Health Watch: Tips to manage anxiety
Anxiety attacks can be one of the most stressful things anybody can go through. All of us experience some degree of anxiety on a fairly frequent basis. When an event in your life causes a certain unexpected and unpleasant reaction, such a circumstance typically results in anxiety. Your body reaction can vary from sweating and stuttering to sometimes heart palpitations, faster breathing and sometimes you may even faint. If such a pattern is repeated, then it becomes imperative for the person to cope with these anxiety attacks.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety acts as a normal alarm system alerting you of danger. It can be a general feeling of worry, a sudden attack of panicky feelings or a fear of a certain situation or object. It is caused by pressure, stress and continuous worry or worrying thoughts. Anxiety isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it can help you stay alert and focused, and motivate you to solve problems. However, when anxiety is constant and interferes with your relationships and activities, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
Symptoms of anxiety include:
• Muscle tension
• Shortness of breath
• Faster heartbeat
• Dry mouth
• Loss of sleep and not being able to concentrate
How to cope with anxiety?
Managing anxiety is a necessity in our modern fast-paced world. Here are some tips to help you with the same:
- De-stress regularly: In the modern word, stress has become omnipresent. One is stressed out when at home, in school, or at office, which results in anxiety. One of the very effective ways of managing anxiety is to de-stress regularly. To begin, you need to identify what is causing stress in your life, and then look for ways to reduce them. You can take the help of meditation, yoga or even a walk in the park. Whatever works for you!
- Get adequate of Sleep: Anxiety can cause insomnia, but lack of sleep can also contribute to anxiety. Sleep rests your body and replenishes it physically, mentally and emotionally. It also revitalizes your mind thus improving your general sense of wellbeing as well as your mood.
- Laugh out loud: A great way to ease anxiety is laughter. Laughter can make you forget everything. When you laugh, your body secretes endorphins which relieve the nervous tension. Even in the strongest of anxiety attacks, if the patient breaks out in laughter he will forget that he had a panic attack. Anxiety is a mental state and the only way to conquer it is to get out of that state.
- Stay organized: Most panic attacks occur because a person is unprepared for the situation. By organizing yourself, you will reduce your stress and anxiety. Having everything planned leaves no room for worries.
- Take a minute: If you don’t have time and need to de-stress, do as follows: relax. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Focus on your breathing, on your blood and the blood rushing through your veins.
- Exercise: Exercise can help decrease feelings of anxiety and can give you a sense of well-being. It boosts the oxygen and blood flow to the brain helping it to relax regularly. It also enhances well-being through the release of endorphins, the brain’s feel-good chemicals. Research shows that as little as 30 minutes of exercise three to five times a week can provide significant anxiety relief.
- Diet: Your diet should be filled with foods with a higher complex-carbohydrate concentration such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Complex carbs not only stabilize your blood sugar levels but also boost serotonin, a neurotransmitter with calming effect. You can even add some anxiety reducing herbs like kava, ginseng and milk thistle to your diet. Limit the intake of caffeinated beverages (such as coffee, tea and soft drinks) as much as possible because they increase your sense of anxiety by stimulating the nervous system. Avoid alcohol and drug abuse; they may relax you in the short run but they make the situation worse in the long run. Also reduce the amount of refined sugar you eat. Sugary desserts and snacks can leave you feeling emotionally and physically drained as they cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash.
- Relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques such as yoga, Tai Chi, progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness meditation, controlled breathing, and visualization can reduce anxiety when practiced regularly. They also increase feelings of relaxation and emotional well-being.
- Confront: The only way to tackle fear is to face it. If some things have made you anxious in the past, go ahead and do them again and again till you see no nuance in them and get used to them. Totally accept yourself as you are and believe in yourself and you will observe that anxiety just flies away.
- Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT): CBT is a common form of therapy used to treat anxiety. It is a type of psychotherapy that helps you to understand the thoughts and feelings that influence your behaviors. According to the theory behind CBT, you have automatic but inaccurate thoughts or beliefs in certain situations. For example, usually anxiety is a response to a belief in the worst possible outcome in a situation. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps you become aware of these inaccurate thoughts and beliefs. You learn to challenge and replace those beliefs with more accurate statements.