10 More Ways to Reduce Anxiety

"Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems. Epictetus

reduce anxiety

With anxiety being so prevalent in today's world I have included 10 more helpful ways to reduce it.

Occasionally, we all experience some form of anxiety and it is a normal response to many situations, however, if it becomes excessive, we must find ways to better deal with it. Our physical, mental, and emotional health depend on it.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is the feeling of fear, worry, or dread concerning the uncertain outcome of the future or an upcoming event. It is often accompanied by cognitive or physical symptoms including insomnia, difficulty concentrating, irritability, panic, restlessness, and fatigue.

Certainly, learning to manage anxiety would significantly improve our outlook and overall well-being.

Here are 10 more helpful ways to reduce anxiety:

1. Learn to recognize anxiety for what it is. Understand that anxiety is not reality. It is your perception of what might happen, not the actuality of it. Recognizing anxiety for what it is can help you deal with it earlier and therefore calm you down more quickly.

To help you address it, here are some questions to ask yourself: Is this a reasonable belief? Is there any evidence that this is true? Could I be exaggerating this situation?

2. Breathe.  As simple as it sounds, breathing deeply and slowly helps calm you by slowing down your heart rate. When you breathe deeply you are conscious of your breath's rate and depth, which, in turn, lessens the likelihood of a panic or anxiety attack. Deep breathing also turns off the body’s stress
response and relaxes your muscles. It puts you in control rather than having you succumb to anxiety.

3. Practice mindfulness. Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness helps reduce anxiety and depression. This is accomplished by helping you focus on the present instead of on the future or getting caught up in negative thoughts. It counteracts the tendency to ruminate and worry.

4. Exercise.  Regular exercise is excellent for managing anxiety. When you increase your heart rate through exercise (instead of anxiety), it changes your brain chemistry by releasing the anti-anxiety neurochemicals, or happy chemicals, including serotonin, BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor),
and endorphin.

Exercise also activates the frontal regions of the brain which help control the amygdala (known as the fear and emotional response center of the brain). Exercise also serves as a pleasant diversion from the matters causing you to be anxious.

5. Utilize affirmations. Affirmations such as “I’m going to be alright;” “This is just a thought, not reality;” and “I put this in perspective;” can help calm you down. Affirmations also allow you to focus on the present moment instead of getting caught up with what is not real.

6. Alter your diet and lifestyle. Studies confirm that those who consume a lot of sugar and processed foods are more susceptible to high anxiety levels and

Similarly, not getting proper nutrients such as magnesium and B vitamins reduces your body’s ability to handle stress and anxiety. Your diet affects every aspect of your health.

Proper sleep is also important for reducing anxiety. To create a restful sleep environment unwind with hot bath, read a book, turn off your phone, and listen to some soft music to help relax you.

7. Understand your triggers. To understand what causes your anxiety it is important to identify which activities or undertakings trigger negative thoughts and behaviors.

Examples include obsessive circular thinking, over-planning, trying to control the uncontrollable, demanding certainty, poor sleep habits, and abusing drugs or alcohol.

Keeping a daily journal to record your triggers and negative thoughts can help you identify them, and in turn, work on eliminating them.

8. Appreciate everything that is working in your life. It is human nature to bemoan what's not working in our lives. Unfortunately, no one’s life is perfect or smooth sailing. Rather than let anxiety take over, to appreciate what is good and going well in our lives helps us attract more of it.

9. Avoid negative people and situations when possible. Some people look for the worst in every situation and seem to enjoy pointing it out. Others, particularly on social media, choose only to talk about what’s wrong with life, the world, and everyone in it. Listening to, and engaging with, such people can cause undue stress and anxiety, especially for those of us already inclined to it.

10. Actively work at creating a positive mindset. We do not have to accept anxiety as a permanent condition in our lives. Certainly, we will all have anxious moments, but they can be the exception, not the rule. Look for the little things, such as a beautiful garden, the sunset, or a good book to make you
smile. Enjoy a robust cup of tea and savor every drop.

We often get caught up in small aggravations at the cost of noticing simple pleasures. Train yourself to enjoy the good instead of focusing on the negative.

As previously stated, we are all susceptible to anxiety at times. If, however, it becomes a chronic problem and nothing seems to alleviate the symptoms, the help of a medical professional might be necessary.

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