Tips to manage anxiety

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I feel like I can’t escape my thoughts”. “My chest feels like it’s about to cave in and my heart starts racing”. “I want to stop overthinking things”. “I tend to overanalyze things”. These are common concerns for those who suffer from anxiety.

Anxiety can swoop upon before you know it and it feels like a heavy cloud on your mind. Anxiety gives you a restless and distracted feeling.

Here are 6 ways to manage anxiety:

1. COMBAT NEGATIVE THOUGHTS. When you are anxious your thoughts fall into a negative pattern. You want to combat your negative beliefs to see if they are rational. You can combat your thoughts by comparing evidence for and against your negative thoughts. Many times after doing this activity you will find that there is not reasonable evidence for your negative thought which helps you reach a calmer state and thought behind an event.

2. ENGAGE IN DEEP BREATHING. A great way to deep breathe is the 4/7/8 technique. In this excercise, you breathe in deep for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7, and exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat this as many times as needed to reach a calm point.

3. TAKE A COLD SHOWER/ USE A COLD TOWEL ON YOUR NECK. The cold temperature acts as a “shock to the system” that is able to ground you back to the present moment.

4. GET ACTIVE. Find a form of the exercise that you can do daily. Exercise has been shown to increase endorphins and the “feel good hormone” serotonin.

5. TAKE A TIMEOUT. Whenever you begin to start feeling overwhelmed you want to enlist your coping skills. TAKE time to do yoga, listen to music, journal, get a massage or anything that allows you to gather your thoughts.

6. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. It is essential to get enough sleep and maintain a balanced diet. Self care is an essential component to being able to manage stressors more effectively.

Knowing your triggers and body reactions is key to managing your anxiety. You want to use the anxiety managment tips before you reach your “boiling point”. On a 10 point scale where 0 is no disturbance and 10 is the most disturbed you can be, you want to start using management techniques when you feel yourself getting to a 4. It’s easier to alleviate the effects of anxiety when you tune into your body and begin using your management techniques early on. Everyone has anxiety from time to time, however if these feelings begin to consume you and affect daily functioning it may be time to seek out some help.

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