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Coping with Anxiety Disorder: 10 Ways to Help
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common form of anxiety. GAD is characterized by nervousness, tension, and constant worry. The general feeling of unease that accompanies GAD leaves you in a state of misery. The good news is there are healthy, effective ways of coping with anxiety disorder. Find out what to avoid, what to do, and how to make your life anxiety free today.
What to Avoid
Caffeine – Coffee, tea, and caffeinated colas induce anxiety, so you should avoid these. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, and it cranks your nerves up a few notches. Instead of caffeinated beverages, choose herbal teas, fruit juice, and water.
Worrying – This may seem simple but some people struggle to avoid worry. You must first believe that you can reduce your compulsion to worry. Once you acknowledge your worry and that it exists, focus on avoiding it. Keep yourself busy and avoid worrying.
Refined Sugars – Sugar is just bad for you. It adds on the unwanted pounds and has no nutritional value. Research shows that sugar induces mood swings and enhances anxiety. One of the simplest ways of coping with anxiety disorder involves avoiding sugar.
Alcohol and Nicotine – Many turn to alcohol, smoking, and drugs when anxious. This is the worst thing you can do! Alcohol may temporarily reduce your worry, but it leads to worsening anxiety as the effects wear off. Nicotine is a stimulant and causes irritability and tension. Avoid these substances as one of the positive ways for coping with anxiety disorder.
Triggers – You know what they are – those people and things that cause your anxiety. While you may have to deal with someone on a daily basis, try to avoid that person when you feel stressed. Also, avoid places and items that bring on panic and worry.
What to Do
Meditation – Mindfulness meditation is a proven, effective technique for reducing anxiety levels. This practice is effortless and free. Chant a mantra over and over to relieve the stress from your life. Scientists discovered that meditation boosts the activity of the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This is the area in charge of feelings of joy and serenity. If you meditate regularly, you will find that your blood pressure lowers and your heart rate decreases.
Increase Physical Activity – When the going gets tough, the tough should get going. Exercise relieves anxiety. While your heart rate goes up, physical activity stimulates your body to produce the chemical endorphins that relax and satisfy you.
Herbal Relaxation – Teas such as Kava, St. John’s Wort, and Chamomile produce a mild sedating effect. Drink a soothing cup of herbal tea when you feel irritable or nervous. You will see that this calms you down and relieves your anxiety.
Think Positively – I know it’s hard to feel upbeat when you feel anxious. However, research shows that positive thinking enhances mood, promotes cognition and memory skills, and relieves anxiety. Put your emotions aside and think of something good.
Deep Breathing – If you feel an anxiety attack coming on, take some slow deep breaths. This relaxes the diaphragm and calms you down. Deep breathing can ward off the physical symptoms associated with panic.
Sleep – If you don’t sleep adequately, you will feel tense and irritable. Don’t become sleep deprived by scheduling your day and keeping a nighttime routine. If you are well-rested, you will be more able to cope with stress and anxiety.
Seek Out Support – It may be a friend or a family member or you may have a group you attend. Whatever the case, seek out support from others. Find someone who has anxiety and share coping mechanisms and ideas. When you don’t feel isolated and alone in your condition, you can better cope with it.
Eat Healthy – The right diet is important if you have anxiety disorder. You should always eat meals with protein to sustain your blood sugar. Drops in glucose lead to irritability and trigger anxiety attacks. Try to eat something small every two or three hours or so to avoid drops in blood sugar. Also, eat a well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.