An estimated 31.1% of American adults experience some kind of anxiety disorder. Not understanding how to deal with those emotions can cause people to spiral downward. Not only are anxious thoughts challenging to begin with, but they can be even worse on your own. It can be easy to fall into bad habits to help deal with these feelings, such as smoking, drinking, or other unhealthy outlets. Luckily, you can find better coping mechanisms to keep you happy and healthy. Follow these healing habits to cope with and manage anxiety.
1. Identify Your Triggers
Specific events or situations usually trigger anxiety, so knowing what those are can help you to avoid them in the future. Triggers could be anything from a person to a place or a situation. Something as simple as going to the gas station or as serious as speaking in public could be a trigger.
So how do you identify a trigger? Keep a journal and write down those moments when you feel anxious or have an anxiety attack. Write down what you realize about that present moment. You might be able to discover your trigger that way. You could also speak to a therapist about your anxiety symptoms so that they can help you identify what those triggers are.
What should you do when you’re triggered? You should focus on your breathing first, so take deep breaths to keep your heart rate regular. Secondly, you should distract yourself by doing something else. For example, you can repeat affirmations to yourself to stop your mind from spiraling. Also, try something called desensitization or exposure therapy, gradually exposing yourself to the situation repeatedly to lessen the anxiety response.
2. Get a Change of Scenery
Instead of sitting at home when you’re anxious, take a brisk walk if the weather permits. Anxiety can create a rigid mindset when it can feel like nothing will ever change, but doing something different can change your mind and increase your cognitive flexibility. It’s not that dissimilar from doing some stretching before a workout.
Even stepping outside can boost your energy levels and increase your serotonin — whether you go for a walk or not. It can allow you to reflect on your thoughts and avoid negative talk or self-defeated thinking.
3. Connect with Other People
Isolation only makes chronic anxiety worse. When an anxiety attack hits, you might want to withdraw from society and stay alone so that you don’t have to share your thoughts with others. However, this can only serve to make your anxiety worse. Instead, you should try connecting with other people, even for short bouts of time. You can call a family member, volunteer at an event, or attend a social setting for a short time to take your mind off your thoughts.
4. Focus on a Healthy Diet
It’s easy to resort to eating whatever you can find in your cupboards, and those foods, most times, aren’t the healthiest. There’s also the mental element of reaching for foods loaded with fat and sugar because they temporarily make the body feel better. But you’ll have a much better “high” if you make a meal with healthy, fresh foods. Drink tons of water to keep your body hydrated, especially if you’re prone to isolating and not tending to your needs as much as possible.
5. Get a Better Night’s Sleep
Poor sleep can have a substantial effect on your mood. Why? Because you need to replenish neurotransmitters with a good night of sleep. Without it, your brain is more likely to experience a chemical imbalance, increasing your risk for depression and anxiety.
Research shows that people who don’t get enough sleep, especially in length or quality, tend to develop major depression. Sleep-deprived people also view neutral images as unfavorable, making ordinary situations more menacing.
6. Try to Keep Your Surroundings Neat and Clean
Even if it’s just one portion of your room, cleaning your space can greatly help one’s mental health. It may not feel like the best strategy to take control of your anxiety, but this healthy habit may surprise you. First, it redirects your brain, so you’re not focusing on the imaginary problems in your head. Secondly, having a clean and orderly house, or even just a room, gives you one less problem to stress over. By developing a sense of order in your home, you can create a feeling of calm within your mind that can significantly impact your mental health.
7. Treat Yourself Now and Again
Self-care is essential when it comes to your mental health. Thus, you should treat yourself to small things you wouldn’t normally do. For example, gift yourself a bouquet or buy your favorite dessert at a local bakery. Even the small things in life can make a difference in helping you feel happy again and lessen your anxiety.
8. See a Therapist
Talking to a therapist can help you cope with anxiety. Not only does it help you to get your thoughts out instead of keeping them trapped in your head, but you will also feel less alone in the process. When you start therapy, you no longer have to feel like you’re hiding a secret and will feel less ashamed about your anxiety in the long run. Our trained and professional medical team includes therapists who can teach you how to manage your anxiety even better.
9. Cut Out Alcohol and Caffeine
Caffeine and alcohol are two of the biggest triggers for anxiety. Quitting these substances may help reduce your anxiety since they affect your mood. How much is too much is not an easy question to answer since everyone is different. In addition, eliminating alcohol and caffeine from your diet will help you sleep better (which also decreases anxiety). Getting rid of these two ingredients helps to improve concentration, increase energy levels, and reduce anxiety.
10. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts
Don’t bully yourself! It can do you much good to stand up to your negative thoughts and tell them that they’re wrong. These thoughts won’t feel as intimidating as you initially thought. Ask yourself:
- Is this thought based on fact or opinion?
- What evidence do I have for this thought?
- Is there another perspective to look at this situation?
- What are the consequences of this thought?
We Are Willing to Help in Every Way Possible
Our medical facility is ready to listen to your concerns and create an individualized treatment plan. From inpatient care to outpatient programs, you can learn to cope and manage anxiety thanks to counseling, medication, and other therapies. Reach out today to schedule a free assessment or ask any questions.