Anxiety can affect anyone, and comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether it be work, school, or social related anxiety, anyone can develop a tireless sense of anxiety. The reasons for this will also vary from person to person, with causes ranging from external factors such as drugs or bullying, to internalised factors such as genetics or mental illness. Despite the fact that there are so many possible causes of anxiety, many of the methods to address it can be used across the board. Here, we’re going to look at some of the most effective steps you can take to reduce your anxiety.
We have spoken at length about the inextricable link between mental and physical health, so it should come as no surprise that this is top of the list. Study after study has repeatedly shown that taking a 30 minute walk up to five times a week can drastically improve both your physical and mental health. There are a number of reasons for this, such as the release of endorphins, the effect of sunlight on the brain and body, and of course, the tranquillity of taking half an hour to yourself.
Watch the Coffee
Most people now like to kick off the day with a nice cup of coffee. In fact, a vivid coffee culture has developed rapidly in the last twenty years, and while this may seem harmless, it could be affecting your mental health. Overconsumption of caffeine makes our body far more alert and jittery. Over time, this can become anxiety as your mind searches for potential threats that don’t exist. Couple this with the fact that forgoing the coffee may give you withdrawal and you can see a cycle begin to develop.
A few cups of coffee a day might not hurt, but cutting down gradually may help deal with these feelings of anxiety. It’s also worth noting that many types of tea are just as caffeinated as coffee, and neither should be consumed within an hour of waking up. Doing so prevents your body from releasing chemicals to wake you up naturally, which then makes you even more reliant on caffeine.
Many forms of anxiety revolve around a lack of self-worth. Unfortunately, this lack of confidence combined with anxiety can make it very difficult for people to get back into a positive frame of mind and overcome their issues. One way to address this easily is to set daily or weekly goals. These do not by any means need to be life-altering goals. Rather, they present a structure to follow and serve as proof that you can achieve what you set out to do. This will establish a foundation of confidence, which you can build up over time.
Breathing exercises can help deal with anxiety in two ways: longer-term, and in overwhelming moments. Taking ten minutes each day to meditate and breathe can be almost as effective as going for a walk, and will help lessen the impact of anxiety over the long-term. But there are also the moments just before an event, such as making a presentation or meeting new people that can be particularly anxiety-inducing when breathing exercises can also help.
One popular exercise is to breathe in deeply through the nose, and out through the mouth. While doing this, imagine the air moving through the body in fluid motion. This not only helps get fresh air into the body, but also distracts the mind for a few moments, making it easier to cope with the anxiety in that moment.
Anxiety can affect anyone at any point in their lives. The important thing to remember is that most of the time, the level of anxiety is disproportionate. Things that may seem like the end of the world today may not even be remembered at all in 20 years, so ask yourself if you should really be that worried. If not, hopefully these exercises can help you push those feelings aside. If so, don’t let the anxiety prevent you from stepping up and addressing the issues as best you can, as soon as possible, even if that means seeking help.