Anxiety is one of the most common mental health concerns in the world. However, that does not mean it’s easy to cope with anxiety.
Why Coping With Anxiety Matters
While it’s normal to experience anxiety occasionally, dealing with it on an ongoing basis can be extremely challenging. Chronic anxiety can impact many areas of a person’s life. It can affect how well you sleep at night, function at work or home, and even your relationships. Anxiety is far more than just being stressed out. It’s an activation of the nervous system that causes your body and mind to be put into a state of high alert, oftentimes without any clear reason for what is causing it.
Fortunately, there are many different ways to cope with anxiety. While it can be a trial-and-error process, we hope this will guide you.
5 Ways To Cope With Anxiety
1. Deep Breathing
When anxiety ramps up in the body, it activates your nervous system. Your nervous system, in turn, alerts you that something is wrong or that you are in danger, even if no threat is actually present. It does this by causing physiological changes to occur, including an impact on how you breathe. This is why, when you feel anxious, you may notice that you find breathing harder.
You can counteract this naturally by practicing deep breathing techniques, calming your whole body down. To practice deep breathing techniques, it is recommended that you begin with boxed breathing. Boxed breathing will look like this:
- Slowly inhale for four beats
- Hold your breath for four beats
- Slowly exhale for four beats
Then, repeat steps 1 through 3 for a few minutes. You should begin to notice that you are feeling more calm and balanced.
2. Grounding Techniques
The what-if scenarios and always thinking ahead to the future often mean you aren’t grounded in the present moment. Thinking of everything that could go wrong, might happen, or the consequences of these things strongly impact the mind. Grounding techniques can help you become more aware of what is happening in the present moment. It would be appropriate to think of these as distraction techniques, in a way.
To practice grounding techniques, complete the following exercise. Identify:
- 5 things you can see
- 4 things you can hear
- 3 things you can smell
- 2 things you can touch
- 1 thing you can taste
By the time you work through this exercise, you will feel more grounded in your body and less focused on your thoughts. It works to distract your mind and focus on something very specific instead of being all over the place with your thoughts.
3. Challenge Your Thoughts
People who deal with anxiety often have negative thoughts that occur throughout the day. Our minds sometimes play tricks on us, trying to convince us that we aren’t worthy or something bad will happen. From there, we spiral into a rabbit hole of negative self-talk and worrying about every possible outcome of a scenario.
You can counteract this by challenging your thoughts.
List your negative or anxious thoughts, and then ask: What evidence do you have that this will happen? What is something positive you can say instead?
4. Exercise & Good Nutrition
Exercise and nutrition are not just beneficial for physical health. They are also crucial for mental health, as well. Try to eat as healthy as you can, but don’t be afraid to indulge in those sweets and snacks occasionally. Limiting your sugar and carb intake can help your nervous and digestive systems to stay balanced.
Exercise releases endorphins such as serotonin that can help boost your mood. Even something as simple as a walk can be beneficial.
While finding ways to cope with anxiety is important, you should also try to get to the root cause of what is causing it. Therapy is a great tool to help you not only find more short-term and long-term management techniques but can help you discover why anxiety is so prominent in your life. Reach out to learn more about anxiety treatment.