Living with anxiety can be challenging at times – what appears to be simple tasks become almost impossible to do.
Some people may choose to take medication, while others are hesitant about this. Does it work? What if I become addicted? Talking with your doctor is a great way to find a solution that suits your circumstances.
Fortunately there are alternatives for managing anxiety for those who don’t take medication, and with many strategies to choose from you will likely find something which can help make a difference to your day-to-day life.
1. Acknowledging your anxiety
This is an important step which you cannot avoid. Right now you have to admit that you are struggling with your anxiety, and know that it is OK – your mental illness does not define you. Say things like “I’m just feeling anxious” and “I’ve got through this before”. Accept it for what it is.
2. Avoid anxiety-triggering foods
From here on caffeine is your enemy and it must be avoided. Helpful changes to your diet include reducing your intake of coffee, alcohol and fast food. Instead try consuming food high in Tryptophan, as this is known for having a positive effect on the mind and body. This would include consuming more oats, bananas and nuts.
3. Take a break from social media
Sometimes it picks us up. Other times it puts us down. Social media can be a trigger for anxiety so a detox from time to time may be beneficial. Prove to yourself that you can do it.
4. Listen to music
Music has the ability to make us not feel so alone even when our mind and body is telling us otherwise. There are many videos on YouTube, like this one for example, which are designed to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
5. Write it all down
Whenever your anxiety is at its highest, write down what you think could be triggering this in just a few words. Also, write down the things that make you feel calm. Then go back to it and read what you have written – use it for guidance.
6. Talk to someone you know well
Talking to someone who understands what you are going through, whether it’s over the phone or person, will keep you calm and focused. Just talking in general can make it feel like a weight has been lifted.
Studies suggest that regular exercise may help relieve you of your anxiety symptoms, whether it’s a 20 minute walk or a 5 minute workout. It all makes a difference.
8. Rearrange your room
It’s a good idea to keep things organised as this creates some kind of structure in your life, and structure is associated with a calm body and mind.
9. Pet an animal
Dog, cat, micro pig – it doesn’t really matter. Studies show that your pet can be the key to reducing tension and improving your mood. This is the ideal therapy for any animal lover.
10. Read a book
A good book has the ability to heal us, and it’s the perfect escape from reality. In fact, even reading for just 5 minutes daily can decrease levels of anxiety.
11. Relax in the bath
Soaking in the bath reduces tension in our muscles and helps us to relax both physically and mentally.
The process of baking can be both soothing and uplifting.
13. Be creative
Anything that requires you to focus your attention on something other than your anxiety such as drawing, making a bracelet or solving a puzzle is the best distraction and it will give you a sense of accomplishment.
Singing is a way to express ourselves and sometimes it’s good to let it all out.
15. Reward yourself
It’s important to give yourself a ‘pat on the back’ whenever you make progress towards managing your anxiety. This is the encouragement that you need in order to tackle your anxiety for good.
Lastly, I recommend this book for anyone suffering from anxiety and/or depression.