5 Tips To Manage Anxiety
11 Sep 2022 • 4 min read
Do you often feel like you’re not good enough to succeed?
Have you ever felt like you would fail your exams even though you had spent weeks revising? Or felt like you wouldn’t be able to deliver a presentation you’d been working on for days?
Do you feel uncomfortable and find it difficult to breathe in social settings? So much so that you tend to avoid these situations? Or perhaps you always need to check your stove is off three or four times during the night and can’t sleep until you’re absolutely certain?
Then you could be suffering anxiety.
Anxiety affects approximately 4% of the global population and has become the world’s biggest mental health problem.
In this blog, we’ll explain what anxiety is, including symptoms you might be experiencing, before sharing some effective tips on reducing your anxiety.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is the body’s natural response or reaction to stressful life events such as taking exams or speaking in front of a large crowd. It’s the feeling of uneasiness, apprehension and dread associated with upcoming events or events that may or may not happen. It could be going to a job interview, holding team meetings, delivering a speech in front of your friends at a wedding, etc.
When anxiety becomes so overwhelming for an extended period (over six months) that it makes your life difficult to live on a daily basis, it’s categorized as a disorder.
While worrying about life-changing events such as a big move abroad or taking an exam is a normal part of life, worrying about every little thing can negatively impact your life and make it unbearable.
For instance, being worried about taking the lift and staying stuck or crossing the street and being hit by a car can prevent you from leaving your home and become debilitating. And in the professional sphere, it can hinder your success and prevent you from achieving your goals.
Main Symptoms Of Anxiety
Anxiety feels different from one person to another. However, we’ve listed below some of the most common symptoms you should keep an eye on:
- Feeling nervous, on-edge and restless
- Feeling constantly tired and lacking energy
- Feeling a sense of impending danger or doom
- Not being able to focus
- Being irritable
- Having chronic headaches or stomach aches
- Not feeling in control
- Having a pounding or racing heart when talking to others
- Difficulty making eye contact
- Sweating or blushing in social settings
- Fear of being judged by others
- Actively avoiding stressful situations
- Experiencing sleep problems such as insomnia
How To Deal With Anxiety In The Short Term?
If you’re wondering how to calm anxiety as you encounter stressful situations, the good news is that some anxiety management strategies can help you in the short term. This means that you don’t need to wait for weeks or months to see progress. And seeing progress quickly can immediately lift you up and empower you to keep working on reducing your anxiety in the long term.
Slow Your Breathing
When confronted with an anxiety-inducing situation, the body’s natural response is to breathe faster as the airway between the lungs and nose constricts. Slowing your breathing will help expand your lungs, increase your oxygen intake and help relax your muscles.
Here’s a little breathing exercise to help:
Count to three as you breathe in. Then, exhale and count to three. Repeat ten times until you feel calmer.
Meditation has been proven to help reduce anxiety by allowing you to focus on the present moment and let go of the stressful thoughts that clutter your mind. Find a comfortable position in a quiet place and close your eyes. Concentrate on your breathing and how your body moves as you inhale and exhale, without judgment. This will help bring your focus back to your body and the present moment, and let go of your worries.
Journaling can have a cathartic effect and help you instantly reduce your anxiety. That’s because journaling allows you to write down all of your stressful thoughts on paper and unburden your mind from unnecessary worry. As you read over your thoughts and concerns, it’ll shift your mindset from a rumination state to an action-oriented approach allowing you to create a plan of action to overcome potential challenges and solve issues.
How To Reduce Anxiety In The Long Term?
While the tips on how to control anxiety in the short term provided above are excellent tools to help you keep your stress levels in check and make your life a bit easier on a daily basis, sustainability reducing anxiety also requires a long-term commitment.
So, here are two things you can do to reduce your anxiety in the long term.
Adopt A Healthy Lifestyle
Eating a balanced diet, spending time in nature, exercising on a regular basis, and doing the things you enjoy are all elements that have been proven to help improve overall well-being and reduce stress and anxiety. Living a well-balanced life is one of the most powerful ways to calm your anxiety and become more grounded in the long term. The idea is to start small to avoid feeling overwhelmed by a massive lifestyle change. For instance, you could start going for walks twice a week and switching sugary cereals for oats or smoothies in the morning. Introduce new healthy habits once a month until you feel like your life is under control and your body and mind are thriving.
Learn From Others
Joining online forums or discussions around anxiety can help you in many ways. First, it will allow you to connect to people who face similar challenges and learn from them. But it will also give you a sense of belonging, boosting your self-confidence and perhaps allowing you to make new friends. Lastly, by sharing the little things you do to manage your anxiety, you might be helping others, which, in turn, will help you feel useful and valuable and boost your self-esteem.
As the last tip on how to cope with anxiety, be kind to yourself. While anxiety is debilitating and can take over your life, it doesn’t have to be this way. Remember that you are not your anxiety, and you aren’t weak. You’re simply dealing with a common condition. Implementing the right management strategies can help you beat it and create the life you deserve.