Living with anxiety is quite like living on the edge. Anything can set off an attack and make you spiral out of control. Different people face different problems when they have anxiety. But the most common problem that people face is handling the physical manifestations of their anxiety. People with anxiety live their lives perpetually on hyper-stress mode. But people who found ways to deal with their stress found it easier to eliminate anxiety from their lives. There are many things that can calm people down and in turn help them in getting rid of their anxiety for good. Some of those effective strategies that can help in reducing anxiety levels in people have been listed below.
1. Talk To Somebody Friendly
Distraction can be an effective way of handling anxiety in a stressful situation. When you feel like your anxiety is getting worse, talk to a friend or colleague whom you find comforting. Talking to someone about something happy can temporarily distract you from your problems and it will allow your body to find its calm rhythm back.
2. Listen To Happy Music
Music can be very powerful and healing. Music has the power to transcend time and transport us to a happy place at a different point in time. It can bring back good memories that can help us to calm down and find peace in turbulent moments. So, make a happy playlist for yourself. And whenever you feel anxious; put on your earphones and start listening to your happy music.
3. You Can Give Kava A Shot
Kava-kava is a herb that has been found effective in reducing anxiety in people. This herb is non-addictive and has very less side effects. Kava is potent in reducing the symptoms of this condition without diminishing the mental acuity in people. But it is important to discuss this with your doctor before you start taking this herb. There are no potential side effects that have been documented yet. But toxicity has been reported for two people who were on high dosage of this herb over an extended period of time. 1
4. Learn To Breathe Effectively
Breathing is an effective way of reducing stress. Breathing is a mighty tool that can alleviate the effects of anxiety as unsteady and bad breathing habits have been found connected to anxiety and hyperventilation under stress. 2
People often feel breathless when they have an anxiety attack. So, learning to control one’s breathing can produce a calming effect during an anxiety attack. Focus on breathing from your nose. It will automatically slow down your breathing and help you to avoid hyperventilating.
Breath in and out of your stomach. Your chest should remain steady but your stomach should move in and out while you breath through your nose. This will stretch your diaphragm and relax your muscles that get tensed up easily under stress. Count your breaths when you are doing this. It will help you to focus and feel connected to your body. 3
5. Exercise Can Help In Reducing Anxiety
Exercise has been found effective in reducing stress in people. It can help us in stabilizing our hormone levels and in increasing our overall well-being. Aerobic exercise has been found to be significantly effective in reducing anxiety and other depressive tendencies in cancer survivors. So, this can be extrapolated to other individuals as well. 4
Besides, exercise can relax tensed muscles and help people to get rid of all their nervous energy. It is also a great distraction which is very important for people with anxiety as it can take their minds of all their fears.
6. Use A Mental Checklist To Eliminate Destructive Thinking
An anxiety attack doesn’t show up from nowhere. It is our negative thinking that allows that to happen. When we overthink too much, our reasons take a big hit which can end up initiating a panic attack in us. So, we need to have a mental checklist in place for situations like this. When a negative idea comes to your head, acknowledge the thought and ask yourself a few questions.
Is there any real reason for me to be scared? Is this a reality or just a mere fear? These questions will help you to get back your rationality.
You can also use affirmations to make yourself aware of your reality.
“This is just a fear and not a reality.”
“You are fine and you are doing great.”
These affirmations can help you to feel connected to your reality and help you to gain your control back.
7. Accept Your Physical Symptoms
One of the difficult things to accept when you have anxiety is the physical symptoms of the condition. Dizziness, increased heartbeat, difficulty in breathing are a few examples of the many physical symptoms that people experience when they have anxiety. These are not usual reactions of our bodies and hence, it can be difficult for people to get used to them. But acceptance can really help you to get past your fears.
Acceptance of the condition will help you to move closer towards the solution. So, accept and embrace all the physical symptoms that come with it as then those symptoms will stop scaring you. And when you stop being scared of them; they will not be able to trigger any panic attacks in you.
8. Unleash It
Sometimes the best way to deal with something is to let it happen. Similarly, sometimes it is okay to let your anxiety beast loose. When we try to fight it too hard, it can backfire on us. Anxiety can become like our shadows. Hence, we can’t get rid of it by running away from it. So, embrace it when it comes and find ways to take it all out. Scream, jump, punch a pillow, throw some soft toys around or write about it. Do whatever you think will help you to tangibly get rid of your anxiety.
You can’t get rid of your anxiety overnight by taking up these strategies for a day. You need to practice these strategies everyday to control your anxiety. And eventually, you will learn to control it completely and then hopefully get rid of it as well. So, don’t lose hope till you are there.
|↑1||Bilia, Anna Rita, Sandra Gallori, and Franco F. Vincieri. “Kava-kava and anxiety: growing knowledge about the efficacy and safety.” Life sciences 70, no. 22. 2002.|
|↑2||Han, J. N., K. Stegen, K. Simkens, M. Cauberghs, R. Schepers, Omer Van den Bergh, J. Clément, and K. P. Van de Woestijne. “Unsteadiness of breathing in patients with hyperventilation syndrome and anxiety disorders.” European Respiratory Journal 10, no. 1. 1997.|
|↑3||Anxiety and breathing difficulties. University Hospital Southampton NHS.|
|↑4||Segar, Michelle L., Victor L. Katch, Randy S. Roth, Anne Weinstein Garcia, Toby I. Portner, Scott G. Glickman, Sally Haslanger, and Edwin G. Wilkins. “The effect of aerobic exercise on self-esteem and depressive and anxiety symptoms among breast cancer survivors.” In Oncology nursing forum, vol. 25, no. 1, p. 107. 1998.|