These days, it’s impossible to escape the stressors of our everyday lives. The more we have on our plates, the more stress we encounter, and one of the negative effects of this is an overwhelming sense of anxiety. It’s important to realize that anxiety and stress are not the same thing, in that anxiety continues long after the aggravating situation is out of the picture. Anxiety is characterized by excessive worrying and an imminent fear of what’s to come, which means we’re spending tons of energy on things we can’t control.
Most of us don’t know how to deal with anxiety, and so living with the distressing tension has become the norm. The good news is there are a number of effective methods to help you cope. Read on to learn about the top 10 ways of how to deal with anxiety felt in your life.
How to Deal With Anxiety While At Home
10. Turn off the TV
Most of us spend more time than we’d like to admit in front of the television. And if we aren’t sitting down glued to the screen, we’ve probably got it on in the background at home out of sheer habit. All of that white noise and incessant chatter is not only a distraction from the things we most need to get done in our day, but programs like the local news broadcasts and the endless stream of reality television shows are many times either negative in content, or lacking in it altogether. It’s amazing how much we can get done once we turn the TV off, and how this simple action offers up answers in how to deal with our anxiety once able to deal with our own thoughts head on. Turning off the television decreases distractions, helping us to be more productive, which will ultimately ease the stress causing our anxious minds.
9. Turn On The Music
Listening to music is known to not only lower blood pressure, but also reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress in the body. Classical music, ambient or anything with harmonious, consonant sounds produces a sensation of relaxation in the body by lowering your heart rate. We recommend something like piano instrumentals or soft jazz turned on in the background while at home. Avoid agitating music or songs with heavy bass, as it will stimulate your heart rate, rather than calm your mind down. The next time you ask yourself how to deal with anxiety, think of some soft tunes to turn on and feel your tension melt away.
8. Make Realistic Lists
(Organize, Prioritize, Strategize)
Make a list of the major responsibilities in your life that must be taken care of each week or month, and then break it up into simple, easily obtainable goals to hit each day. It could be comprised of anything: “fold the laundry” could be on your list. But it needs to get done sometime, so do it and check the box. By taking these practical steps, little by little — yet very steadily — you will be reaching your overall objective and feeling more in control of your life. A proactive approach to the more controllable areas of your day helps you to learn how to deal with anxiety by managing that in which you actually have a say. Chipping away at small goals seems insignificant at times, but doing so is essential to collecting the building blocks of your larger goals, which are likely set in the future, sometimes yet to be determined, but generally too large to accomplish all in one swoop. So fold that laundry, or stop off at the post office; then the chores will be off your mind and you’ll be ready to move on to bigger and better things, which will step by step be helping you in learning how to stop anxiety.
7. Take B-Vitamins In The Morning
Try adding a new face to your morning routine: a B-complex vitamin alongside a glass of water. B-rich foods or an all-in-one B-vitamin supplement soothes the nerves and muscles. Sometimes changing diet to include more of a particular vitamin can get tricky, especially while worrying about how to deal with anxiety, so we recommend the complex vitamin, which offers nervous system support, a decrease in blood pressure, sleep aid, increased mental alertness, cognitive and recollection ability, among other positive benefits.
6. Ditch The Coffee and Opt For Tea Instead
I know we all immediately resort to more and more caffeine in order to get work done throughout the day, which we think will lessen our stress levels, putting our nervous minds at ease. But while considering how to deal with anxiety, this mode of thinking is more destructive than we realize. Perhaps counter-intuitively, passing on the cups of coffee and choosing a cup of tea with half the caffeine can actually boost our productivity levels. Here’s why: caffeine stresses out our adrenal system and, long-term, can really wreak some havoc on our adrenal glands. Short-term, caffeine causes parts of our brain to run in over-drive, which might sound appealing, save for that actually translates to an unfocused and chaotic mind, easily susceptible to more situational stress. A mind high on caffeine loses, largely, the ability to remain calm in high-stress situations while diminishing its clarity and centeredness, and we will need both for problem solving and logical thinking. Try, instead, some green tea. It still gives you a slight kick, lowers cholesterol, and also holds all of the nutritional benefits of potent antioxidants, anti-aging properties, as well as L-theanine, an amino acid known for calming and soothing our nervous system. When strategizing for your life and considering how to deal with anxiety, keep a clear head and a lowered heart-rate with a little less caffeine.
