Anxiety affects more of us than ever before, and it’s no surprise why. We live increasingly busy lives, and stress can play a major part in causing or exacerbating the symptoms of anxiety. Whether it’s a now-and-again occurrence or a problem that’s impacting your enjoyment of life, it’s important to know that there are ways to manage – and even rid yourself of- anxiety.
It’s crucial to speak to a healthcare professional if you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety, as they can give you the support you need to get back on track. In conjunction with this, use the tips below to help reduce your anxiety and find peace of mind.
Talking Therapy Can Help
The most effective way to deal with anxiety – and the various ways it can manifest – is to go along for therapy. A trained counselor can help you to work through and process your feelings and reactions, identify your triggers, and come up with strategies to help you manage your symptoms. Therapy is usually hugely beneficial, and many people report that, after a series of sessions, they are free from anxiety and fully enjoying life again.
For some, attending in-person sessions is difficult; this could be due to practical considerations around travel or work schedules, for example. For others, anxiety itself makes traveling to see a therapist in person problematic. There is a solution, however: online therapy is a convenient and comparatively cost-effective way to access counseling from home and at a time that suits you.
When choosing an online therapist, ensure that the platform you’re using features only professional, qualified therapists that have been thoroughly vetted. You may also wish to find an option that offers a pricing plan so that you can choose the one that best suits your needs and circumstances. To give you an idea of what you can expect to pay, the Betterhelp cost ranges from $35 to $70 a week, and sessions can be booked for individuals, couples, or teens. Most online therapy platforms will allow you to speak with your counselor via messaging, video call, live chat, or telephone call.
Take Care of Yourself
Looking after yourself and your needs is one of the best things you can do for both body and mind. You might be surprised at just how significant a role diet can play in good mental health, along with getting enough rest and staying well hydrated.
Make some little changes today to see an improvement. Boost your energy levels and sense of wellbeing by upping your intake of fruit and veg: simply add a handful of spinach to a pasta dish, throw in some peas if you’re cooking a risotto, or take a pot of berries to work to snack on. All of these things will add up and help to keep your body and mind nourished.
Stay on top of your hydration levels by keeping a jug of water in the fridge that contains the recommended daily intake so that you can see how much you should be drinking a day. Sip throughout the hours, and add some sliced fruit, a teaspoon of cinnamon, or a dash of lime to pep things up.
When it comes to sleeping, adopting some healthy habits will pay dividends and help keep anxiety levels low. Try not to use a device for at least a few hours before bed, and consider installing blackout blinds on your bedroom windows if light from the neighbors or street lamps is creeping into the room. Unwind with a warm bath or a hot milky drink before hitting the hay and just before you tuck yourself in, spritz some lavender mist onto your pillow to help you doze off peacefully.
Challenge Your Thoughts
This is a popular and effective technique used as part of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) counseling and involves becoming mindful of our patterns of thought so that we can change them – which will subsequently alter our behavior…and so our thoughts.
Start by noticing your anxious thoughts as they arise. Once you’ve done this, challenge the thought that has presented itself. So, for example, if you are at work and have become very anxious that you won’t be able to complete a task competently, ask yourself for evidence that this is so: is your work usually acceptable – or even of very high quality? Is the thought based on a string of substandard work, or was there perhaps a single incident from years ago – when you were ill, maybe, or overwhelmed?
Next, replace the thought with a new one. Instead of your internal voice telling you that you can’t complete a task well, say to yourself: ‘I am good at my job. I got a promotion recently because of my capabilities. I am more than up to his task.’ Now keep saying it to yourself every time the original anxious thought rears its head. This technique takes practice but has proven to be very effective.
Finally, focusing on your breath mindfully is a great way to calm down quickly or can be used throughout the day to help you stay on top of anxiety levels. If you practice yoga, you’ll be aware of the importance of breathwork to well-being and maintaining a sense of calm.
Simply find somewhere quiet, and close your eyes. Focus all of your attention on your breath, feeling the sensations in your body as you take the air into your lungs and then release it. Imagine your worries, or the sense of anxiety or foreboding, leaving your body with your outward breath. You could also picture your anxious thoughts as clouds floating across the sky: notice them, but resist engaging with them.
After a few moments, or when you feel calm, open your eyes, and enjoy a sense of peace before getting on with your day.