If you feel anxious or worried from time to time, you're not alone. These nervous feelings can be brought on by a multitude of things, such as work, relationships, health issues, finances and much more. Regardless of where it comes from, overcoming anxiety isn't an easy task.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is usually worry, concern or fear about what could happen or will happen. It can stem from numerous causes, including brain chemistry, traumatic events and your family history/genetics. In certain situations, anxiety can be positive and help you cope with challenging situations, making you more focused or alert. However, if left uncontrolled, anxiety can turn into a severe issue that can disrupt your daily life.
There are many treatments for overcoming anxiety, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy and medication. That said, proper self-care can go a long way in helping you ease your fear and worry.
- Aim to exercise a few times a week for 30 minutes. Choose an activity you enjoy, such as walking, swimming or riding a bike. The fresh air and movement can clear your mind and offer a fresh perspective.
- Get restful sleep. Try for eight hours a night, and remember that using screens (like phones, tablets or laptops) even just 30 minutes before bed can interfere with good sleep. You might also consider setting a bedtime and sticking to it.
- Try deep breathing, guided meditation or progressive muscle relaxation. These activities help slow you down and focus on the here and now.
- Know and understand your triggers. When anxiety, panic or worry start to creep in, take note of times, places and feelings. Write these down. This practice can help you pinpoint places, scenarios or conversations that induce anxious emotions. Through this you may be able to discover patterns that can help you overcome your anxiety.
Consulting a Professional
If you start to feel that you're worrying too much or it's interfering with your daily routine, it may be time to seek help. Consider making an appointment with a health care professional if:
- Your worrying is affecting your personal relationships or work.
- Your anxiety is becoming difficult to control.
- You're experiencing depression or depending on alcohol or drugs to feel better.
- Your anxiety is linked to a health issue or you think you might have an anxiety disorder.
- You're thinking about suicide. If so, get emergency help right away.
If you or a loved one serve in the Armed Forces and struggle with anxiety and panic attacks, click here.