5. Go See A Funny Movie
Laughter releases endorphins and acts as a mood lifter, decreasing the stress-causing hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Seeing a funny a movie is a great option for how to deal with anxiety, not because it serves as a distraction from life’s problems, but because laughing actually tricks your nervous system into feeling as if it’s happy. And while it’s tricked, it actually becomes happy. Use this method to break out of your rut on the days you just can’t escape your own punishing thoughts. This suggestion might be temporary, but if you are truly making efforts to learn how to deal with anxiety and focusing on the importance of keeping laughter in your life, you will realize the vast benefits of stopping to catch the punch line. You may even be delivering some yourself!
4. Chew or Crunch on Things
Studies show that those who chew on gum or crunch on a healthful snack produce less cortisol than those who don’t – AND exhibit increased alertness and multi-tasking ability. Wow! This is a simple method in how to deal with anxiety that triply benefits you. We caution against excessive gum chewing, as that might lead to an over-use of your jaw muscles, but moderately done, this can be another effective option for how to deal with anxiety. We see all around us people stress eating while quickly grabbing a bag of potato chips at a convenience store, but to employ this anxiety-decreasing method right, avoid the chips and grab some carrot sticks instead. This might sound a lot less fun, but your body will thank you for it later – and it’ll give you one less thing to worry about in the future.
3. Breath Deeply
Sounds simple enough, right? It’s probably not revelatory news to you, but there is good reason that staying mindful of your breathing is often advised as an excellent quelling method in how to deal with anxiety. Buddhist monks for centuries have realized the benefits of deliberate breathing for a total body affect, and we can learn from their example. Paying attention to each breath calms and quiets the mind, gives us something to focus on, and helps to decrease our heart rate and blood pressure. Stay mindful of inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling out of your mouth to fully oxygenate your body. Slow down, watch your breath and visualize each time you inhale and exhale. These are the basics for practicing mediation, which can help you to control your thoughts and de-clutter your head. Some people scoff at the idea of meditation or shrug it off saying they just don’t have the time, but even two minutes a day of focused, controlled breathing will bring you noticeable psychological benefits. People seeking answers in how to deal with anxiety will be surprised that attempting just a few minutes a day routinely or during peak times of stress can instantly relax your mind and bring you back to your centered self.
How to Deal With Anxiety By Shifting Your Paradigm
2. Give Yourself A Break
This works in two ways. Time-wise, take a few minutes to yourself at random. Maybe even take an hour midday with your cell phone turned off and let everybody know that the “business of You” is closed for lunch. No calls or emails will be taken. No questions answered. Sometimes we just need to stop everything we are doing and gather up our wits before we can get back to it and make the kind of moves we want to make. It’s easy to get caught up in our jobs, our families, our social obligations, our aspirations and our egos, but every once in a while when your anxiety is getting the best of you and hampering your progress, stop everything and take a break. This is a sure-fire strategy in how to deal with anxiety that can be done anywhere. Next, be gentle on yourself. Be kind in self-directed speech. Perhaps think about how realistic your expectations of yourself are, and consider if some might be too lofty and are actually contributing to your anxiety-ridden mind. Stop worrying about situation “X” right now. Just stop it. Tell yourself you’ve done all you can for the moment, and you will worry about it tomorrow (if, in fact, it is actually something that requires worry at all). More often than not, the anxious feeling over that “what-if” scenario you stayed up all night rehearsing in your head never happens. Save the energy and indulge in those sleep hours so you can attack the day with your best foot and a more rested head.
1. Practice Acceptance
There simply are things we cannot change. Intellectually, we know this, but we don’t often abide by it. Expending energy on immoveable aspects of our lives day in and day out does a number on us, and probably on those around us as well. This works against us when our reserves should be intended for the kind of things that will benefit our psyche – say, a good night’s sleep before an important presentation at work, or a clear and present mind at our son’s birthday party. Practicing acceptance of the things in life that we fear but cannot control or contain makes way for us to live our lives in a more relaxed and natural fashion, feeling happy while doing it. Imagine that! Most of the looming dangers we worry about seldom happen. While learning how to deal with anxiety, take things day by day, and then see what comes up. For the things that you can prepare for, do so; for the things that you can’t, “roll with the punches.” Confront the issues that are at hand, but be easy on yourself and on others, as we are all fighting tough battles each and every day. We’re all just doing the best we can; let’s make it easier on each other and ourselves.
Embracing your anxiety, knowing that it will pass and allowing for those feelings to run their course are vital parts of coping with a restless mind. In nature, animals react to stressful situations with a fight or flight response. But we’re humans, and although we react much in an identical way, in our daily lives we often times must stay in situations that provoke this natural response in us. Sometimes this instinctual reaction holds long durations in response to stressors, which we experience as anxiety, and we can’t do either, fight nor flight. We can only accept. Hopefully the above methods on how to deal with anxiety will shine some light at the end of the tunnel and help you take your life back into your own hands.