Anxiety is normal but not when it disrupts normal behavior patterns. Start letting go of pent-up frustrations with these ways of overcoming anxiety.
Disclaimer: The purpose of this post is to present medical studies and information in an accessible manner. This post may contain opinions about a particular supplement but it does not mean that it is recommended for all readers. Always consult a medical professional to see if these solutions may be right for you.
11 Tips for Overcoming Anxiety
1. Stay in the Present
Much of anxiety stems from worrying about what the future holds. So, instead of worrying about the future, try redirecting your mind to the present.
Focus on what’s happening at the moment or in the near future, like in the next half hour. Do some chores, tidy up a bit, attend to activities that require your attention right now—these can at least be helpful as a distraction from anxiety.
2. Reclaim Panic Attacks
A panic attack can feel like a heart attack, or like death is near. The body’s stress response causing the panic attack ironically means your body is fighting for its life.
Reclaim the event by relabeling what you’re going through. Remind yourself that it won’t last forever, and that it’s harmless despite the feelings it inflicts on you at that moment.
3. Try Deep Breathing
Deep and focused belly-breathing is a great way to calm down from anxious thoughts.
It involves breathing through the nostrils and focusing on the rise and fall of your belly as you breathe. There is no need to count breaths; instead, focus on the mechanism of breathing itself.
4. Do Some Mindfulness Meditation
Once you’ve tried deep breathing, it’s a no-brainer to transition to mindfulness meditation. It involves focusing on your breathing and your breathing only.
Don’t let your mind follow random thoughts as you try to focus on mindfulness. Always try to bring your focus back on your breathing.
Studies show that mindfulness meditation has positive effects on overcoming generalized anxiety disorder. It seemed to affect the subjects’ stress reactions, anxiety, and self-judgment.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Definition: Excessive anxiety brought about by intense worrying about day to day challenges, e.g. work, school, bills, etc.
Subjects also reacted differently to pain, noting that while the pain felt as severe as before, it simply felt less unpleasant.
5. Avoid Stimulants and Sugar
When under extreme stress, the stress-eating brain may automatically reach for something that it thinks makes it feel good. That’s typically stimulants like caffeine or sugar.
The bad news is that caffeine, being a known stimulant, can only exacerbate feelings of anxiety and kick up the central nervous system. Sugar, meanwhile, can cause rapid spikes in energy that results in the dreaded sugar crash.
Reach for protein and fiber-rich snacks or some water instead. They help provide a slow-burning energy source to the body.
6. Watch Something Funny
Researchers have found that humor can be effective in helping people overcome social anxiety to reappraise negative thoughts.
Reappraisal Definition: Cognitively reframing an experience or event to reduce its impact
The amygdala, a part of the brain that processes negative emotions, activates upon exposure to fear-inducing stimuli. But once a negative feeling or situation is appraised into a positive one, the frontal cortex which is responsible for planning and making decisions activates.
Reappraisal can be strengthened by constantly rewarding the frontal cortex. Laughter is a way to drain anxiety and make it easier to quickly reappraise negative feelings and situations.
Studies also show that laughter releases beta-endorphins, substances with a morphine-like effect on the brain, helping bring about a euphoric feeling by counteracting high levels of adrenaline and cortisol in anxious people.
7. Distract Yourself
Anxiety stems and worsens from a spiraling of negative thoughts. Productive distractions help by disrupting that negative spiral and feelings of not having control.
It can be as simple as standing up, taking a walk, or completing a minor chore.
8. Avoid Sleep Deprivation
Not getting enough sleep is a risk factor for anxiety. It amps up the anticipatory reactions of the brain, which worsens levels of anxiety.
The spiraling thoughts of anxious people can also prevent them from getting any decent sleep. This results in a vicious cycle that only makes either conditions worse.
Proper rest and enough sleep help manage stress hormone levels in the body. It also leaves your body and brain with enough recovery time.
9. Do Some Fact-Checking
Negative thoughts lead to negative feelings, but these feelings are not always factual. A majority of these thoughts, such as guilt, shame, and low self-worth, are often inaccurate and stem from deeply internalized sources.
Keep in mind that these negative feelings are not facts. Try looking at negative situations as objectively as possible, and try to differentiate feelings from facts.
From there, it helps to also challenge negative core beliefs that result in anxious behavior. It can be as easy as writing it all down in a journal or voicing them out loud to yourself or with a trusted companion.
10. Talk to a Therapist
Unbearable anxiety can be too overwhelming. Speaking to a well-qualified mental health professional can be helpful in overcoming anxiety and depression.
Mental health professionals are trained to spot, identify, diagnose, and help treat patients with mental health problems. They can offer a wide range of therapy options, and in the case of psychiatrists, even order blood tests to check for underlying conditions and prescribe medication.
11. Take Supplements
While there are several anti-anxiety medications out there, many of them come with side effects. These include nausea, feelings of being disoriented, hand tremors, and even hallucinations.
Taking natural supplements can be just as, if not more, effective in alleviating symptoms of anxiety. Dr. Seeds “Chill Pill” for example contains magnolia bark extract or dihydro honokiol-B (Dhh-B).
Dhh-B is a powerful anti-anxiety remedy that has similar effects as benzodiazepines, but without their harsh side effects.
Anxiety is among the most common mental health issues in the United States, but it isn’t hopeless. Staying relaxed, staying self-aware, and working to stay calm and in control are helpful.
While many cases of anxiety may have no definitive cure, acknowledging its presence and finding positive ways to frame experiences can make it a lot more manageable.
What is your go-to anti-anxiety habit? Share them with us in the comments section below!