When anxiety hits you, it can be terrifying. The panic and frightening thoughts coupled with physical symptoms may lead you to believe that you’re having a heart attack or suffering from a terrible disease!
Anxiety can often cause you to have an exaggerated nervous system reaction to common stressors that others are able to ignore.
If you’re one of the millions who struggle with anxiety, the good news is that many can feel better, even without medication. You can take positive action on your own to get a handle on your anxiety and feel more in control. Of course, especially if your symptoms are debilitating, please consult your doctor or other health professional for their treatment advice.
Both your mind and body are involved in anxiety. It’s a vicious circle – the constant worrying and negative thoughts can produce physical symptoms, which can cause more anxious thoughts. It becomes a pattern that can be challenging to break free of.
Tackle your anxiety on both the physical and mental levels today by practicing these 10 strategies that have helped many.
Physical Ways to Lower Anxiety
Try these tips to physically lower your anxiety levels:
If you’re breathing from the top of your chest and not from your abdomen, you might be making yourself more nervous. Breathe from your diaphragm and take full, deep, slow breaths.
2. Get moving.
Use up that extra energy that your body produces when its anxious. If you don’t, it can build up and make you more nervous. By getting frequent exercise, you’ll prevent your body from storing excess adrenaline. Also seeSpark by John Ratey where he goes into detail how exercise is just as effective for anxiety as the prescription medication Zoloft.
3. Sit still.
While it is important to exercise, sitting still throughout the day is just as necessary. If you usually run from a panic attack or anxiety episode, force yourself to stay where you are and focus on relaxation techniques, like deep breathing, to help prevent your impending anxiety.
- The anxiety might get worse for a moment, but by breathing and sitting still many can ward the anxiety away. This technique also is helpful in and of itself because it prepares you to feel more confident the next time you experience anxiety.
4. Distract yourself.
It’s hard to think about feeling nervous when you’re actively engaged in other activities. Help others, play a game, or do something else that requires your total concentration as soon as you start to feel anxious.
5. Get in shape.
Being physically fit can help you feel better about your health and reduce anxiety. It’s not a quick fix, but more of a long-term goal that you can actively pursue. Staying in good physical condition goes a long way in preventing anxiety.
Mental Ways to Lower Anxiety
A positive mental attitude is just as important as using physical techniques to help overcome your anxiety. There are many ways you can use your mental resources to find peace and calm amidst the chaos of anxiety.
Follow these techniques to tackle your anxiety on a mental level:
6. Educate yourself.
It’s hard to battle something you don’t understand. Learn about your condition so you have a better understanding of what you’re facing.
Talking to others with anxiety can help you feel more “normal” and bring you additional strategies that have worked for others in your same situation. Reach out to others!
8. Use the stop sign.
Imagine a big stop sign in your head when you start to have anxious thoughts. The stop sign technique is a great place to start.
9. Offer yourself affirmations.
Say positive statements to yourself each day to help you stay strong and brave. For example: “I am a valuable and worthy person, and I have much to offer to the world.”
10. Set aside a worry time.
If you allot a few minutes each day at a set time and give yourself permission to worry only at that time, you’ll soon find that it becomes a chore – making you worry less. By only allowing yourself to worry for a short period, you can program your mind to actually worry less.
No matter how long you’ve had anxiety, you can do something about it. When you apply both mental and physical techniques to getting better, you’ll soon find that you – not your anxiety – are the one in control!