Having occasional feelings of anxiety is a normal part of life, but persistent feelings of anxiety, fear, terror, and panic in everyday situations can negatively affect one’s quality of life and lead to unhealthy functioning.
Common symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous or helpless
- A sense of impending panic, danger or doom
- Increased or irregular heart rate or blood pressure
- Hyperventilation or irregular breathing
- Trembling or shaking
- Obsessively thinking about the panic trigger
These feelings of anxiety and panic can interfere with daily activities and be difficult to control. Many of these symptoms manifest out of proportion to the actual danger and can cause you to avoid places or situations. If these symptoms are relatable for you or someone you know, it is important for the person experiencing these symptoms to visit their health care provider or therapist. Many people experiencing anxiety seek psychotherapy or medications to manage anxiety symptoms, yet lifestyle changes and coping strategies also can make a difference.
Tips to cope with anxiety:
Physical activity: Exercise is a powerful stress reducer, which releases endorphins that reduce the brains perception of pain. Exercise can improve your mood and help you stay healthy mentally and physically. It may be helpful to develop a routine to keep continue physical activity throughout the week.
Avoid or reduce intake of alcohol and caffeinated beverages: These substances can cause or worsen anxiety symptoms. If you can't quit on your own, see your health care provider or find a support group to help you.
Use stress management and relaxation techniques: Visualization techniques, mindfulness exercises, or grounding techniques such as yoga, journaling, meditation, or intentional breathing can help ease anxiety. Please see blog on mindfulness to learn more.
Prioritize sleep: Sleep is important to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Sleep is also when your body is able to repair cells and maintain functions for well-being. Do what you can to make sure you're getting enough sleep to feel rested. If you aren't sleeping well, talk with your mental health care provider.
Eat clean: Nutrition is also important to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Be mindful about eating clean ingredients, incorporating water to hydrate your body, and fruits and vegetables throughout your diet.
Educate yourself about anxiety: Talk to your mental health care provider to find out what might be causing your anxiety symptoms and what treatments might be best for you.
Stay consistent: Keep therapy appointments and complete any assignments your therapist gives. Take medications as directed if applicable. Consistency can make a big difference in decreasing anxiety symptoms.
Identify triggers: Learn and process what situations, actions, or people cause you stress or increase your anxiety. Practice the strategies you developed with your mental health provider so you're ready to deal with anxious feelings in these situations.
Journal or track your experiences: Keeping track of your personal life can help you and your mental health provider identify what's causing you stress and what seems to help you feel better.
Support system: Don't let worries isolate you from loved ones or activities that bring you joy or fulfillment. It is important that you build a support system who can provide practical or emotional support. Support systems can improve health, life satisfaction, and reduce stress and feelings of loneliness.