If you’re dealing with an anxiety disorder, you’re not alone; anxiety affects about 40 million adults in the United States.1 Left untreated, living with anxiety can affect your health and interfere with your daily activities. Fortunately, there are many ways to manage your anxiety and keep your symptoms under control.
In this article, we’ll discuss some coping strategies that can benefit anyone living with anxiety.
Give Yourself a Timeout
When you’re feeling high levels of anxiety, it can be helpful to take a step back. A variety of relaxation techniques can clear your mind, such as meditation, calming music, yoga or even a massage. If you don’t have time for these stress-reducing activities, a series of slow, deep breaths can help you feel more centered.
Take Care of Your Body
It’s hard to manage your anxiety when you’re not taking care of your health. Many healthy lifestyle habits can also help you deal with your anxiety:
Eat a balanced diet: Try not to skip meals, and carry some nutritious snacks with you to keep your energy levels up. Calorie deprivation can increase the feeling of mental fog.
Watch your alcohol and caffeine consumption: These substances can make your anxiety worse, and some people even find they trigger panic attacks.
Get regular exercise: Exercise is good for both your body and mind, and it can also help reduce stress levels. Even if you can’t fit lengthy workouts into your busy schedule, you can still reap the benefits of exercise. A simple 10-minute walk has been shown to elevate mood.
Get enough sleep: Sleep is an important tool for battling anxiety; in fact, a lack of sleep can cause increased levels of stress even in individuals who don’t have an anxiety disorder.
Get the Right Treatment
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most common therapeutic techniques used to treat anxiety. In CBT sessions, clients gain a better understanding of the relationship between their thoughts and their anxiety. Clients learn to restructure their thought patterns in a way that doesn’t fuel the cycle of anxiety.
Some individuals also benefit from the use of medication to treat their anxiety. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are commonly used to treat anxiety. These medications increase the amount of serotonin made available to the body, which improves mood.2
Another type of medication that produces similar effects is the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor class. For short-term treatment of anxiety, benzodiazepines are also an effective option; however, the risk of addiction makes them less suitable for long-term anxiety management.
Living with anxiety isn’t easy, but you don’t need to let your anxiety disorder control your life. It’s possible to succeed and thrive with this condition. With the right treatment and a good set of coping strategies, you’ll be well equipped to live the life you want to live. If you’re interested in receiving counseling or psychiatric therapy for anxiety, contact The Light Program at (610) 644-6464.