Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in the world, affecting an estimated 31% of adults in the United States. That's more than 60 million people!
While it can be uncomfortable and disruptive, it is important to remember that anxiety is not a sign of weakness or failure. It is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. However, for some people, anxiety can become so severe that it interferes with their daily lives.
One of the first steps to managing anxiety is to understand what it is and how it works. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease and can often lead to physical symptoms such as a racing heart and sweating. It can also be a symptom of a mental health condition, such as anxiety disorder or panic disorder.
Anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors that vary from person to person. Some common factors include:
- Stressful life events
- Traumatic experiences
- Medical conditions
- Substance abuse
- Certain medications
Once you have a better understanding of your anxiety, you can start to develop strategies for coping with it. Below are a few methods to help manage your anxiety that you can practice at home!
1. Practice relaxation techniques.
Relaxation techniques can help calm your mind and body. Deep breathing is a simple but effective technique. When you breathe deeply, you send a message to your body that everything is okay which can help to slow your heart rate and lower blood pressure. Meditation can help you to focus on the present moment and let go of worries about the past or future. Yoga combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. The combination helps to improve your flexibility, strength, and balance while also helping to lessen anxiety and stress.
2. Get regular exercise.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. It can also help to improve your sleep, which can further reduce anxiety.
3. Eat a healthy diet.
Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help to improve your mood and reduce anxiety. Avoid consuming processed foods, sugary drinks, caffeine, and alcohol. Caffeine is a stimulant that can make you feel more anxious. Alcohol is a depressant that can worsen anxiety symptoms the next day.
4. Take breaks.
Taking breaks can help you to clear your head. When you're feeling overwhelmed, it's important to take a minute, step away from the situation, and do something that you enjoy. This could be reading, listening to music, or taking a walk.
5. Set realistic goals.
When you set unrealistic goals for yourself, it can make you feel like you're constantly failing. Instead, aim for goals that are challenging but achievable. This will help you feel a sense of accomplishment and relieve anxiety symptoms.
6. Talk to someone.
If you're struggling with anxiety, it's important to talk to someone. This could be a friend, family member, or anyone you trust. Talking about your anxiety can help you feel less alone and more supported.
If you’ve tried “at-home” coping mechanisms, but your anxiety is still interfering with your daily life, it's important to look for professional guidance. There is no shame in seeking help. A therapist or counselor can help you understand your anxiety, identify your triggers, and develop effective treatments.
Anxiety is not your fault, it is a medical condition, not a character flaw. So if you are struggling, always remember that you are not alone and that there is help available.
If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety, professional help is close by!
- Dr. Fox TMS - 204 N Cedar St Suite 100, Summerville, SC 29483
- Tricounty Behavioral Health - 9263 Medical Plaza Dr, North Charleston, SC 29406
- Thriveworks Counseling & Psychiatry - 4975 Lacross Rd # 351, North Charleston, SC 29406
- Berkeley Community Mental Health Center - 403 Stoney Landing Rd, Moncks Corner, SC 29461