I am seeing more and more people suffering from anxiety, and I think it is time to talk about ways of coping with it instead of suffering. I suffered from anxiety my entire life that was until recently I decided to take control of it. They have a lot of fancy medications to help deal with stress, but who wants to have to pop a pill every day to get through it? In my opinion, that is no way to live.
Let’s not mask the problem because anxiety is a deep-routed mental disorder that can have mind-crippling effects. Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. That is not the kind of anxiety I am talking about, although the tips I will give you can help with the occasional anxiety. The anxiety I am talking about affects your everyday life.
What is anxiety?
The definition of anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Living with that every day can take a toll on your mental well-being and quality of life. No one asks for an anxiety disorder, but it is your body’s natural response to stress. According to healthline.com, researchers are not sure of the exact cause of anxiety.
What I think causes anxiety disorders is a combination of environmental, genetics, and brain chemistry. Have you ever heard of Fight or Flight? In my opinion, people who suffer from anxiety will choose flight more often than not. An anxiety disorder can stop you from doing the things you enjoy. As I said, it is normal to feel anxious before starting a new job or taking a test. It is a feeling that comes and goes.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Specific phobias
- Seperation Anxiety
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Illness anxiety disorder
Symptoms of Anxiety
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
If you are suffering from anxiety, there are ways to cope with it and live a happy life.
Ways to Cope With Anxiety Without Medication
Talk to a Therapist
Therapy has become very popular and has helped millions of people. Working with a therapist gives you a person not in your bubble that can give you a different perspective. Behavioral Cognitive Therapy focuses on teaching specific skills that can help manage your fears and worries. They are there to guide you into situations that gradually make you feel anxious so that you can live a productive life.
Staying active is a great stress reducer that will help with your mood. I recommend starting your day with exercise so you can carry those feel-good endorphins with you throughout your day. Start slow and increase the intensity as you go. The goal is to create a routine, so you stay active.
Meditation/Deep Breathing Exercises
I am a huge advocate of meditation and deep breathing. It has helped me manage my stress levels which in turn reduced my anxious mind. When you breathe deeply, it relaxes you and makes you focus on the present moment. Check out 5 Benefits of Meditation to get a deep dive into why meditation can benefit you.
Cut Back on Caffiene
I say cut back because I could never 100% percent cut caffeine out of my life. I am a working mom, and the thought of not having coffee makes me anxious. You have to do what works for you. Caffeine gives you energy, but too much energy combined with a stressful situation can cause anxiety. It is all about moderation. You can try introducing decaffeinated herbal tea into your life. My personal favorite is chamomile tea.
Have an Exit Strategy
Everyone has triggers, and one of mine is social events. I am not a fan of being trapped with a bunch of people with no escape. What I do to prevent that is to have an exit strategy. Before going to an event or even meeting a group of people, I always have an exit strategy. Make it a point to drive yourself. You may think it would be fun to catch a ride with friends, but your anxiety doesn’t. Being around large groups isn’t for everyone, so always have an exit strategy if you have no other choice.
Set a Bedtime
To all you go-getters out there who think that 4-hours of sleep a night is enough, I am here to tell you it’s not. Your body and mind need to rest if you are constantly on the go. Having a set time to go to bed every night creates a routine to try and get at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night. It is vital to get sleep when you have anxiety because our minds are going all day with worry and fear, so give it some time to rest. While you sleep, your brain has time to sort through the emotional issues from the day. Making it easier to wake up refreshed and ready to go.
Practicing mindfulness has helped me cope with anxiety. It is triggered by thinking about the future and all the things that might go wrong. The way to control that is to become mindful and live in the present moment without overanalyzing what is happening. I know it sounds impossible, but when you take a deep breath and close your eyes for a few minutes, it helps bring you to the present moment. I recommend checking out Self Care to understand how you can take care of your mental health.
We are all stressed and anxious these days. Between social media, covid, work, and family, it is no wonder so many people are suffering from anxiety. I want you to know that you are in the driver’s seat you can decide to take my advice and implement it. You have to take care of yourself, and learning to deal with your anxiety is an integral part of living a productive and happy life. Please pay attention to what triggers your stress in the first place and use the tips above to get it under control. It is not something that is going to go away, but you can control it.