If you are or have suffered from anxiety, you know how difficult it can be to enjoy your everyday life due to this mental health issue. While it is common to feel anxious occasionally, some people experience severe levels of chronic anxiety. Their mind and body go through constant stress, negative thinking patterns, muscle tension, rapid heart rate, fear, and the feeling of being unable to get out of the rut. Since all these can impact your quality of life, it is important to learn how to manage anxiety.
For many people, over-the-counter medications and therapy are the most helpful in reducing anxiety symptoms. However, one cannot rely only on these methods to completely get rid of anxiety. Incorporating some lifestyle changes along with your medications is one of the best ways to deal with this condition. So, in this post, we shall discuss some simple yet effective lifestyle changes that can help you manage your anxiety symptoms. Read on.
Lifestyle Changes to Manage Anxiety
- Keep yourself busy
It might seem obvious, but distraction is one of the most effective ways to stop spiraling and break the anxiety cycle. The feeling of anxiety is often triggered when your mind is empty and has nothing productive to invest its energy on. Thus, if you want to manage anxiety symptoms, you need to find ways to keep yourself busy and distracted from the source of your anxious thoughts.
When you feel your anxiety rising, you should do anything that keeps you busy and engaged. For example, you could watch TV, work, clean and organize your home, spend time with family, call your friends, take a walk in nature, or play games. Find ways to keep your mind engaged so it doesn’t get the chance to go into the negativity zone again.
- Engage in any form of physical activity
Being physically active is another lifestyle change that will help you manage your anxiety. And it does this in several ways. For instance, exercising promotes the release of endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers, which makes you feel good and relaxed. It also reduces the levels of the stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol in your body.
Moreover, engaging in any form of exercise, including dancing, aerobics, or yoga can help you get sound sleep, which is a vital factor in reducing your anxiety symptoms. Having enough rest will allow your mind and body to heal and gain energy for the next day.
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- Eat healthy foods
“You are what you eat.” People mistakenly assume that what they eat only affects their physical health. But what you feed your body also directly impacts your mental and emotional health.
For example, if you only consume foods such as pizzas and burgers, you are more likely to feel lazy and sleepy, sometimes even guilty for indulging. But with good nutrition, you will have higher energy levels and feel good about yourself. Therefore, adopting healthy eating habits is one of the lifestyle changes you must make to help you manage anxiety symptoms.
Examples of foods to add to your diet if you want to reduce anxiety include whole grains, eggs, fatty fish, vegetables, and fruits. Vitamins and minerals have been found to affect your hormones and mood.
- Try natural herbs
Before the advent of pharmaceuticals, people used to take natural herbs and supplements for deep relaxation. Herbs, such as chamomile, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), lavender, and cannabis, were consumed as remedies for anxiety.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a derivative of cannabis that enjoys a heavy demand amongst anxiety and depression patients. People use CBD in the form of edibles, smoke, and concentrates here in America. And since CBD is legal in most parts of the U.S, it is quite easy for patients to access the herb when they need it.
- Do more of what you love
When an individual indulges in an activity they love, their brain releases serotonin and dopamine, the happy hormones which make you experience positive emotions. So, another lifestyle change you should make to help you manage anxiety is to ensure you do more of the things you love.
It could involve having to change careers, making time for your hobbies, spending more time with your loved ones, or anything else that makes you feel happy and fulfilled in life. Though it might take some time for you to go completely into the zone when engaging in these activities, it is all about starting.
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- Avoid or limit your consumption of alcohol
Many people turn to alcohol and drugs to manage their anxiety symptoms. But that is a mistake because relying on these substances can make your life even more difficult. Avoiding or limiting your consumption of alcohol is one of the lifestyle changes that will help you manage your anxiety.
According to research, alcohol consumption usually worsens anxiety and depression. It alters your brain’s chemistry, thus interfering with your mental health and how you deal with regular day-to-day stress. Although alcohol is a depressant and also lowers your inhibitions, it can make you feel anxious a few hours after drinking.
The anxiety could be worse if you are addicted to alcohol and experiencing withdrawal. Furthermore, if you didn’t have an addiction before, you may develop it now because drinking will likely become your primary way to cope with anxiety.
- Stop watching or reading the news
Many bad things have been happening to us and around the world in the past few years – from the pandemic and protests to even things like wars. Due to the curious nature of humans, many of us usually feel the need to stay updated on these negative things. We may find ourselves spending numerous hours engaging in doomscrolling.
Unfortunately, the constant consumption of negative content can lead to anxiety and stress. Therefore, one of the lifestyle changes that will help you manage anxiety is to stay away from social media or, at least, stop or limit how often you watch and read the news. Instead, consume more positive and inspirational content that makes you experience positive emotions.
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No one likes to feel anxious, whether it happens only once in a while or all the time. Suffering from chronic anxiety can interfere with your personal, professional, and social life. Therefore, if you have this mental health condition, it is essential to implement strategies that help you reduce anxiety symptoms. It will not be easy to get rid of them, but if you make the above lifestyle changes, you can manage your anxiety and live a happier, peaceful life.
This is a contributed post.
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