With 260 million people across the globe suffering from anxiety disorders, overcoming anxiety has become a top goal for anxiety sufferers and mental health counselors alike. Fortunately, there are some simple steps that anxiety-prone people can take to help minimize or prevent anxiety from surfacing. Below are nine steps you can take to conquer anxiety.
Try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night
“How much you sleep each night also determines how well you can deal with anxiety and stress. When a person gets too little sleep, the deprivation acts as a chronic stressor that impairs brain functions and contributes to an overload on the body’s systems. Too little sleep also boosts adrenaline levels that can exacerbate existing anxiety issues.”- Anxiety.org
Failing to get a sufficient amount of rest on a regular basis can trigger anxiety and aggravate existing anxiety symptoms. While the ideal amount of sleep varies according to age and other factors, you can help prevent anxiety symptoms by sleeping for 7-8 hours per night.
Identify your anxiety triggers and develop coping mechanisms
While the exact causes of anxiety are not clearly defined, there are certain life events that are linked to anxiety. Knowing these triggers and developing skills to mediate them is essential to successfully managing anxiety. According to The Mayo Clinic, anxiety is known to be triggered by the following:
- Medical problems such as heart disease, thyroid problems, or diabetes
- Ingestion of certain prescription medications or over the counter drugs
- Risk factors such as having a blood relative with a diagnosed anxiety disorder
- Alcohol or drug usage
Surround yourself with positive people and influences
Negativity can exacerbate stress and anxiety, making it increasingly difficult for a person to overcome anxiety when constantly exposed to people with a glass-half-empty approach to live. Fortunately, you can attack anxiety and improve your coping skills by surrounding yourself with friends, colleagues, and family members who exhibit positivity and encouragement.
Maintain your physical health
The link between anxiety disorders and physical health conditions has been well researched. In particular, anxiety has been linked to conditions such as migraine headaches, respiratory disease, thyroid disease, and other physical health complications. Accordingly, maintaining your physical health is an essential step to take in mediating anxiety. Here are a few measures you can take to help maintain good physical health:
- See your primary care doctor for a checkup at least once annually
- Participate in employment-sponsored and community-sponsored health screenings
- Take part in available exercise, wellness programs and Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
- Protect yourself from influenza by getting the influenza vaccine if you are eligible (6 months of age or older with no vaccine allergies)
Strive to attain work-life balance
“With one in six UK employees experiencing anxiety, depression and stress in the workplace, it has never been more crucial to tackle the work-life balance and the factors leading to workplace stress.” – Personnel Today
Workers across the globe are struggling to meet employment-related responsibilities and maintain financial security. Anxiety can develop if workers are unable to achieve a healthy work-life balance. You can help prevent anxiety by ensuring that you carve out sufficient time for the following:
- Family events
- Volunteer activities
- Spiritual pursuits
- Rest and relaxation
- Physical fitness activities
Adjust your diet
Many people do not realize that there is a link between diet and anxiety. Recognizing the foods that trigger anxiety is a simple but effective way to control anxiety in everyday life. By limiting your intake of the following, you can help minimize anxiety:
- Caffeine: Consuming large amounts of caffeine can lead to heart palpitations and panic attacks
- Sugar: Anxiety and panic can result when there are fluctuations in blood sugar levels
- Alcohol: Alcohol can increase anxiety levels because it affects neurotransmitters such as serotonin
Researchers from Johns Hopkins have studied the relationship between conflict and the development of physical health complications. Interestingly, these researchers point to the act of forgiveness as being instrumental in lowering the risk of physical health problems as well as mental health issues. In particular, forgiveness can help reduce depression, stress, and anxiety.
Exercise on a regular basis
“Science has also provided some evidence that physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. In one study, researchers found that those who got regular vigorous exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years.” – Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
As outlined above by the ADAA, the role of exercise in combatting anxiety cannot be underestimated. And while the effects of exercise might not be long-lasting, psychologists point to benefits of a brisk 10-minute walk in alleviating anxiety. The ADAA recommends exercising for at least 30 minutes per day at least 5 days per week.
Keep an anxiety journal
One of the most effective ways to monitor and control your anxiety is to keep track of your symptoms and the techniques that help you control them. Items to track in your journal include the following:
- Events that coincide with or contribute to your anxiety
- Successful techniques that you have employed to combat your anxiety
- Places, people, or activities that cause your anxiety to increase
In addition to providing valuable information about the specific tactics that help you control your anxiety, the process of maintaining a journal is therapeutic and relaxing for many people suffering from anxiety.
What is the single best step you can take to overcome anxiety?
As outlined above, there are many steps you can take to help control anxiety. However, the single best solution to overcoming anxiety is to seek guidance from a trained professional counselor who specializes in treating anxiety disorders. At Real Life Counseling, our goal is to make it as easy as possible for people develop the skills to cope with stress and conquer their anxiety. We have qualified counselors who are trained to help empower people of all ages and backgrounds to overcome their anxiety. We invite you to contact us today to find out how we can help you experience freedom from anxiety.