Are you looking for ways to cope with anxiety? Let’s face it, 2020 has been one heck of a year! Many in our nation and worldwide are struggling with anxiety and stress in their lives. If this sounds familiar, here are six suggestions for helping you manage and cope with anxiety in your life.
#1 Understand your triggers
You can learn to identify triggers on your own or with a counselor in your area. Sometimes triggers can be fairly obvious. These can be things like drinking caffeine, eating too much sugar, overcommitting to a busy schedule, or working too much. Other times they can be less obvious, like relational issues or negative thought patterns.
If you experience anxiety and stress from long term issues such as financial or work-related situations, this may take some time to figure out. Outside support with trained professionals may be required. Working through other stressors such as relational or family issues may be helped by spending time with friends who can go a little bit deeper with you. But if the anxiety is more complex than a friend or family member can address, setting up an appointment with a counselor is a natural next step.
Some general triggers we see frequently:
- Feeling alone or isolated
- Conflict with spouse
- Work-related distress
- Conflict with other family members
- Medical issues
- Feeling “stuck”
- Coexisting depression
#2 Try Meditation
Meditation is a wonderful tool to overcome anxiety. When done regularly, it can help train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise. Meditation has been proven to lower blood pressure, heart rates, and breath rates while providing an overall sense of well-being. It is a simple and inexpensive tool that doesn’t require any special equipment. You can also practice meditation wherever you are – on a walk, in the middle of a meeting, riding a bus, waiting in a doctor’s office, at a sporting event, or even in the barbershop. If you are new to meditation and don’t know where to start, there are many different applications that you can download to help you.
#3 Exercise Regularly
Even in small amounts, it is very important to exercise on a regular basis. Exercise has proven to help with anxiety while encouraging overall mind, body, and spirit wellness. If you do not already have an exercise routine and need a place to start, here are a few ideas that may help you:
- Go for a walk with a friend or loved one
- Do a few push-ups between commercials during one of your favorite shows
- Go for a walk during a phone or conference call
- Wake up 30 minutes earlier and go to the gym or exercise with an online program
- If you have a stand-up desk, try to stand up a good amount of the day and do squats while you are standing up
- If you have a sit-down desk, sit on an exercise ball. This will engage your core and keep your body active
Before beginning any routine, it is important to consult with your doctor to make sure it is appropriate for you.
#4 Sleep well
Professors at Harvard Medical School, recommend at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night. People who regularly get fewer than 6 hours of sleep “have a higher risk for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and cognitive decline.” A lack of sleep also can contribute to weight gain and higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
Scientists at Harvard have uncovered that a brain cleaning function actually occurs when your brain is at rest. When you sleep, there is a waste clearance system in the body that is known as the lymphatic system that “washes” the brain.
If you find yourself having interrupted sleep or you are tired throughout the day, there are doctors that specialize in sleep studies to help you have a more restful sleep.
#5 Seek Help from Your Local Health Provider
As anxiety can be caused by other medical issues (thyroid for example) and medication interactions, you may want to seek assistance from your certified health practitioner, general practitioner, or functional medicine doctor to rule out any underlying conditions. Often, your physician can help in other ways such as recommending natural supplements that help regulate your body’s response to stress. He or she may also be able to identify any dietary or environmental contributors to anxiety such as food or chemical sensitivities.
#6: Seek an Anxiety Counselor Near You
If you struggle with anxiety, and lifestyle changes do not seem to be making an impact, contact a local counselor who specializes in anxiety. Anxiety counselors can help you identify your specific triggers. When working with a counselor, you will also have the opportunity to learn your personal response to anxiety while developing new ways to cope and perhaps break the hold it has on your daily life.
Anxiety is something that you do not need to battle alone. There are professionals who can help you not only cope, but also work toward reducing the anxiety in your life. At Family Renewal Counseling, our counselors are trained to help you develop tools and techniques to help you overcome the anxiety that weighs you down. If you are struggling with anxiety, contact us today and get started on your path to a less stressful and less anxious you.