If you suffer from anxiety, you’re not alone. Anxiety affects approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54 and women are twice as likely to have an anxiety disorder as men. When it comes to coping with anxiety, there is no one-size-fits all formula. Everyone is different and the ways you choose to manage it will be unique to you. A good nights sleep is a good way of reducing anxiety and being less effected by it because your brain is more rational. Beside sleep what else can help manage anxiety?
Below are five ways I have found helpful in managing my own anxiety. Try them out and see what works best for you – knowing that what works best for you right now might change, so keep trying new things and don’t give up.
One of the biggest changes I made to my diet was cutting back on sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Consuming these things in excess can wreck your nervous system (and your overall health), making it more difficult to control anxiety. I haven’t cut these things out of my diet completely, but I have scaled them back significantly and try to be mindful of the affects they have on my mind and body. The more I pay attention to how I feel when I consume more or less of them, the easier it is to know when I need to lay off.
I started a home yoga practice about five years ago and it has been a life changing journey for me in many ways, especially in regards to coping with anxiety. Yoga cultivates the relationship between our minds and our bodies; something that tends to get disconnected and lost when I’m anxious or mid-panic attack. The more I practice yoga, the more I am able to connect to my body and stay in tune with my mental and emotional health. This has helped me notice when I start feeling anxious and allows me to manage anxiety before it gets out of control. It’s a great anxiety treatment which you should definitely try if you’re looking for something to help.
Meditation & Breathing Techniques
I was leery of meditation at first, mostly because I didn’t understand it. But I began to practice with a few guided meditations, specifically aimed at managing anxiety. A part of those meditations were breathing techniques designed to calm the nervous system and the mind – two things that can get wildly out of control when anxiety sets in. The more often I practiced the meditations and breathing, the more it became like muscle memory and it started becoming my natural reaction to anxiety.
I don’t know which one I was more unsure of: meditation or essential oils. Turns out, they both work wonders. When I was first introduced to essential oils, it was for my allergies. A friend suggested a few particular oils and it actually worked. So I asked her if she knew of any oils to help with anxiety. I started using a blend of Spruce, Frankincense, Blue Tansy, and Blue Chamomile. Something about this combination is instantly calming and I immediately feel more grounded when I use it. It has sense become a product I use daily as an ongoing effort to cope with anxiety.
The most recent tool I’ve gained is positive affirmations. As I began to understand how strong the mind and body connection is, I also saw how powerful the mind is. Our thoughts truly have the ability to calm and quell anxiety. Alternately, as you know if you suffer from anxiety, our minds have the ability to cause panic and fear, driving our anxiety further from our control. Mentally repeating positive affirmations on a regular basis helps me stay connected to my mind and also helps bring those frenzied thoughts back into a positive space when they start to wander.
These are my five go-to tips on how I cope with and manage anxiety. Yours might look a little different, but I encourage you to give them a try and see how it goes. Of course, you should always consult your doctor or therapist if you are having a hard time coping with your anxiety. There is absolutely no shame or embarrassment in doing so. Be sure to take care of yourself and do what’s right for you.
Feature photo:Ben White / Unsplash