6 Lifestyle Changes to Manage Anxiety

Woman sitting on the floor in the corner of a room with her head down on her knees.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there are nearly 261 million adults worldwide who have some form of anxiety disorder.

While anxiety is treatable, only about one-third of people actually take action to reduce or eliminate the effects. This is understandable since anxiety shows up differently for everyone and is often difficult to diagnose. Maybe you have some level of social anxiety, panic disorder, stress-induced anxiety, or a specific phobia. Maybe you don’t even realize you’re experiencing symptoms that could be reduced or eliminated with anti-anxiety treatments. So, let’s start there. How do you know if you have anxiety?

What are the Common Symptoms of Anxiety?

The first time you experienced anxiety you may not have realized what it was. Most symptoms are easily confused with other conditions including the common cold, stress, low blood sugar, or lack of sleep. The most important thing to do is pay attention to your body and how you react in certain situations. If anything feels off, it probably is anxiety.

The Most Commonly Reported Symptoms of Anxiety Include:

  • Restlessness
  • An inability to focus or communicate
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Tightness in the throat or chest
  • Breathlessness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Sweaty or clammy hands
  • Feeling irritable without explanation
  • Muscle tension or soreness

And then there are the sleep-related issues. Millions of people are not getting the sleep they need because of a range of reasons from over-caffeinating, stress, and being over-committed. If you have problems falling asleep, staying asleep, or if you feel tired after a full eight hours of sleep, these may also be possible signs of anxiety.

How Can You Begin Managing Anxiety?

Anxiety isn’t picky about whose life it impacts. Biological factors like genetics and brain chemistry can be to blame but so can environmental stressors. We live in a society where we are bombarded with chatter from the internet, television, family obligations, careers, hobbies, and more. So where do we even begin?

The first step is admitting that you have anxiety. So many of us refuse to listen to our bodies and would rather suffer than admit that we should change our lives, our routines, our relationships, or ask for help. Step one is to stop being stubborn, you are not alone in this and you can feel better.

While some levels of anxiety require medication, the majority of cases can be kept under control or eliminated with changes in lifestyle.

Here are 6 Lifestyle Changes for Managing Anxiety:

  1. Make time for yourself, and then actually use it

Scheduling and taking some time each day to let your brain slow down and process the events of the past 24 hours is incredibly therapeutic.

  1. Experience nature

Fresh air, sunshine, and green spaces all improve mental wellness. Make a goal to spend some outside time every day no matter what the weather.

  1. Find someone to talk to honestly and openly

Finding professional help is a great option, but often a good friend with an open ear can be all you need to push through the rough patches.

  1. Breathe

Stop and refocus using breathing exercises. The increased oxygen to your brain often gives you the little boost you need to calm your mind and carry on.

  1. Stop multitasking

Asking your brain to process multiple tasks at once leads to fog and frustration. Dedicate 100% of your focus to a single task at a time before you move on to the next. Not only will you get more accomplished, but your brain will feel less scrambled.

  1. Take care of yourself on the inside!

You’ve heard it before, but it makes a big difference. Eat healthy food, exercise often, get enough sleep, and find joy in doing something creative.

Above all know that you are not alone.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t ignore the fact that your body is trying to tell you to slow down, change your routines, or cut out the negative events in your life.

Do you or does someone you know struggle with anxiety? Leave a comment below and let us know what you recommend to help refocus your mind and to manage anxiety.

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*Adapted from a post originally published October 2, 2018

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