Simple yet effective ways to manage anxiety

Simple yet effective ways to manage anxiety

Persistent anxiety impinges on your way of life. It can affect your academic and/or job performance and relationships. In the United States, an estimated 31% of adults experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Anxiety disorders are serious conditions that require the right kind of treatment and therapy. If you or someone you know suffers from an anxiety disorder, these coping mechanisms might help.

Exercise often

Regular exercise can help you manage anxiety. After all, exercising releases endorphins, which are often referred to as the body’s “feel-good chemical.”

In one study involving victims of the 2004 Andaman tsunami, researchers found that doing yoga significantly reduced the survivors’ distress and anxiety. Aside from yoga, there are other physical fitness activities you can do to boost your mood and physical health. Running, lifting weights, and brisk walking are good forms of exercise that will help you feel better. Less strenuous activities such as biking, gardening, and doing simple chores are also practical ways to ease anxiety.

Practice mindfulness

It’s normal to want to accomplish several tasks at once, but doing so often leads to psychological and physical distress. Mindfulness entails focusing your attention, thoughts, and senses on the present, without judgment. Practicing mindfulness brings you back to the present moment, without worrying over things that may or may not be within your control.

Practicing mindfulness to reduce anxiety may seem like a quaint idea without substantial basis, but numerous studies have shown that it boosts physical and mental health. It’s a particularly important element in reducing anxiety and in treating other mental health conditions.

Eat healthy

Trading your deep-fried favorites, complex carbohydrates, and alcoholic drinks for vegetables, whole grains, fruits, healthy beverages, and other healthy foods are known to help manage anxiety. Healthy foods supply your brain with the nutrients it needs to function normally.

The key takeaway is that although it’s pleasurable to occasionally eat your favorite dishes, eating healthy may bring about positive changes to your mood and overall health.

Occasionally indulge in pleasurable activities

Pleasurable activities make you feel good and less anxious. Feel-good activities — whether it’s eating your favorite foods (in moderation), reading a good book, or having sex — reduce stress by inhibiting anxiety responses in the brain, according to researchers at the University of Cincinnati.

Get enough sleep

Sleep problems are often viewed as symptoms of mental health conditions like anxiety disorders, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and depression. However, sleep deprivation may actually be worsening these disorders instead of being their symptoms.

Sleep deprivation weakens the immune system and affects a person’s ability to form memories and think clearly. This is why it’s crucial to develop sleep hygiene, which entails going to bed at the same time, waking up at the same time, avoiding excessive naps, and regularly getting a good night’s sleep.

These tips are meant to help those struggling to cope with anxiety so they can function normally. Note, however, that medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both are the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to consult the mental health professionals at Meridian Psychiatric Partners LLC. We serve clients in the Chicago, Evanston, Lake Forest, and surrounding areas.