7 Ways to Manage Anxiety
Anxiety is something most people experience once in a while. According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, over 18 percent of the population in this country have a diagnosable anxiety disorder. But only 37 percent ever get the treatment they need.
If you feel anxious, even occasionally, there are strategies that can help you manage your anxiety and feel calm again. Consider these seven anxiety management strategies that might help you.
1. Focus on the Present
Sometimes anxiety relates directly to something that happened in the past or may happen in the future. It’s essential to recognize that you don’t have control over the past or future – only the present. When you focus on what you can control, your mind and body will calm down and give you time to figure out whatever problem is making you anxious.
2. Learn to Recognize Negative Thinking
Negative thinking often happens subconsciously, so not everyone connects the dots when they suddenly feel anxious. These thought patterns tend to distort what is going on in your life, so it’s essential to see them for what they are – unhelpful. Anxiety might cause you to exaggerate the threat in a scenario while underestimating your capacity to deal with it. When you learn to pinpoint negative thought patterns, you can deconstruct and label them accurately. Rather than leaping to the worst-case scenario, try to consider other interpretations of a circumstance causing you anxiety.
3. Give Yourself Permission to Worry For a Short Time
It is not always possible to control anxiety. It does exist for a reason. If you find you cannot shut it off, then go with it – but on a timer. Give yourself a short window of time to worry (ideally 10 to 15 minutes) and then allow the worry to pass.
There are many positive things to say about regular exercise. For instance, it releases endorphins that help you feel better. Working out when you feel anxious will take your mind off whatever is going on in your life and forces you to focus on the task at hand. Once those endorphins kick in, you may find the situation is not as threatening as you first thought.
5. Pinpoint Your Triggers
People who suffer from anxiety usually have triggers. In other words, there is something that makes you feel that way. It might be socializing or being in a crowd. You must pinpoint those triggers so that you can deal with them individually. Bring your attention to situations where you begin to feel those telltale signs of anxiety, such as increased heart rate or clenching. Over time, you will see a pattern form that will allow you to identify anxiety triggers. The goal isn’t to ignore or always avoid your triggers, but to find healthy ways to manage them.
6. Breathe It Away
Deep breathing exercises are naturally calming. They also shift your attention away from what is going on in the current moment. The key is to focus on your breathing. Inhale until it feels like your belly button is touching your spine, then hold your breath for a count of five. Once you reach the count of five, slowly exhale through your mouth. Do this five or six times, and then rethink the problem. As your body calms, the solution may be more transparent.
7. Consider Medical Treatment
Occasional anxiety is normal, but if you find yourself feeling anxious on a regular basis in ways that interfere with your work or personal life, it may be time to seek help from a behavioral health professional. People suffering from anxiety usually experience intense, excessive, and persistent fear. These people need to consider seeing a professional to deal with these issues. It’s important to see a doctor if:
- Excessive worry interferes with your career, relationships, or other aspects of your life.
- You are unable to manage your dread, worry, or anxiety.
- You are depressed, have a problem with alcohol or drugs, or have other mental health issues in addition to anxiety.
- You believe your anxiety is related to a physical health issue.
- You have suicidal thoughts,
Learn more about treatment options for Depression here (Depression page link) or book an appointment today to start your journey toward a more worry-free you.