Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults in the United States aged 18 and older. If you are one of those people, you know that anxiety can be debilitating. It can keep you from doing things you love, or even from leaving your house. In this step-by-step guide, we will discuss how to overcome anxiety and start living your life again!
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease. It can be mild or severe. Everyone feels anxious at times. An anxiety disorder is when these feelings don’t go away and are so bad that they interfere with your daily life.
This anxiety can show up in different ways. For some people, it’s a feeling of constantly being on edge, feeling irritable, or having difficulty concentrating. Other people may have physical symptoms like sweating, rapid heart rate, or stomach problems.
Anxiety disorders are real and treatable. They’re the most common mental illness in the United States. But only about one-third of people with anxiety disorders get treatment. If you’re struggling with anxiety, there are things you can do to feel better. This step-by-step guide can help you start to take control of your anxiety and live a fuller life.
Tips For Overcoming Anxiety
Though anxiety is normal for many people, it can still be a debilitating condition. If you’re struggling with anxiety, know that you’re not alone. Here are some tips for overcoming anxiety:
Identify your triggers
Step one is always vital in overcoming any disorder, and that’s because it allows you to be proactive instead of reactive. Start by identifying your triggers- what sets off your anxiety? Once you know what these triggers are, you can begin to avoid them or at least better prepare yourself for them.
For example, if you have social anxiety, your trigger might be attending a party. Once you know this, you can either avoid parties or come up with a game plan for how to deal with them. This might involve coming up with an exit strategy or talking to someone you trust before the event.
If your trigger is more general, such as anxiety about the future, you can begin to counter your anxious thoughts with positive affirmations.
Challenge your thoughts
Sometimes our anxiety is made worse by the things we tell ourselves. Our minds can be our own worst enemy, convincing us of things that just aren’t true. One way to help ease your anxiety is to challenge your thoughts. When you start to feel anxious, take a step back and look at the situation objectively. You can try asking yourself questions like:
- What is the evidence for and against my beliefs?
- Am I overgeneralizing?
- Is there another way to look at this situation?
- What are the chances that what I’m worried about will actually happen?
Answering these questions can help you see your anxiety and help in overcoming anxiety in a more rational light. If you find that your anxiety is based on irrational thoughts, challenge them and see if they hold up.
Make a plan
Another way to take control of your anxiety is to make a plan. This can be especially helpful if you have performance anxiety or social anxiety. When you know what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it, it can help ease your anxious thoughts.
Making a specific plan can also help you feel more prepared and in control. For example, if you’re going to a party, decide ahead of time how long you’ll stay, who you’ll talk to, and what you’ll say. This can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed or anxious when you’re at the event.
When an anxiety attack begins, one of the first things you can do is start deep breathing. This will help to relax your body and mind. To do deep breathing, sit up straight in a chair with your feet on the floor. Place one hand on your stomach, just below your ribs.
Breathe in slowly through your nose, letting your stomach expand outward. Then, breathe out slowly through your mouth. As you breathe out, let your stomach fall inward. Repeat this breathing exercise for several minutes until you begin to feel more relaxed.
It is important to learn some relaxation techniques to help you overcome anxiety. Relaxation techniques can help you calm your mind and body, and allow you to focus on the present moment. There are many different relaxation techniques that you can try, so it is important to find one that works best for you.
One of the most popular relaxation techniques is progressive muscle relaxation. This technique involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups in your body. Start by tensing your toes for a count of five, and then relax them. Continue this process up your body, until you have reached your head.
Another relaxation technique that can be helpful is meditation. This means sitting quietly and focusing on your breath. You can also try to focus on a mantra or positive affirmation. So, choose one that works for you and focus on it during your meditation.
Staying active is a great way to combat anxiety. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. In addition, exercise can serve as a distraction from anxious thoughts. It can also help you sleep better, which can further reduce stress and anxiety.
If you’re not used to exercising, start slow and gradually increase your activity level. There are a variety of exercises you can do, so find something that you enjoy and stick with it. For example, some exercises that you can choose from:
- Taking a brisk walk
- Riding a bike
- Doing yoga or Pilates
- Lifting weights
Find an activity that you can do for at least 30 minutes a day, three to four times a week. And remember, it doesn’t have to be a strenuous exercise to be effective.
