People who suffer from anxiety may have a genetic vulnerability, which means that they’ll always struggle against it. However, the bad news ends there, as there are several simple ways to ease anxiety that you can employ in your everyday life. This article will give you a few of the tips that you’ll need to live a life that’s not fraught with tension.
Relaxation techniques are the mainstay of anxiety reduction. Although there are many other ways to reduce anxiety, they usually take practice and time. A good relaxation technique can be your savior in the midst of an anxiety attack, so it’s important to learn them when you’re feeling calmer. Solid, deep breathing is the foundation for all relaxation techniques, and it’s where you should start before moving on to more complicated exercises. Begin by taking a deep breath into your diaphragm, holding the breath for five seconds, and then slowly releasing it. You can keep doing this until you begin to feel relaxed, and over time, it will be like second nature to you. Once you’ve mastered the fine art of effective breathing, you can move onto other relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation. To begin progressive muscle relaxation, focus on a particular muscle group and tense those muscles for five seconds. Slowly release the tension and relax, making sure to breathe deeply as you are doing this. To make this especially effective, concentrate on the feeling of tension, and then the contrasting feeling of relaxation as you let the tension go.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting eight hours of sleep every night should be non-negotiable for anxiety sufferers. Sleep deprivation has become so common in our ultra-fast-paced, 24/7 society, but it’s detrimental for our health. Anxiety sufferers are especially vulnerable, however, because studies show that the effects of sleep deprivation worsen anxiety. Do whatever you have to do to get more sleep, and you can begin by making sure your sleeping space is comfortable and uncluttered, as this can be a significant source of stress. Refrain from consuming caffeine for at least a few hours before bedtime, and shut off any distracting electronics.
Eat Well and Exercise
When you have trouble with anxiety, it’s important to pay attention to what foods you are choosing to put into your body. Focus on nourishing food such as fruits and vegetables, and cut back on sugar and refined grains. Drink plenty of water, and replace that cup of coffee with a cup of chamomile tea. Try to get 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every day, even if you’re merely taking the dog for a walk. Getting your heart rate up for an extended period of time is important because it causes your brain to release endorphins, which eradicate anxiety and promote an overall sense of well-being. Don’t forget yoga, as its focus on breathing and concentration can do wonders for anxiety sufferers. In fact, studies have shown that yoga promotes a chemical called GABA in the brain, which is the same chemical that anti-anxiety medications target.
Retrain your Brain
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the therapy of choice for those who are suffering from anxiety, as it can quite literally “retrain” your brain to think more realistically. People who suffer from anxiety often fall prey to cognitive distortions that do not reflect reality, and this type of therapy teaches its patients to identify and deal with those thoughts. However, it’s not the same as positive thinking, which only focuses on replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. The key word for cognitive-behavioral is “realistic,” as it does no one any good to try replacing one delusion with another. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is successful because it’s only meant for the short-term, with the ultimate goal of teaching anxiety sufferers how to be their own therapists.
“Depression: Coping With Anxiety Symptoms. Webmd. <http://www.webmd.com> 23 Jan 2012.