5 EFFECTIVE WAYS TO LESSEN ANXIETY
- Health Hub 101, Taboo Topic
- 17 Oct, 2022
Life is difficult. It's frantic. It's crowded. It can be completely chaotic at times. It's even more stressful if you have children or a job that is extremely demanding or has a lot of responsibilities.
Whatever the cause of your stress, the point is that you are stressed. Your stress and anxiety are real - even if you believe you have nothing to be *that* concerned about, you are!
WHAT EXACTLY IS ANXIETY?
Let's talk about anxiety briefly before we begin. You may be suffering from anxiety and be unaware of it, especially if your life is "stress-free." You could be experiencing a variety of problems, including the sensation that you couldn't breathe, that your throat was closing, resulting in a total panic attack.
The thing with anxiety is that it can manifest weeks, months, or even years after an event that is the root cause of your anxiety. So just because your life is full of sunshine and roses doesn't mean you won't experience anxiety as a result of a past incident. Your past can linger, and don't let anyone tell you that it can't, that you should "get over it," or that "that was ages ago, come on," because it doesn't.
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNIFICANCE OF ANXIETY
Among the most common anxiety signs and symptoms are:
- Feeling nervous, agitated, or tense
- Feelings of impending danger, panic, or doom
- Having a faster heart rate
- Rapid breathing (hyperventilation)
- Having trouble focusing or thinking about anything but the current concern
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having difficulty controlling your anxiety
There are several different types of anxiety disorders, and if the above symptoms sound familiar, you may want to learn more about them here.
Generalized anxiety disorder
Characterized by persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about everyday activities or events. The worry is out of proportion to the situation, difficult to control, and has an impact on how you feel physically. It is frequently associated with other anxiety disorders or depression.
Characterised by repeated episodes of intense anxiety, fear, or terror that peak within minutes (panic attacks). It's possible to have feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a racing, fluttering, or pounding heart (heart palpitations). You might worry about having another panic attack or try to avoid situations where you've had one before.
WHAT IS THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN STRESS AND ANXIETY?
Many people confuse stress with anxiety, or anxiety with stress, but they are not the same thing. Here is the distinction between stress and anxiety, according to Mental Health First Aid:
Stress is a reaction to an external cause, such as a work deadline or an argument with a friend, and it goes away once the situation is resolved. Because stress is caused by outside factors, confronting these can be beneficial.
Anxiety is a person's specific reaction to stress; it has an internal source. Anxiety is defined as a "persistent feeling of apprehension or dread" in situations that are not actually dangerous. Anxiety, unlike stress, persists even after a concern has passed. In more severe cases, anxiety can progress to anxiety disorder, the most common mental health problem.
Generalized anxiety, panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are all types of anxiety disorders (PTSD).
Now that we've established what anxiety is and how it differs from stress, let's discuss techniques for reducing it to a manageable level.
STRESS RELIEF AND ANXIETY RELIEF TECHNIQUES
If you're under a lot of stress, it's critical to get a handle on it as soon as possible because it can lead to an anxiety disorder. And getting ahead of a potential anxiety disorder is critical!
Here are five things that can reduce stress and calm anxiety:
1. LEARN HOW TO DEEP BREATHE CORRECTLY
Believe it or not, there is a proper way to breathe and two ways to breathe.
Thoracic (chest) breathing - anxious people take rapid, shallow breaths from their chest. When you're anxious, you might not even realize you're doing it! Because of an imbalance in your body's oxygen and carbon dioxide levels, chest breathing causes an increase in heart rate and dizziness. This lack of proper oxygenation can also cause tingling in the extremities. All of this raises your anxiety and may result in a panic attack.
Diaphragmatic (abdominal) breathing entails taking deep, even breaths while relaxed. (This is similar to the breaths one takes while sleeping.)
Intentional belly breathing can help you unwind when you're anxious and your anxiety level rises. Depending on your preference, you may choose to repeat this while standing, sitting, or lying down.
Through your nose, inhale slowly and deeply. Maintain a calm demeanor. Your chest should barely elevate, and your abdomen should enlarge.
Exhale through your mouth gradually. As you exhale, gently purse your lips, but keep your jaw relaxed.
Repeat this breathing technique for a while.
Exercise makes you feel better about yourself, and feeling better about yourself reduces tension and anxiety, so it should go without saying that exercising is a terrific method to accomplish two goals at once. If you can spend some time outdoors, that's even better. Rather than going to the gym, prefer this as a form of exercise. The primary explanation is that it gives the brain some "calm time."
3. HAVE YOUR ME-TIME
In this day and age of multi-tasking, multi-sport children, side hustles, and rushing everywhere, it is simple to feel like you are continuously on a hamster wheel. USE CAUTION. Give yourself 20 minutes to relax. I promise you can find 20 minutes in your day if you set priorities. Go for a stroll. Get a coffee for yourself. Get a blooming plant for your desk by going to a florist. Take action for you and you alone. Even if it doesn't sound like "you alone," it could be as simple as taking one of your children to get ice cream.
4. GET CREATIVE!
Being creative is a great way to unwind. Whether you enjoy knitting, painting, woodworking, or any other form of creative activity, make time for your interests.
Get some shut-eye! Find your happy medium because there is a thin line between "not enough" and "too much."
Your capacity to concentrate, think clearly, and act rapidly is all enhanced by sleep. The truth is that individuals who receive a full night's sleep perform at a higher level than those who attempt to function on less sleep.
Losing sleep makes it harder to think critically, solve problems, and pay attention to details. People who are exhausted at work are less productive. They have a substantially higher chance of getting into a car accident. Lack of sleep also affects your emotions, which in turn affects how you behave around other people. Even the long-term danger of getting depression is increased by lack of sleep.
As you can see, sleeping involves a lot more than you might expect! To perform at your best and prevent tension and anxiety, make sure you're getting enough sleep.
Remember that you can contact BEFRIENDERS for 24/7 confidential assistance if you need assistance managing your mental health or anxiety.