Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling that is marked by inner turmoil and a sense that something may go wrong. While unpleasant, a certain amount of concern is reasonable and can be helpful. It may be a warning sign of danger and can ensure that we are prepared.
In today’s high-paced world of 24-7 news coverage, some stressful feelings are also unavoidable.
However, constant unease or severe anxiety attacks make it hard to function. Sufferers often feel a variety of symptoms that include feelings of dread, a rapid heart rate, weakness, and an inability to focus.
Ways to Cope With Anxiety
Uncontrollable indicators may require professional treatment, but fortunately, there are several ways that most people can control negative feelings and prevent them from interfering with daily life.
- Take Soothing Supplements for Quick Relief
Anxiety may produce a free-floating feeling of discomfort or lead to a full-blown panic attack. Either result could make it hard to get through the day and focus on what is essential. Agitation often causes the mind to race.
When these symptoms appear, it is vital to calm down as quickly as possible. That does not provide a long-term cure but makes it easier to function. Fortunately, there are a variety of soothing dietary supplements that will provide relief.
They include lemon balm, CBD tinctures from Veritas Farms, green tea, valerian root, and dark chocolate eaten in moderation.
- Learn What Triggers Anxiety
The causes of anxiety can range from deeply-rooted early-childhood issues to everyday pressures. However, all stressors are triggered by internal dialogue or exterior events.
In many cases, being aware of these triggers, and learning to avoid or deal with them can minimize anxious feelings. Issues that stir up disturbing emotions can include social events, stress, conflict, public performances, or money worries.
Mayo Clinic specialists report that anxiety can also be linked to medical problems typical of patients suffering from heart disease, chronic pain, thyroid problems, and drug or alcohol withdrawal.
- Lead a Healthy Lifestyle
Some lifestyle choices can induce anxiety or make it worse. Smoking, drinking alcohol, poor diet, and a sedentary life all have negative impacts on emotions. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to fix the problems.
Per Psychology Today experts, a nutrient-rich diet, coupled with vigorous exercise, help provide a sense of well-being that combats emotional distress and creates calm. It is a good idea to avoid processed foods and sugar.
Regular sound sleep is also essential for psychological health. Everyone needs to sleep at least 6 hours a night to feel their best.
Sometimes there are simple, avoidable habits that cause unnecessary stress. For example, taking certain over-the-counter and prescribed medicines may trigger anxiety. Cough or cold medicines, birth control pills, and weight loss products could all create a feeling of anxiousness.
Doctors can usually provide alternatives without side effects. Skipping meals is another thing that can lead to anxiety because it often leads to a drop in blood sugar levels. In addition to a rumbling stomach and jittery hands, it may cause some people to feel uneasy and agitated.
- Lower Caffeine Consumption
Caffeine can interfere with sleep and create a feeling of being keyed up continuously. Drinking coffee puts an addictive chemical in the body and it is one of the worst substances for those who are nervous or emotionally unsteady.
Some studies show that caffeine can make anxiety disorders worse and may even cause some. It could also be a trigger for some people.
- Activate the Body’s Relaxation Response
Harvard researcher Dr. Herbert Benson was the first professional to identify the body’s built-in “relaxation response.” Studies show that anyone can induce this response and instantly minimize the signs of stress and anxiety. Once activated, the response decreases muscle tension, lowers blood pressure, slows the heart rate, and reduces stress hormones.
There are various ways to generate the response, and they are all simple. Listening to calming music or soothing sounds through headphones works for many people. Reciting reassuring passages such as Bible verses, mantras, or positive thoughts are also effective.
- Practice Shifting Focus Away from Negative Thoughts
Since the mind controls many of the body’s responses, altering negative thoughts is an excellent way to reduce stress.
Many people suffering from anxiety disorders are in the habit of obsessing over their issues, playing frightening scenarios over and over in their minds.
This phenomenon is called negative self-talk and can be destructive. The words every person says to themselves generate positive or negative feelings, and steering the mind toward positive, constructive thinking reduces the symptoms of stress.
