At least 40 million people in the U.S experience anxiety, and the specific type of anxiety can range from Social Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, palpitations, trembling, extreme sweating, and PTSD. The symptoms are characterized as “intense worrying”, which can be very difficult to control.
Whether you experience a mild or extreme form of anxiety, there are steps that you can take to calm down. Curious to know how? Here are 7 awesome tips to manage anxiety:
- Stand Up Straight
When we feel anxious, we tend to hunch over to protect the upper part of the body (the chest, face, etc.). Psychologist Tamar Chansky, PHD, author of Freeing Yourself From Anxiety, recommends that people learn to stand up straight, plant both feet firmly on the ground, broaden the shoulders, and straighten the back. This is a simple and effective way to communicate to the mind that you’re not in danger, and it can help reduce anxiety. To make this process more effective, breath slowly and deeply to boost oxygen intake.
- Go for A Walk
Exercise has long been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. By taking a brisk walk, you will be able to clear your mind, enhance lucidity, and breath more deeply. A nature-walk can also boost production of “feel-good” hormones and neurotransmitters, and this can go a long way to minimize anxiety. As a matter of fact, studies show that people who exercise regularly reduce their risk of anxiety by 25 percent.
- Listen to Soothing Sounds
Music has a therapeutic effect and can reduce anxiety in many cases. Multiple studies have been published on the effects of music in the mind and body, and songs such as this one have been found to lower anxiety by as much as 60 percent in some people. Find a cool, calming song that you enjoy and put it in your phone – that way, you can pull it out and listen whenever anxiety hits.
- Get Active
Find something to do around the house (or wherever you may be), even if it’s cleaning, preparing a meal, rearranging your workstation; or go outside to smell flowers. The main idea is to distract your thought pattern and redirect attention to the task at hand. You will find that it’s much easier for you to calm down and silence the mind when your hands and eyes are engaged.
- Rationalize What’s Happening
If you notice a snickers attack coming on, instead of focusing on the rapid heartbeat, or lack of breath, try questioning your reaction instead. So, when your mind starts racing, use humor to counter the effects with a phrases like “my mind’s going nuts again”, or “this panic attack feels interesting.” Basically, use anything along those lines. This may be a useful way to detach from what’s going on in your physiology.
At some point in your mind you need to acknowledge that a panic attack is like a dark cloud of fear that passes through you, and you shouldn’t hold on to it.
(Because at the end of the day, a panic attack won’t actually hurt you, even though it might be terrifying).
- Accept That You Have Anxiety
I know this may sound counterintuitive, but acceptance might make it easier to manage anxiety. The alternative is to fight what’s going on inside you, and this can make the experience overwhelming. The first thing you’ll notice about anxiety is that there’s an inherited sense that you can’t control it once it strikes.
So instead of fighting, try to observe the entire experience as from an external point of view. Acknowledging the condition will put you in a place where you can study your anxiety and learn to manage it.
- Watch A Funny Clip
Laughter is probably the quickest way to reduce stress hormones (and anxiety). Not only does it boost your feel-good endorphins, it also increases the amount of oxygen in your body, making it easier to calm down. Look for a funny video on Reddit or put on a clip of your favorite stand-up comedian. This is just one of the ways that you can shift your thought pattern and experience a sense of calm.
Find new ways to manage anxiety, first by learning more about your triggers, and then by shifting your mind to other things that make you calm. The process of self-soothing is one of love and patience, so don’t beat yourself up for being anxious. Instead, try overcoming it by allowing it to happen, and ignoring the effects.