10 Ways to Beat Anxiety

According to the Mayo Clinic, as many as 3 million people will suffer from anxiety each year. Anxiety can be diagnosed in early childhood and throughout adulthood. Anxiety can sometimes be triggered by work, financial situations, illness, or relationship stress, at other times no specific trigger can be identified. Not everyone will experience the same level of anxiety symptoms which include intense, persistent, and excessive worry and fear. In addition, physical symptoms are common and can include rapid heart rate, sweating, rapid breathing. At one time or another we all experience small levels of anxiety. However, for many, it can interfere with daily life. Sleep is often disrupted by excessive worry and racing thoughts. Many people with anxiety can identify that their thoughts can be irrational however, they are unable to stop the thoughts.

Jennifer Shannon, LMFT refers to anxiety as “the monkey mindset.” She states that people who suffer from anxiety have three common assumptions:

Intolerance of uncertainty: Seeking ways to control uncertainty by trying to control every outcome. This often leads people to be in constant need to find ways to prepare for every possible outcome.

Perfectionism: Everything needs to be perfect or else.

Over-responsibility: In order to people please due to fear of losing connection while neglecting themselves.

We may not like uncertainty but we will have to learn to accept it if we want to avoid needless suffering. Uncertainty is inevitable so learning to accept it can help to reduce the distress it can cause. Acceptance allows you to acknowledge your feelings, take a moment to stop and take a step back to respond rather than react; wait, and remind yourself things are as they are and let go.

Let’s call perfectionism for what it is: a lie that we tell ourselves which leads to criticism and bullying ourselves. This allows us to avoid being truly accepting of ourselves and embracing our imperfections. The fear of not being loved and accepted will lead to over-over-responsibility and people pleasing. Let’s face it this leads to feelings of resentment because we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of. Believe it or not people will respect you more if you set boundaries and you will feel more satisfied with your relationships.

In addition, anxiety can also co-exist or lead to depression. It makes sense that anxiety and the thoughts and fears that go along with it may increase depression due to the feelings of hopelessness anxiety may cause.

Some of the ways to beat anxiety can also be effective for depression so the following tips may help to elevate both.

Anxiety does not have to continue to cause you any more discomfort as there are many treatment options and ways to help manage its’ symptoms. Below are three ways to begin to manage your anxiety.

  1. Take a mindful minute: Take a few moments to such focus on your breath. As you focus on your breath your mind may wander and that is normal just simple and kindly redirect your attention to your breath.
  2. Take a brisk walk: Exercise can help to alleviate anxiety due to decreasing cortical levels and increasing endorphins which are mood enhancing and energizing. Exercise can also help you to sleep better.
  3. Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy has shown to help decrease anxiety and improve sleep. Some coming oils include Lavender, orange blossom, and frankincense.
  4. Journal: Write it down. Writing has many therapeutic effects and is a good way to relieve stress by helping you to work through the thoughts and replace them with more rational thoughts.
  5. Eat a healthy and balanced diet: Avoid caffeine, sugar, and processed foods. Caffeine can increase panic attacks and heart palpitations in people who have anxiety. In addition, it can disrupt sleep which can cause you to be more vulnerable to fluctuations in your mood. Try putting a few healthy snacks in your bag to have through the day to avoid grabbing unhealthy snacks on the run.
  6. Develop a sleep routine: Take some time to wind down at the end of the day. Make sure you give yourself at least 45 minutes to unplug. Take an extra few minutes in the shower/bath, sip some tea, or read a good book.
  7. Listen to music: Take some time to listen to your favorite song or album just for a few minutes of enjoyment can shift your focus away from stressful situations to something more pleasurable.
  8. Laughter: Having fun and enjoying your life. It much harder to be anxious when you are enjoying your life.
  9. Acceptance: Being able to accept uncertainty may not eliminate sadness, disappointment or stress completely but it will significantly reduce the suffering it may cause. Whenever you feel yourself not accepting a situation acknowledge it, validate your feelings and allow those thoughts to pass. You may want to use a statement of acceptance such as, “I can accept it even if I don’t like it.”
  10. Talk to your friends and family: Let your friends and family know what you need and seek professional help when needed.

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