When you’re about to take an important test or start the first day at a new job, you’ll likely feel those nervous butterflies in your stomach. Unfortunately, over 40 million American adults have that feeling all the time, making anxiety the most common mental illness in the United States. If you’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you know that it can be challenging to lead a normal life. If you want to take back the reigns in the new year, here are 10 ways to do just that.
1. Accept It
This may seem silly, but it’s essential. If you’re in denial about your anxiety, you won’t make the necessary choices to manage it. Mental illnesses are very much stigmatized, so it can seem difficult to do this. Remember that whatever disorder you have doesn’t define you. Anxiety isn’t a flaw and the decisions you’ve made haven’t caused it. It can be helpful to think, “I have anxiety,” rather than, “I am anxious.” Adopting this frame of mind will help you realize that your mental illness is simply an obstacle you can overcome.
2. Speak with a Professional
It can be daunting, but spending time with a licensed therapist or psychiatrist is one of the best ways to conquer your disorder. These professionals exist to help you navigate any negative thoughts and feelings. They can also offer suggestions on proven ways to control your anxiety. Most doctors are now reachable over the phone and through text, so if you need to speak to them outside of a session, that’s possible. If your anxiety is influencing how you live life, look into therapy before doing anything else.
3. Work on Your Bad Habits
By cutting out certain routines, you can calm your nerves:
- Caffeinated beverages are proven to induce anxious feelings.
- Substance abuse negatively affects your brain’s neurotransmitters.
- Lack of sleep is a common issue in those with anxiety – but it can also make things worse.
- A poor diet tends to impact anxiety as well.
- Social media usage can lead to stress.
In general, you want to treat your body with respect. When you have anxiety, though, you have to do so tenfold. Start by reducing your coffee intake to one cup a day. Force yourself to set an alarm to go to bed at a specific time. If you find that certain habits are challenging to break, talk to your doctor so they can offer their insight.
4. Learn How to Control Attacks
Anxiety and panic attacks cause us to feel dizzy, tired, fearful and stressed. When you encounter an attack, you should know how to calm yourself down. Acknowledge what’s going on, try to maintain your breathing and turn your focus to identifying physical objects in the room. This will help to pull you out of your state. If you frequently endure these attacks, talk to a professional.
5. Start a Journal
Many of us require an outlet every once in a while as a way to relieve stress. Writing can serve as an intimate and therapeutic process to help you manage your anxiety. Grab a journal and pour your thoughts out onto the page. Imagine a peaceful scenario and describe it in detail. You could even use this opportunity to draw a few sketches. A journal will release you from your negative feelings and allow you to escape, even for just a moment.
6. Drink More Water
If you’re dehydrated, your blood pressure may drop, which leads to dizziness and an increased heart rate. This can feel like a panic attack. To prevent this, be sure you’re drinking around eight glasses of water a day. Avoid coffee, tea, and alcohol, which can make you more dehydrated.
7. Spritz a Soothing Fragrance
Lavender is a scent that can keep anxious feelings at bay by influencing your body’s neurological system. Before you fall asleep, spray lavender near your bed and pillow. The fragrance will calm your nerves and put you to sleep faster. You could also buy a perfume with lavender as an ingredient so you can wear it all day long.
8. Take Some “Me Time”
Between work, school, children and a dozen other responsibilities, it’s hard to figure out when to relax. The hustle and bustle of life can get in the way of the personal moments that are vital to our wellbeing. Block out some time in your busy schedule to watch a movie, read a book or take a soothing bath. Don’t push yourself to do something big, like book a full spa treatment or beach vacation, if you think it’ll make you even more anxious. Start small and see what helps.
9. Head to the Gym
We all know that working out has great health benefits. A quick 10-minute walk can do wonders for relieving anxiety. Exercise produces endorphins, which perk up your mood. Try hitting the treadmill or going for a quick jog – how you feel afterward will surprise you!
10. Try a Breathing Exercise
Performing specific breathing exercises allow you to calm down and relieve stress. If you’re feeling a wave of anxiety, sit in a quiet room and try to breathe in and out slowly and deeply. Doing so will assist in slowing your heart rate.
Face Anxiety Head-On
Don’t let anxiety take control of your life. Consult a professional and consider these suggestions to help you say goodbye to anxiety once and for all.