When you are anxious, your body is actually going into fight, flight or freeze mode. In order to get better control of your anxiety, you actually need to get better control over your body’s response to your anxiety-provoking triggers. The good news about that is there are specific things you can start doing today in order to reduce your responsiveness to anxiety.
Here is a list of ten proven activities and strategies you can incorporate into your life that can help to reduce feelings of anxiety. Try one or all of them if you are ready to take control over your anxiety. Each of these activities can be catered to your specific needs.
- Get out and exercise. Connecting with your body is a great way to get control of your response to anxiety. You don’t have to run a marathon. By incorporating as little as 30 minutes of exercise on most days, you will start to see a reduction in anxiety. A favourite for anxiety relief is yoga.
- Write your feelings and thoughts in a journal. Keeping a journal is a healthy way to process your thoughts and feelings. Many times, it’s your thoughts that contribute to feelings of anxiety. By writing your thoughts and feelings down, you are able to get them off your chest, as well as give you some clarity about what you are anxious about.
- Find a fun hobby. Incorporating fun activities in your life can help to distract you from feelings of anxiety. While you don’t want to checkout of your life with a lot of distractions, having something productive to do with your time can help reduce stress and anxiety. Try joining a book club or registering for a local arts and crafts class to hone in on your creative side.
- Connect with friends. Being with friends and sharing your feelings can be a very cathartic experience. Get together with a trusted group of friends and share about what has been going on in your life. Having the support of friends can help alleviate the feelings of loneliness that often accompany anxiety.
- Spend time with family members. Unless your family is a major trigger for you, work on incorporating positive family time in your life. Family can provide emotional support during distressing time. Even if you just connect with a family member via text or through phone calls, knowing you have people to count on can make all the difference.
- Learn deep breathing strategies. Deep breathing is another strategy you can use to reduce your anxiety immediately. Try breathing in through your nose on a 6 count and then breathing out through your nose on another 6 count. Repeat this ten times and note the reduction in overall tension from just breathing.
- Meditate and calm your brain. Meditation is another excellent tool you can use today to reduce feelings of anxiety. YouTube has some amazing guided meditation videos to follow, especially if you are new to meditation. Search for “ten minute meditation for anxiety” and try one of the videos today.
- Learn your triggers and stay away from them (when you can). Knowing what your triggers are can make a big difference in your overall feelings of anxiety. If you are anxious every time you drive on a certain road, stop going down that road. It sounds simple but by making a list of your triggers and doing work around avoiding them or changing them, you can reduce your anxiety.
- Get a physical exam and rule out medical issues. Have you had a physical exam recently? Getting a physical and blood work done can rule out any medical causes for your anxiety. Plus it’s good practice to get a physical exam once a year.
- Find a trusted therapist. Working with a therapist trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can provide you with the skills necessary to combat anxiety. Sometimes people with anxiety need help that goes beyond self-help. Therapy is an effective strategy you can engage in to help reduce your anxiety today.
Anxiety doesn’t have to control your life, whether you have occasional feelings of anxiety or if your anxiety feels out of control. Get control of your anxiety by implementing any or all of the recommendations above.
Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP, NCC is an expert in treating adults and adolescents with depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Amanda has a therapist collaborative called “Caring Therapists of Broward”. Amanda helps her clients begin on the journey of symptom relief, self-discovery and healing. You can be read more about Amanda on her website. Connect with Amanda on Facebook and Twitter @AmandaPLMHC.
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