Create a support network
A support network is a key part of overcoming anxiety. Talk to your friends and family about what you’re going through and ask for their support. Let them know what kind of things help you when you’re feeling anxious. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your loved ones about your anxiety, there are plenty of online support groups that can offer advice and understanding.
Just as important as seeking out support is being a support to others. When you’re feeling anxious, it can be helpful to talk to someone who understands what you’re going through. But it’s also important to be there for others when they need you. Showing compassion and lending a listening ear can go a long way in helping someone with anxiety.
A healthy diet can do wonders for your anxiety. And avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of caffeine can also help manage anxiety. For instance, studies have shown that omega-three fatty acids can help reduce anxiety. So, make sure to include plenty of healthy foods in your diet! Let’s outline a few examples to make this easier for you.
- First, aim to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables each day. Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
- Second, include whole grains in your diet. Whole grains contain complex carbohydrates that can help stabilize blood sugar levels. This can be helpful if you experience anxiety or panic attacks that are triggered by blood sugar fluctuations.
- Third, make sure to include plenty of protein in your diet. Protein provides the building blocks for neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are essential for regulating mood. So, including plenty of protein-rich foods in your diet can help reduce anxiety and improve mood.
By following these simple tips, you can help reduce anxiety and improve your overall health!
Get enough sleep
Sleep and anxiety are always interconnected. When you’re anxious, it’s harder to fall asleep. And when you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more susceptible to anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break out of, but it’s important to try.
There are a few things you can do to help improve your sleep habits:
- Establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine and stick to it. This could include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or stretching.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Both of these can interfere with sleep.
- Avoid working or using electronic devices in bed. This can help your brain associate your bed with sleep instead of stress.
Writing your thoughts and feelings down in a journal is one of the most effective ways of managing anxiety. It allows you to process your thoughts and emotions in a healthy way and can help to identify any patterns or triggers for your anxiety. Make sure to set aside some time each day to journal, and be as honest as possible with yourself.
To make it an easier process, you can try to answer these three questions every day:
- What are the things that I am anxious about today?
- What are the things that make me feel good today?
- What are the things that I am grateful for today?
Connect with nature
Nature is one of the most powerful and effective tools we have for managing anxiety. Studies have shown that time spent in nature can reduce stress hormones, slow down the nervous system, and increase feelings of well-being. There are a number of ways to connect with nature, even if you live in an urban area.
Spend time outside every day, even if it’s just for a few minutes. If possible, try to walk in a park or nature reserve, or simply sit in your garden. Make sure you take the time to really notice and appreciate the natural world around you.
Try to include some plants in your home or workspace. Studies have shown that having plants around can improve mental health and reduce stress. If you don’t have a green thumb, consider getting a low-maintenance plant like a snake plant or succulent.
Overcoming anxiety is sometimes not an easy feat, but it is definitely possible. You just have to be willing to put in the work and follow some simple steps. One of those steps is considering therapy. Therapy can help you understand your anxiety and give you tools to cope with it. If you’re not sure if therapy is right for you, consider talking to a therapist about your options.
Some common therapies that can be helpful in overcoming anxiety include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Exposure therapy
- Acceptance and commitment therapy
- Mindfulness-based stress reduction
If you’re ready to take the next step in overcoming your anxiety, consider therapy. It could be just what you need to help you understand and manage your anxiety. While some people might feel like they can overcome their anxiety on their own, many find that professional help is invaluable
All in all, overcoming anxiety is possible. It might not be easy, but it is definitely doable. Just remember to take things one step at a time and to seek professional help if you need it. You got this!
In a nutshell, overcoming anxiety can be difficult, but it is definitely possible. The key is to be patient and to keep taking small steps forward. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, so find what works for you and stick with it. With time and effort, you will eventually get to a place where anxiety is no longer ruling your life.
Therefore, you should not give up hope if you are struggling with anxiety. It is a journey, but it is one that is definitely worth taking. Trust me, on the other side of anxiety, is a much happier and more fulfilling life. So, keep pushing forward and never give up!
For more information and guidance on overcoming anxiety, please get in touch with our expert therapists at Therapy Mantra. They will be more than happy to assist you on your journey to recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our services. You can also book an online therapy session or download our free Android or iOS app.