Mayo Clinic specialists suggest patients use the following re-focusing method:
Patients are asked to sit quietly and notice:
- Five things they can see, such as the sky or a nearby plant
- Four things they can feel, like the grass, a friend’s hand, or a toy
- Three things they can hear, like laughter, their breath, or wind blowing in the trees
- Two things they can smell, such as flowers, perfume, or fresh coffee
- One thing they can taste, like chewing gum, chocolate, or the air after it rains
- Designate a Time to Think About Problems
Learning to control the mind in order to reduce anxiety does not mean thinking happy thoughts all the time. That is neither realistic nor possible, mainly when fear is caused by problems like poor health, financial issues, or relationships.
Rather than avoiding complications, psychologists recommend that patients undergoing severe stress choose a time to consider their situations. When they are tempted to begin obsessing throughout the day, they remind themselves to think about issues at the appointed time. That saves their bodies from the damage that can result from prolonged stress.
- Lower Stress With Breathing Techniques
Breathing has a significant impact on overall health and emotional well-being. Full, deep breaths give the body the oxygen needed to function well.
However, those who always worry and have minds full of tension are usually shallow breathers. Their lack of oxygen makes stress symptoms worse. Shallow breathing can also contribute to uncomfortable muscle tension.
Fortunately, simple exercises can correct the problem.
Experts recommend the “four-six-eight” technique, which may be used regularly throughout the day or night. It involves breathing through the nose for four counts, holding the breath in the lungs for six counts, and then breathing out via the mouth for eight counts. As a person breathes out, tension is released, and the body relaxes.
Just one round of this technique is helpful. It is quick, easy, and can be used any time stress begins to mount.
Because meditation uses breathing and relaxation techniques, it offers benefits to those with anxiety disorders.
Meditation is easy to learn and, with routine practice, can do the following:
- Increase the body’s well-being neurotransmitters
- Release emotional turbulence
- Improve attention and focus
- Promote restful sleep
- Change the human brain’s stress patterns
- Write Out Fears and Worries
Studies show that expressive writing can help to reduce stress and anxiety. It is the practice of writing about troubling emotions affecting a person’s life or a particular situation.
Experts recommend setting aside a specific time every day and then jotting down any feelings about what is going on in life. Professionals recommend that patients recuperating from traumatic events wait a month or two before attempting to write about their emotions.
Writing can help with mild to moderate anxiety and depression and has been shown to assist some patients suffering from chronic pain.
Research shows that the method can be especially useful just before bedtime. Many insomniacs find that jotting down thoughts stops negative ideas from running through their minds at night and preventing sleep.
Some people use the technique to reduce stress caused by work or anxiety-producing activities.
- Get Professional Help If Needed
Many chronically anxious people need expert help. Professionals can identify anxiety caused by underlying medical conditions that are not obvious to patients. Some patients need help because they suffer from a genetic predisposition to depression and anxiety.
Many people have disorders that require intensive psychological treatment or medications.
Anyone who is suicidal should get professional help immediately.
Examples of common issues that require a specialist’s care include:
- Panic disorders: Show up as sudden episodes of extreme anxiety and fear
- Selective mutism: The failure of children to speak in specific situations
- Separation anxiety disorder: Children demonstrate extreme anxiety for their developmental stage and generally related to separation from parental figures
- Social anxiety disorder: Excessive fear and avoidance of social situations, combined with feelings of embarrassment, being judged, and self-consciousness
- Agoraphobia: A condition in which someone avoids situations and places that create a feeling of panic and being trapped
Millions of people suffer a variety of conditions caused by anxiety. Some issues are the result of everyday living, while other problems are related to deeply rooted psychological problems or medical conditions.
Most people can minimize stress and anxiety by living a healthy lifestyle, using relaxation techniques, and avoiding known triggers. Taking supplements, getting plenty of sleep, and choosing a nutritious diet can also help.
Those with severe, ongoing issues that interfere with everyday functioning or are life-threatening should always seek professional help.
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