How to Successfully Fight Anxiety
Everyone experiences anxiety occasionally (or for some, more than occasionally, and then that person is said to have an anxiety disorder). Things that can make us anxious can vary from the simplest problems, such as wind messing up our hair, to more serious situations like problems at work or having to make a life changing decision. It is needless to say that anxiety is an unpleasant emotion, often accompanied by hectic behavior, inability to stay calm, and overreaction to specific situations. An anxious person often also has trouble concentrating. To prevent this bad feeling from turning into a disorder, we must learn how to fight it.
You can’t let it get the best of you. If you want to live a full life and enjoy life, you need to fight anxiety and not let it overwhelm you. But don’t let fighting anxiety become stressful for you – that could only bring more problems. So, here are some tips on how to fight your anxiety without bringing in more stress and making it hard for yourself.
1. Introduce regular physical activity as a part of your routine
Physical activity, as most of you probably know, isn’t only good for your physical well being. It also has so many beneficial properties when it comes to your state of mind and overall mental health. Haven’t you noticed that when you do something physical, some of the stress you are dealing with tends to go away? The same goes for anxiety. Physical activity, especially if it is regular, helps you relax mentally, and it is therefore one of the best aids in fighting anxiety. You can literally run (swim or dance) away from your anxiety.
A research conducted at the University of Maryland that involved 37 healthy young adults showed that physical activity doesn’t directly cure anxiety, but it does help reduce it and maintain it at lower levels, while building the ability to deal with emotional exposure better and react more lightly.
When we exercise, we burn stress hormones and reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Moreover, while exercising, our body produces endorphin, a hormone which creates a feeling of euphoria while reducing tension and anxiety at the same time.
2. Pay attention to your breathing
Maybe you haven’t even noticed, but when you are anxious you start breathing differently. People with anxiety usually take very deep breaths very fast. This is a state called ‘hyperventilation’ and it can be very serious because it causes the level of CO2 to decrease in the blood, which can make you dizzy and lightheaded, short of breath, and your heart can start beating stronger and faster. This makes the symptoms of anxiety more noticeable and difficult.
So, in order to avoid this, you can relearn and train breathing in a good way. It can be difficult at first, but if you stay committed and focused, you will make it a habit and after a while it will come naturally to breathe in a healthy way. Once you train yourself to breathe properly, you will be able to deal with your anxiety more easily, as when you slow down your breathing you can calm down and relax without much trouble.
3. Surround yourself with positive people
Constantly being around people who complain all the time or are selfish and uncaring can’t really help you, especially if your anxiety is strong. Also, when it comes to being alone, although it sometimes can be very helpful, if your anxiety is persistent and regular, being alone with your thoughts will probably lead to over-thinking and overanalyzing, and will even make your anxiety worse; when you are anxious and alone your thoughts will rarely be positive. So it would be best to surround yourself with people who will cheer you up and lift your mood. Be as active as you can and plan your days to be filled with activities and as little alone time as possible. Besides postponing the thinking about what worries you, you will also enjoy yourself more and you might even get rid of the anxiety.
4. Avoid unhealthy activities and habits
By this we mean drinking alcohol and taking drugs to ease your anxiety. These won’t help you fight your anxiety, but maybe even make it worse. You may postpone the symptoms for a little while, but when it hits you afterwards – it will be bad. If you start relying on these kinds of aids to cope with your anxiety soon you will not be able to cope without them, as your brain will probably lose the ability to cope on its own and stop making an effort altogether. So, when you decide to stop using these drugs or alcohol, your anxiety might get worse and even out of control.
The best ways to fight anxiety don’t involve drugs or bad behavior. Only positive and good habits can help you here.
5. Preventing anxiety attacks
Many people go through anxiety attacks that are often caused by some symptoms of anxiety and can last around 10 minutes. During this time a person goes through a very deep and dark state and it can be very frustrating, and make fighting anxiety more difficult than it needs to be.
To prevent these attacks you need to get accustomed to the symptoms of your anxiety so that they stop triggering panic attacks. Exposure to the symptoms can help you overcome them. For example, if you experience hyperventilation often, then do it on purpose and get used to it, then it won’t be such a big deal. You can do this with all other symptoms, but maybe it would be best if you did it in the presence of a medical expert.
Fighting anxiety isn’t easy, but with these techniques it might just become easier. If you see that none of these techniques are working for you and you just can’t relax, you should maybe seek help from an expert.