The mind is an incredibly powerful thing.
This something we know for sure but even so, when people begin to see physical manifestations of mental issues it can still be very hard for them to accept, let alone talk about with people.
Anxiety is one of the main culprits in these type of situations.
Like depression, anxiety too often gets dismissed as an impermanent state of mind – an emotion that is purely to do with circumstance and will pass when a person’s environment changes. The reality for many people however is anxiety is more or less constant in their lives and can be triggered by seemingly innocuous events or even nothing tangible at all.
It is a very real disorder and can have a huge variety of symptoms.
Here are some recommendations on how to deal with it in your day to day life.
Take a time-out
If you want to be able to deal with anxiety you need to be able to train yourself to remove whatever is triggering the anxiety. Ideally this will mean removing yourself physically from the situation, however in some situations this will not be possible as you may either:
- Have a significant reason to stay in the same place or be genuinely be unable to leave
- Be experiencing anxiety triggers that have nothing to do with your physical environment.
In both cases it is important to begin training your mind so you can form habits that allow you to transition to another state of mind. These may include: practicing yoga, meditation, some basic relaxation techniques or have a playlist of music on your phone which you find particularly relaxing.
Maintain a balanced diet
An anxiety disorder is technically a stress disorder.
It is caused by the uncertainty that we feel when we are anxious, when our body is in a state of uncertainty it stresses the body. Then when the body is put under too much stress it can begin to stop functioning effectively.
When you body does not have the correct nutrients it makes it more vulnerable to these sort of breakdowns. It is therefore important to put the right fuel in your body. There are strategies to keep a track of your basic nutrient intake on the go without having to bring scales to every meal and before long you’ll get a good sense of what sorts of food keep you strong and what sort make you tired and lethargic.
Limit alcohol and caffeine
This is important for the same reasons as those in the diet section, however alcohol and caffeine can also be major culprits in aggravating anxiety through the disruptive effect they can have on your body in general.
In most cases it is not necessary to completely abstain, but know your limits and err on the side of caution when consuming. In particular it is a good rule of thumb not to consume either alcohol or caffeine on an empty stomach as that is when it can wreak the most havoc.
Get 8 hours sleep
Don’t compromise on your sleep.
It is very rarely there isn’t something expendable from your evening routine that will allow you to get the required hours. If you don’t get everything done of an evening, it can wait. After all you’re going to be more effective during the day when you can better combat your anxious feelings. Sleep is when your body most actively repairs itself so when you need to be strong sleep is your best weapon.
On top of that it is important to keep regular rhythms, so try and go to sleep and wake up at similar times. Also try to restrict your bed as a place where you exclusively sleep (no reading, watching TV etc).
Exercise is exceptionally important for both how you feel physically as well as the general state of your emotions.
When your body is strong and healthy it will be able to stand up to more duress and anxiety, but the emotional impact could well be more valuable. The immediate effect that you get from endorphins after exercise is about as close to a natural remedy to anxiety as you are ever going to find and the general positive energy you can draw from feeling healthy and fit also helps to keep you in a positive state of mind.
Exercise and other repetitive activities are also a very effective way of dealing with anxiety when it starts to take hold.
Accept that you cannot control everything.
This is a hard one for even those not dealing with anxiety, but sometimes it can be a useful tool to put your stress in perspective. Things are rarely as bad or hopeless as they seem in the heat of the moment.
One strategy is to think the situation to its logical conclusion. What is the worst end result? Usually the answer to this question is really not that bad. And even if it is – if the consequences are out of your control you can begin focusing on dealing with them rather than worrying about them.
Laugh as often as possible
When you begin to look for the humour in things you will be surprised how much more lightly you will naturally begin to approach situations. Studies have shown that even forced laughter can have a positive impact on your well-being.
Learn what your triggers are
You might not be consciously aware of what is bringing on your anxiety attacks.
It is a good idea to keep a diary so you can start identifying patterns. It might surprise you what begins to emerge. Family, friends, work, school: it can all play a factor along with various combinations of all the already mentioned factors and more.
Once you get an idea of what brings on your high levels of anxiety and panic attacks, it is much easier to actively plan against them.
There is nothing quite as effective as getting help from a professional.
While there is a lot you can do yourself to combat anxiety in your day to day life a bit of coaching from someone who has guided many through similar issues before, can help you make a lot of progress.
In the modern age online counseling is available, which is a great option for those dealing with anxiety as often the nature of the disorder itself can be a mojor roadblock to seeking in person help. Of course, for those who prefer in-person help it is also a solid option..
Finally the most important thing to remember if you find that your anxiety impacts your normal daily life is that there are things you can do and you are not alone. Anxiety affects every person differently and it doesn’t discriminate.
If your life is being affected, act today.