The National Institute of Mental Health says that anxiety is quite common. About 31% of American adults suffer from it sometime in their lives. The CDC also says it’s also on the rise today. It’s about three times higher than it was in 2019.
This is part of the human condition. It exists to help identify potential threats and protect us from them too. In this way, it’s healthy. However, when it becomes so excessive that it interferes with your daily living, then it’s problematic.
Fortunately, some tools will help you here.
Talk to a Someone You Trust
Unfortunately, only about 37% of people who suffer from anxiety receive treatment. This is because it’s looked on with shame as if it were some type of weakness. Therefore people suffer in silence – something that only amplifies your thoughts of worry. Talking to a trustworthy person will enhance your relationship with them because now they have a better understanding of what you’re going through so they can try to help you. Even just having someone sit with you can help you separate yourself from your feelings.
Get Some Exercise
According to research, exercise can reduce the symptoms of anxiety in numerous ways. One way is by regulating the stress response of your hypothalamic adrenal pituitary (HPA) axis. It’s also been shown to have a strong effect on your brain’s hippocampus (the part of your brain that’s responsible for regulating stress).
Exercise also works because it promotes self-efficacy. This is because regardless of your fitness level, with exercise you set and achieve goals. It doesn’t matter what the goal is, achieving it is empowering. Once you’ve created this blueprint you can transfer it to the other parts of your life.
Additionally, exercise teaches us to focus on the here and now. This is important because when you’re feeling anxious you’re not feeling present. Instead, you’re either focusing on the future or ruminating on the past. When you’re exercising none of these things matter because you’re concentrating on your physical safety at that moment.
It’s easy to lose perspective when you’re feeling anxious. Instead of focusing on the here and now we’ll oftentimes find ourselves engaging in catastrophic thinking. This causes us to ignore any potential outcomes opting only to fixate on the worst possible one, regardless of how unlikely it may be to occur.
For a healthy dose of perspective, practice gratitude. This doesn’t dismiss the fact that life is challenging or that misfortune occurs but it does provide us with a healthy counterbalance. So regardless of how hectic life gets, spend a few minutes focusing on something you can be thankful for each day.
Journaling is a great way to identify and analyze what thoughts are provoking anxiety. These thoughts don’t just come out of the blue nor should we accept them at face value without questioning whether they’re accurate.
By writing your thoughts down you’re better able to use all your senses to analyze them. This is because you can see them there in front of you and even say them out loud. Since they’re reduced to only a few short sentences it may help you to be able to analyze them and make these thoughts/feelings more manageable.
Get Plenty of Sleep
There’s a strong correlation between anxiety and sleep. While spikes interfere with your ability to fall asleep, insomnia can make you feel even worse. This is why it’s so important to practice good sleep hygiene. This means setting up a schedule so you go to bed and get up at the same time every day – even on weekends.
If you find that anxiety is interfering with your daily living or you’re having physical symptoms, it’s time to contact Advantage Mental Health Center in Tampa Bay & Clearwater, FL, for help.
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