Anxiety can be soul destroying. It can make you want to curl up in a ball and never leave your room again. But so many of us live with it in our lives. It’s estimated that live one in three Americans with anxiety or depression. And it’s not just anxiety – there are different types. OCD, PTSD, phobias, social anxiety and GAD are just a few of the disorders that fall under the anxiety spectrum. It’s no wonder that 40% of the world’s recorded disabilities are related to anxiety. So how can we make sure we live life to the full, without this horrible disorder clouding our day? There are twelve ways we live by.
1. Read a book
Reading a little each day can transport you to another place for a while. Whether you read for an hour or for ten minutes, reading has many positive benefits, including reducing anxiety. It’s well known that people who read remain grounded and think logically – this is vital when battling anxiety.
2. Listen to music
Music is a very relaxing pass-time, but there’s no reason why you can’t listen to music all the time. If you feel anxious at work, just stick a headphone in and listen to some calming music. Many people find instrumental music to be the best, but it’s all about personal taste.
3. Face each fear head on
Fears are often irrational, and avoiding them only makes them worse. If you tackle it head on, you’ll begin to feel better each time you do. It’s not an easy road, and it’ll be scary at first, but a fear faced is a fear conquered.
4. Have some ‘me time’
It can be hard to get a minute to yourself, but it’s important that you make the time. Spend ten or fifteen minutes alone so that you can contemplate without being influenced by those around you. Being alone can also be very relaxing, and keep you grounded when the rest of the world seems chaotic.
5. Have a rewards system
Did you get through today without a panic attack? That deserves a biscuit. Did you survive a long day at work? How about a relaxing bubble bath? It’s the little things that make us feel better. Use them as rewards to promote your good habits.
6. Think logically
Thinking logically in a panic attack isn’t easy. You imagine the worst, and that sends you into a downward spiral. But if you ask yourself what the situation is, what’s wrong, and why you feel the way you do, you’ll automatically begin to see that things aren’t nearly as bad as you think they are.
7. Find hacks to suit you
There are plenty of people who have created their own hacks for dealing with anxiety. Some people say that having a pet helps to calm them. There are others who blow bubbles when they’re having an anxiety attack to control their breathing. Find a hack that works for you, and stick to it like glue. You’ll soon learn to keep yourself in check.
8. Find like-minded people
You are not alone. There will always be someone on the same level as you, and they may be closer than you think. Many people struggle to express the difficulties they face with anxiety, but sharing really does help – especially sharing with someone who knows what you’re going through.
9. Meditation and aromatherapy
Meditation and aromatherapy are good for the soul, and there’s no reason why you can’t do both at once. Practise simple meditation tricks to begin with, and maybe incorporate some yoga if you’re feeling brave. For a relaxed state of mind, create a blend of chamomile, neroli and lavender and breathe in its soothing scent.
10. Get eight hours sleep
It’s easier said than done. There are plenty of things that are likely to keep us lying awake at night. But a good night’s sleep is vital for tissue repair and brain functioning – those who run on no sleep are leading the unhealthiest lives. Try and go to bed at the same time each night, and set a regular sleep pattern.
11. Eat well and exercise
Anxiety is often related to weight gain. When we feel at our worst, it’s common to comfort eat, and most of us would rather reach for a bar of chocolate than a piece of fruit. However, it’s proven that eating right and exercising regularly has a lot of benefits – not just for weight control, but for mood and happiness.
12. Ask for help.
There’s no shame in asking someone to help you out. Whether you speak to a family member or a therapist, talking about your problems can relieve some of the stress you’re feeling. Therapists will of course know the best course of action for you as an individual, but if you don’t feel ready for that yet, it’s perfectly fine to confide in someone you know and trust.