It’s estimated that over 40 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder, but what exactly is anxiety? Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, fear, or unease, and we all experience it at some point in our lives. You may feel tense, sick, physically uncomfortable, and in extreme situations, you may feel as though your chest is tightening. Anxiety can affect your ability to think clearly, and you’ll often consider all the worst possible outcomes in different scenarios. Unfortunately, this pattern of thinking can affect your behavior. For example, you might start to avoid certain places or people, or you may constantly check work emails in case you miss something. If your anxiety is starting to affect your life, here are some tips on how to manage it effectively.
Change Your Thought Process
When you suffer from anxiety, it can affect the way you interpret certain things. If you are feeling particularly anxious, for example, and you receive a text from your friend or an email from your boss that seems a little abrupt, you may instantly assume you have done something wrong. It’s important to recognize these intrusive thoughts so that you do not accept them as fact. Instead, stop and question whether what you are thinking is simply an opinion. If so, it stands to reason that you do not need to feel anxious and let your thought process spiral.
Concentrate on Your Breathing
Anxiety is a response to stress, and it’s perfectly normal. It triggers your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response, which protects you when you are under threat. However, the fight or flight response will trigger a rush of adrenaline and your heart rate will increase. This is useful in a situation where you are about to be attacked, but not so useful if you are about to head to the grocery store, or for a job interview, for example. If you recognize that your anxious feelings are becoming intense, simply concentrating on your breathing can help to settle your body down to a more balanced state. You will need to breathe in slowly through your nose while placing a hand on your tummy. Watch your hand rise, and when you breathe slowly out through your mouth, watch your hand fall. Do this five times.
Consult Your Doctor
If your anxiety is starting to affect your day-to-day life, where you are having difficulty concentrating, your sleep pattern is disturbed, you constantly feel restless, and your muscles are always tense, it’s important to seek help from a specialist. A doctor can refer you for cognitive behavioral therapy, or they may even prescribe medication. CBT can be useful since it will teach you to confront any underlying fears and it will help you learn and practice social skills. You may also want to look into natural supplements such as St. John’s Wort, Valerian, or Kratom. Kratom is a plant that is gaining in popularity since it can help with reducing anxiety, improving your confidence, and elevating your mood. KratomIQ covers it extensively if you want to learn more.
Lastly, don’t forget that your friends and family are there to help support you, and they would want you to reach out if you are feeling overwhelmed. Let someone close to you know that you want to talk and then ask if you can meet them for a coffee. If you let them know you need to vent beforehand, they will show up ready to listen, and you’ll start to feel much better and supported as a result. If you don’t have anyone you would feel comfortable talking to, try a helpline, look for a local ‘coffee and chat’ group in your area, or join an online group.
Although anxiety may always be a part of your life, you don’t have to let it take over. Use these tips to help you manage the condition.