek help from a mental heath professional. Learn more about our anxiety treatment.
If you’d like to set up a time to talk with me, or if I can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.