How To Stop Anxiety
Anxiety disorders affect over 18 percent of American adults every year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Out of those cases, over 22 percent count as severe, while the rest are milder but still cause problems in the affected individuals’ lives.
If you worry persistently, have trouble concentrating, obsess over possibly making the wrong decision, and look at things in terms of the most negative possible outcome, the Mayo Clinic says you might have an anxiety problem that needs to be addressed. Physical signs include being easily startled, sweating, irritability, fatigue, muscle aches, sleeplessness, headaches, and stomach or digestive problems.
If you recognize anxiety symptoms creeping into your own life, stop them with these strategies adapted from the Mayo Clinic:
Stay physically active
Exercise is good for improving your physical health, and it also has mental benefits. Getting regular exercise fights stress and anxiety, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Related benefits include improving your concentration, reducing fatigue, and making you feel better through the release of endorphins in your brain. Just about any exercise works, as long as you do it regularly, so walk, jog, swim, ride your bike, or do whatever else appeals to you.
Maintain a healthy diet
Although more research is needed, the Mayo Clinic says that eating more fruits and vegetables, along with fish and whole grains, may help reduce stress and anxiety. Healthy foods also contribute to your overall well being, reducing stress over physical problems. In addition to making healthy good choices, cut out alcohol and foods and drinks that contain caffeine for maximum stress-fighting benefits.
Make time for relaxation
Fight stress by purposefully working relaxation time into your daily routine. You have plenty of choices on how to do that. Take a yoga class, meditate, practice progressive muscle relaxation, do a visualization exercise, listen to soothing music, take a hot bubble bath, or do whatever else melts the stress and anxiety out of your body. Set aside a specific time for relaxation every day, even if it’s only 15 minutes or half an hour. Honor your commitment to relaxation time just as you would hold yourself to any other important appointment.
Get enough rest
This one’s tricky because it’s hard to sleep when you’re stressed out. If you don’t get enough sleep, that makes you more prone to anxiety and locks you in a vicious circle. Make every effort to get a good night’s sleep for at least eight hours. Avoid caffeine and vigorous activity too close to bedtime. Make sure your sleep environment is dark, quiet, and comfortable. Listen to a sleep-inducing meditation to help you drift off. If those strategies don’t work, talk to your doctor.
If you try these self-help remedies and anxiety still interferes with your everyday life and functioning, talk to your doctor. You may need to talk to a counselor, take medication, or combine those two treatment options to stop anxiety and return to your normal routine.