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  • Tips for Managing Anxiety

    Tips for Managing Anxiety

    Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the United States, affecting approximately 40 million adults. While anxiety can feel debilitating, there are many ways to cope with it. Here are a few suggestions to help you deal with anxious feelings.

    Slow Your Breathing

    When we feel anxious, our breathing becomes quicker and more shallow. This way of breathing actually makes us feel even more anxious, and therefore creates a vicious cycle. When you feel anxiety coming on, noticing and focusing on your breath can be extremely helpful. It provides an opportunity to slow your breathing down, in order to begin to reset your physical reaction to the present anxiety. Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Repeat this breathing pattern, while focusing your mind on your breath. Do this three to five times until you feel calm. Pay attention when your breath travels from your throat and reaches your lungs. Think about how it feels as you inhale and exhale. Mindful breathing means you are attentive to your breath, and not focusing on the anxious thoughts that triggered the rapid breathing initially.

    Self Care

    Studies have shown that just 20 minutes of exercise each day can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety. Getting out of the house for a mindful walk can certainly help manage anxious feelings. Exercise also floods your body with feel-good endorphins, which assist in turning your mood around. It feels good to take care of yourself, whether by walking, bike riding, playing a sport, or going to the gym. In addition, lessening or eliminating your caffeine intake can reduce the likelihood of having an episode of panic.

    Remind Yourself of Reality

    People who experience anxiety may also benefit from reminding themselves that they are actually going to be okay when an anxiety attack comes on. Having some “go-to” positive self-statements can be beneficial. Tracking thoughts related to anxiety is also extremely useful, so you can begin to work on changing behaviors and irrational thinking patterns. Therapy can be very effective in helping people to manage anxious thoughts and feelings. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in exploring treatment options.