What is Anxiety Like?
Almost 33.7% of the world’s population suffers from depression – that’s a lot! You’d think that with such a majority of individuals suffering from this, most of us would understand this disorder. However, that is far from the truth. Anxiety is still hugely misunderstood, with individuals suffering from this condition being labelled as an attention-seeker or just stubborn and refusing to get better.
Clinical anxiety can cause you to feel fretful, distracted, and at times such as when you get a panic attack which can happen out of nowhere, you might feel paralyzed and struggle to breathe as your brain magnifies any possible dangers from small stimulations. In this article, we review several methods for you to fight off anxiety once and for all.
If you are suffering from anxiety, you will most probably find yourself worrying excessively about all the scenarios that are not currently happening. These worries could be in the form of ‘what-if’ questions and thinking about the worst possible scenarios that could happen to you at that very instant – “What if I can’t fall asleep tonight?”, “What if I mess up this job and I have to reimburse back thousands of dollars?”, “What if I die here, right now, suddenly and no one realizes?”
It’s easy for your mind to wander far away when you are not careful, which is why one of the ways we propose for you to do a reality check is by replacing ‘what-if’ with ‘what-is’. Ask yourself what is happening at that very instant, and focus on the present. Rather than worrying about something that might or might not happen in the future, ground yourself to ‘now’ by reflecting on questions such as “What is happening right now?”, “What am I doing now?”, “What is the task at hand?”
Whenever you catch yourself worrying about the possible future scenarios, do this reality check to stay in the present. By forming this habit, you will be able to calm your anxious thoughts, one at a time.
A Schedule to Follow
On some days, you might wake up feeling lost, unsure about how to get through your day. To tackle this issue, it might do you some good if you have a small to-do list of things that you can do the next day before you go to sleep. Keep track of things that you can do and what you would like to accomplish, and you might find that this structure, although very minor, will help you to get through the day.
You do not need to stick strictly to the schedule or to-do list that you have made; rather, this serves as something that can free your mind from worrying about what you can do next or what unexpected event will happen in your day. For some, having a behavioral pattern with some responsibilities in it – going for a jog, talking your dog for a walk, doing some daily laundries, can help you to avoid some discomforts to start your day.
If you are not sure where to start, you can go along with placing your keys in the same basket each time you get home, or feeding your cat first and foremost right after you wake up. As the habit forms, you won’t need to spend 10 minutes before heading out frantically searching for items you need to bring or worry about forgetting to feed your pet when you are already approaching your workplace.
The Anxiety-Free Diet
When it comes to anxiety, the phrase ‘you are what you eat’ can ring truer than you might imagine. Anxiety can be caused by hormonal imbalance or vitamin deficiencies in our body. In fact, if you eat foods with high vitamin B, omega-3 and whole-grain carbohydrates, you might see a massive improvement in your overall well-being. Vitamin B has been known to promote good mental health, while ingesting more omega-3s can reduce some symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. The carbohydrates contained in the whole-grain foods will regulate the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter in our brain that is responsible for our calmness and satiation among others. If anything, your symptoms might even worsen if you take more sugar-rich foods, so do refrain from eating those!
Whether or not you are suffering from anxiety, you will find that meditation can do wonders for you. Even if you are new to meditation, there are plenty of websites and apps online now from which you can access guided meditation sessions. Apps such as Headspace, for one, will guide you to a better mindfulness by regulating your breathing rhythms and helping you to feel more aware of your body – which will get you to feel much more relaxed than you might expect. After a meditation session, your mind will be cleared and your body will feel a lot more relaxed.
If you are having a particularly tough day, you can have a longer meditation session and keep pulling your attention back to your breathing rhythms or grounding yourself back to reality. The more you meditate, the more your brain will rewire itself to experience less stress as time passes. As for your breathing exercises, you might find that consciously taking deep and long breaths is an effective way to let your mind know that it is alright to relax.
Challenge One Limit Each Day
It’s perfectly normal to have things that you don’t want to do. Recognize something that you don’t want to do simply because there is an easier solution. Perhaps you are thinking of bailing the solo movie session that you have bought a ticket for because you don’t want to be seated next to a total stranger, or you don’t feel like taking the bus on a certain morning because it was more crowded than comfortable for you.
Note these ‘I don’t want to,’ events in your daily life, and do one of these ‘no’ items each day. The act of going past your discomforts, knowing that you have achieved something that you didn’t want to but still did, will provide you some relief afterwards. The sense of accomplishment can help you to make one small positive change a day since you know that you are taking action instead of not doing anything about your discomfort.
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