Anxiety doesn’t discriminate and can affect anybody, no matter how great their life may seem. It’s important to remember that anxiety is a condition that should be taken seriously, however with the right treatment you can learn to cope. Most people have either been affected by anxiety or know someone who has, but so many people still need to learn more about anxiety treatment.
The difficult thing about anxiety is that it can often remain quite dormant until triggered. That’s why treatment will vary considerably between different people. Everybody can have different triggers and experience a range of varying symptoms, so there definitely isn’t a ‘cure-all’ for anxiety. However, there are plenty of proven ways you can cope with anxiety aside from getting therapy for anxiety.
Question your negative thoughts
If you start feeling nervous or anxious, you may immediately start letting negative thoughts take over. Believe it or not, this is actually more common than you think. However, you can avoid these feelings of anxiety going further by questioning or challenging those negative thoughts. This takes some practice, and won’t happen overnight. But once you master it, you can prevent yourself from slipping into an anxiety attack.
Each time you start thinking negatively, try to ask yourself if there’s a logical reason to think that way. For example, if you’re worried about going out because you think the buses are always late or don’t show up. Ask yourself if there’s really much evidence to suggest the bus won’t arrive. Practice challenging this negativity each day, and you will slowly start to see a change in your initial thought pattern.
Keeping active and healthy
It’s no secret that keeping an active body helps to maintain a healthy mind. Firstly, if you experience long-term anxiety, changes to your lifestyle can definitely help. Consider your diet, for example. If you eat a lot of foods that are high in fats and sugars, you can often feel drained of energy and therefore more susceptible to anxiety.
Physical activity is also important in coping with anxiety. Exercise releases endorphins that make us feel good, which is why activity is recommended in coping with all types of mental health issues. If you’re not really into sports and don’t see yourself at the gym, that’s fine. Just try to find 30 minutes a day to go for a walk. Also, if you have a job that keeps you sitting at a desk for long periods, get up and move regularly, even if it’s just a 5-minute walk around the block.
Deep, focussed breathing
When you focus on deep breathing, it can actually take your mind away from whatever is causing your anxiety. If you feel like an anxiety attack is coming, try to slow your breathing down because this can help to combat other physical effects of anxiety.
Breathe in slowly, hold it for a moment, and then exhale slowly. If you focus on the breathing, your mind is distracted from what made you anxious in the first place. It won’t fix the problem, but it will give you room to practice other coping mechanisms such as challenging negative thoughts.
It may sound a bit too easy, but breathing actually plays a key role in managing your anxiety.
Understand your triggers
Finally, perhaps the best way to cope with anxiety is to understand your triggers. This will look different for everyone, with common triggers being caffeine and alcohol. Your triggers may be more specific to your own life, such as certain people or situations. Once you understand these triggers, you can try to avoid the ones that are bad for you (such as smoking, caffeine and alcohol), and how to gradually get used to other anxiety-inducing situations in your life.