Having occasional feelings of anxiety is a normal part of life, but people with anxiety disorders experience frequent and excessive anxiety, fear, terror and panic in everyday situations. These feelings can be unhealthy if they affect your quality of life and prevent you from functioning normally. At some point, anxiety and stress affect everyone. They can manifest differently in different people, and the level of anxiety one experiences can vary, but there is one thing for certain: there are ways to manage anxiety, even if it feels out of control.
Develop a routine so that you are physically active most days of the week. Exercise is a powerful stress reducer. It can improve your mood and help you stay healthy. For the biggest benefits of exercise, try to include at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity (e.g. brisk walking) each week, 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity (such as jogging or swimming laps), or a combination of the two.
Breath Control Try breathing in for 4 counts and breathing out for 4 counts for 5 minutes total. By evening out your breath, you will slow your heart rate which should help calm you down.
Avoid alcohol and recreational drugsThese substances can cause or worsen anxiety. If you are not able to quit on your own, see your health care provider or find a support group to help you.
Quit smoking, and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages
Nicotine and caffeine can worsen anxiety.
Use stress management and relaxation techniques
Visualization techniques, meditation and yoga are examples of relaxation techniques that can ease anxiety.
Make sleep a priority
Do what you can to make sure you're getting enough sleep to feel rested. If you aren't sleeping well, talk with your health care provider.
Eat healthy foods
A healthy diet that incorporates vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish may be linked to reduced anxiety. Foods naturally rich in magnesium may help a person to feel calmer. Examples include leafy greens, such as spinach and Swiss chard. Other sources include legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Foods rich in zinc such as oysters, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks have been linked to lowered anxiety. Eating foods such as processed meats, high sugar foods, caffeine and alcohol, which provide little nutritional value, have been associated with more psychiatric symptoms and can increase cortisol levels—our primary hormone responsible for stress,” she said. “A diet high in whole foods and low in processed foods can help maintain healthy cortisol levels.”
Learn about your disorder
Talk to your health care provider to find out what might be causing your specific condition and what treatments might be best for you. Involve your family and friends, and ask for their support.
Everyone's experience of anxiety is different, so it's hard to know exactly what causes anxiety problems. There are probably lots of factors involved. Learn what situations or actions cause you stress or increase your anxiety. Practice the strategies you developed so you're ready to deal with anxious feelings in these situations.
Keep a journal
Keeping track of your personal life can help identify what's causing you stress and what seems to help you feel better. Write down your thoughts. Writing down what’s making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.
Don't let worries isolate you from loved ones or activities.
A good laugh goes a long way.