How to Cope with Anxiety?
How often have you come across that extremely unpleasant feeling of worry and uneasiness, the anxiety? Well! At least few times by now. While moderate levels of anxiety are inevitable, having that worry and uneasiness most of the time is a red flag and may require you to look into the matter seriously and in cases seek intervention and support.
Anxiety if left unaddressed may grow into a clinical problem and one might need to take medicines. While medicines calm down the mind from feeling extreme levels of anxiousness they have their side effects too. But there are some natural ways to deal with anxiety with some small and basic lifestyle changes. So if you’re finding yourself being continuously troubled by worrisome thoughts and anxiousness, here are some coping mechanisms to inculcate to ease that anxiety:
1. Stop, Breathe and Think:
Anxiety is most commonly experienced when you are over thinking or having thoughts that revolve around some troublesome situations of the past or the unforeseen future.
If you find yourself getting overwhelmed by such thinking, you need to be conscious and aware, recognise it and start breathing deeply. This will help to calm you down a bit. Calming is necessary, for only when you are calm you can get a perspective into the actual cause of your anxiety and how you can practically deal with it. This will certainly help in making you feel much lighter instantly.
Just a step ahead of breathing, meditation can greatly help in regaining that calm and focus that is missing in an anxious state. When feeling pangs of anxiety, it is natural for you to lose focus very often and very fast. In such cases, meditation and yoga can help you calm down, and regain that lost focus. In addition regular practice can also make you sharper and more productive.
When you engage in yoga and meditation, your attention and focus gets drawn inward. Looking inward is a proven way to divert the mind from the stream of negative thoughts and anxiety and help your feelings settle. Slowly breathing in and out while practicing yoga also fills up the body with ‘Prana’ or ‘Energy’ and makes you feel rejuvenated and calm at the same time.
3. Replace Negative Thoughts with Positive Ones:
Negative underlying thoughts about something is a hallmark of anxiety. Hence, inculcating positive thinking is another great solution to most anxiety related problems. Whenever a negative thought comes to your mind, you can consciously try and switch that thought with a more positive one. Gradually, this should become a habit and the minute any anxiety provoking though creeps into your mind, immediately start thinking about something positive; it can be an event, a place, a person, your favourite food, etc. By doing this exercise you are simply choosing to pay attention to a better feeling thought over the anxious thought.
4. Make Humour a Part of Your Daily Life:
A good laugh is something that always goes a long way in relieving your mind off unnecessary negative thoughts. If you have the tendency to get anxious, you must make it a habit to laugh and laugh out loud in the company of your loved ones. Spending time with those in your inner circle will surely help you feel lighter and relaxed in very less time. It also generates a sense of security and the feeling of belongingness.
5. Focus on Something You Like:
Another simple way to de-stress and reduce anxiousness is to engage in any form of recreational activity that makes you happy. For instance, it could be a form of art such as painting, music, dancing or just anything that you’ve always loved doing. If you occupy yourself in doing things that you like, this will help you to direct your energy and mind off negative thoughts that tend to leave you worried, overwhelmed and full of anxiety.
6. Watch Your Eating & Drinking Habits:
The right kind of nutritional intake not only helps to maintain a healthy body, but it also works towards ensuring a healthy mind. Overthinking and having negative thoughts, as is common with anxiety disorder, ends up consuming a lot of energy. This loss of energy can only be regained if you eat healthy. Hence, eating well is extremely important to handle anxiety.
It’s good if you make it a point to eat a lot of fresh fruits. Staying hydrated at all times is also something you should consciously do. Moreover, limiting alcohol and caffeinated drinks is also advisable for you to keep your mind calm, and reduce the consequent rise in irritability that comes with the consumption of these beverages.
7. Bring In Some Acceptance:
In addition to all the above steps, you also need to bring in some acceptance for your own anxiety. Inability to accept anxiety is something that further augments anxiety levels. Remember, it’s only when you try to control things beyond your control that you feel the burden of anxiety, frustration and depression. And most often, you end up suffering from problems that don’t even exist in reality.
If you want to nurture a good state of mind, you need to remind yourself of the universal truth that life is grossly unpredictable for everyone. There is very less in one’s control. Neither the past, nor the future, it’s only the present that is in hand. Programming your mind and heart to let go of things on time, and taking life one day at a time is very important mindset change needed to stay happy.
8. Seek Professional Help:
Implementing the above-mentioned tips will help you in actively managing and controlling your anxiety, still you may not always feel completely anxiety free. You can still periodically experience phases of extreme anxiety and that is normal.
However, if you notice that frequency to be quite regular, you must seek psychological counselling and proper professional help. Mental health professionals can counsel you with some effective coping mechanisms or prescribe some effective nerve soothing drugs (if needed). Such support can help you in efficiently dealing and coping with this mental health issue.
All said, the fact that you will have to actively make an effort to get out of that frame of mind, remains the most important bit!