Everyone once in a while gets anxious. You get anxious about an upcoming test. An upcoming meeting with an important person. Basically life gives gives us a thousand reasons to be anxious. But there are some persons out there that are in a constant state of anxiety. Individuals without anxiety disorder occasionally get anxious about certain things but for those with anxiety disorder, they live in a state of constant anxiety. They are constantly anxious about several things; making it difficult to even function daily. You can imagine how you act when maybe your child or brother at midnight is yet to come home and you have heard no news from him. You know how far the wind of sleep will stray from you, and how you’re figuratively on your toes. Some people feel that way every time.
If you or someone you know has anxiety disorder, here are a few self care strategies that can help you feel better in the long run.
- Exercise and sleep: Exercise has been shown to be a very effective self care for anxiety. Exercise increases blood flow in the body thereby making your brain get more oxygen that it needs. If the body feels good, the mind feels good too. Exercising regularly and sleeping well will help to keep anxiety at bay. Asides the biological effect of exercise, there’s the psychological effect. The ability to start an exercise session and finish it helps you have a sense of self efficacy which is needed to combat anxiety.
- Meditation: Studies have shown that meditating regularly helps to reduce anxiety. Anxiety is usually triggered by certain thoughts flying in our heads. When you sit down in a relaxed state and in a quiet environment you can identify these thoughts as what they are, thoughts and not reality. During meditation you can also incorporate breathing technique. When you take long and deep breaths, this relaxes body and mind as well.
- Connecting with others: There are times due to our anxiety we choose to avoid any form of social interactions. But connecting with friends can help build your coping resources. It’s not just going out and talking to friends but rather forming meaningful connections that serve as a support system for you. I’m sure you can remember how good you felt at that meeting with friends. The good feelings that got provoked because of that meeting. You can do well to experience these good feelings more frequently when you engage with others. Don’t let your anxiety rob you of this. It might be difficult to do but if you do it, you’ll discover that it was worth it. When I refer to meaningful interactions, I mean interactions that reduces anxiety feelings. You can choose to join a club or become a volunteer.
- Stop caffeine and products with High level of sugar: Diet doesn’t cause anxiety but can increase anxiety symptoms in an individual who already has an anxiety disorder. Foods with high level of caffeine and sugar are shortcuts to energy. They initially send a rush through your body that doesn’t last. They also increase anxiety symptoms in an individual. Instead of foods with caffeine and sugar, you should opt for fruits and vegetables. Eat healthy. Unhealthy foods make it difficult for the body to handle stress and certain overwhelming situations thus making an individual get overly anxious. Taking a balanced diet is good for the body. If the body feels good then the mind would feel good too. Make sure you take balanced diets.
- Keep a Journal: Keeping a journal can help you identify certain triggers to your anxiety. When you record the activity of the days, it helps get your mind off those thoughts that would keep ruminating in your head. You get to get better control over your emotions and thereby reducing your anxiety. Individuals with anxiety problem tend to get anxious over certain situations that they were not aware of. But writing down your thoughts in your journal can help you understand yourself better. Don’t think that you don’t have anything to write about. Just write about how you’re feeling. How a certain situation made you feel. When you are aware of your thoughts then you have the power to alter them.
Most importantly, seeking help from a qualified practitioner goes a long way to help combat anxiety. A therapist would work with you in identifying certain triggers and how you handle such triggers better.