Nobody likes to feel anxious. Whether you're out and about or you're at home, anxiety can strike at any time and make you feel paralyzed. Luckily, there are some ways to relieve your anxiety – we've put together 10 strategies you can use to help relieve anxiety when it strikes.
A lack of sleep can lead to anxiety, so getting as much shut-eye as possible is important for your both your physical and mental health. Research suggests that, unless you have an adequate sleep each night, your anxiety levels will be heightened because of your brain's anticipatory reactions. Also, the difficulty with sleep and anxiety is that one can fuel the other. You may not be able to get to sleep because of your anxiety but the lack of sleep further triggers feelings of anxiety worsening and repeating the cycle. To help combat this turn off the lights at a reasonable time, avoid using technology before you go to sleep and try reading a calming book, such as fiction or an autobiography, to naturally tire out your mind.
Cut down on caffeine
If you can’t function on a morning before a cup of coffee, then it’s time to change. Caffeine is known to increase anxiety, trigger panic attacks and even cause heart palpitations, so it’s important to cut down on your caffeine intake if you want to reduce anxiety. Switch to a decaf alternative and swap sugary sodas for sugar- and caffeine-free alternatives.
Breathing deeply is one of the best anxiety coping mechanisms, so it's important that you learn how to do it as soon as possible. Then, when you are feeling stressed or anxious, you can practice your new breathing technique and lower your anxiety almost immediately.
Sit or stand with your eyes closed and focus your attention toward your breathing, slowly calming your breaths and taking longer, slower, deeper breaths. Many people like to breathe and count to five, while others suggest breathing deeply and continuously until you're relaxed.
Use essential oils
Essential oils like lavender can be used to calm your mind after a stressful day. Add some oil to your bath water for a relaxing soak or, if you’re an insomniac, consider using an oil infuser to help you to get to sleep or add a couple of drops to your pillow. Lavender can also be massaged into your temple to reduce headaches, and it can be inhaled to manage pain.
Hit the gym
Exercise is one of the best ways to remedy anxiety, so you should put on your running shoes and head to the gym. As well as keeping your mind and body occupied during a workout, exercise can release happy endorphins that are known to boost your mood and help you to sleep. It’s up to you how you choose to exercise – although the gym is one of the most effective methods, you could consider swimming, cycling, jogging or even taking a leisurely stroll in the park.
Challenge your negative thoughts
If your anxiety flares up over negativity and fear, then you should learn to combat and challenge your thoughts and become a more positive person. If your mind is filled with negativity, then the chances are that your anxiety will be heightened. So, we would suggest that you record your thoughts, write down your feelings and challenge them by reading and realizing that you are the creator of your own negative mindset. In time, these exercises will help you to overcome your negativity.
Your diet can play a big role in your anxiety levels, so you should add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. A glass of vegetable juice is not only good for your body but your mind, too. If you’re feeling creative, try a recipe that includes anxiety-busting ingredients like asparagus, avocado, blueberries, almonds, oranges, spinach, and oatmeal. The possibilities are endless, and the more nutrients you put into your body, the better you'll feel as a result.
A simple way to relieve your anxiety is to indulge in some pampering. It’s up to you how to treat yourself – you could go for a massage, a manicure or a haircut, or you could simply run a nice hot bath and relax in the comfort of your own home.
Spend time with nature
Get outside and spend time in the great outdoors. When you switch off from the stresses of everyday life like checking emails and driving, you're giving your mind a break and lowering your stress and anxiety levels. So, whether you live by the sea or in the countryside, we suggest that you leave your iPhone at home and spend time walking, rambling and exploring the nooks and crannies of your neighborhood.
Being calm comes from within, so you should learn how to start your day with a short meditation and mindfulness session. Sit down for just a couple of minutes, breathe calmly, think positive thoughts and do not let your mind wander. If the art of meditation is alien to you, you’ll be able to find a whole host of mindfulness apps for your phone to help you along the way.