Have you ever felt sweaty, restless, and like the world could end any minute?
That feeling of dread is anxiety.
Anxiety is a normal emotion that affects all of us, but sometimes it can get out of control.
When this happens, it stops us from fully enjoying our lives.
So, what can you do when your anxiety feels unmanageable?
Breath Deeply And Slowly
Anxiety activates our sympathetic nervous system or "fight or flight" response.
This leads us to breathe shallow and fast which can make us feel even more anxious!
Slowing down our breath activates the parasympathetic nervous system which stops our "fight or flight" response.
Take deep breaths to help calm your mind and body. Follow along with the GIF below to find the right tempo.
Bring Your Awareness To The Present Moment
We often feel most anxious when we are preoccupied with the past or future.
This can lead to negative thought loops within our own minds.
Bring your attention to the present moment by observing your surroundings.
This can put a hard stop to any negative thought loops.
To help bring yourself to the present moment, focus on:
Observing and naming objects around you
Describing the colors you see
Listening to the sounds around you
Feeling your feet on the ground and the sensations in your body
What should you focus on when experiencing anxiety?
Move Your Body
Our bodies were designed to move.
Research has found high intensity exercise helps to treat anxiety. So a jog or living room dance party can help manage anxiety.
In addition to exercise, sleep is vital for our health and minds.
Often when we are experiencing anxiety it can be hard to have restful sleep.
Try these tips to help ensure you get quality sleep.
Keep a consistent sleep schedule
Don't eat large meals 2 hours before bed time
Turn off electronics 1 hour before bed time
Filter out blue light from screens
What should you NOT do 1 hour before going to bed
Discover Your Anxiety Triggers
Many people with anxiety have noticed that certain things can trigger their anxiety.
Common anxiety triggers include:
Too much caffeine
When you know what usually makes you feel anxious, you can take steps to prepare in advance.
Ask people close to you if they have noticed anything that causes you to seem more anxious.
Think about events that happened immediately before a situation where you started feeling anxious.
Write in a journal whenever you feel anxious to help you discover your anxiety triggers.
If anxiety is stopping you from living your life, and none of these tips help, it may be best to ask for help from a licensed mental health professional.
Talk to your doctor first. They may give you a referral.
Contact either of these 24/7 hotlines if you are in need of immediate support:
Crisis Call Center - call 800 273 8255 or text ANSWER to 839863
Crisis Text Line - text HELLO to 741741