For some of us, anxiety has become a way of life. What used to be the result of the flight-or-fight response has turned into a daily reaction to triggers. Are we afraid that a tiger or lion will eat us? No, our triggers can include bills, work issues, academic problems, crowded situations, toxic relationships, financial difficulties, and illness.
But we can overcome anxiety and bring relief. Chronic anxiety is dangerous and can lead to physical and mental issues and complications. Read on for ideas about how to beat anxiety.
How to beat anxiety in eight easy steps.Anxiety can feel like a dark cloud that suddenly propels you over the edge. Your heart races, your stomach churns, you sweat and feel nauseous. You may even feel like you might suffer a heart attack if you do not get it under control. These symptoms are part of the daily battle when you suffer from chronic anxiety. However, the following are suggestions for how to beat anxiety symptoms.
Acknowledge your emotions.
Often, we get so caught up in the effects of stress and anxiety that we do not stop to acknowledge our emotions. Instead, we seek to cover and stuff them down deep. But as most of us have learned through trial and error, unresolved hurts and trauma manifest in painful emotions and sabotaging behaviors.
Chronic anxiety is typically the result of a trigger or several triggers. You may notice that when you analyze your emotions, you may be able to pinpoint negative thoughts preceding the emotions.
For example, when faced with a social event, you may experience high anxiety. What thoughts are running through your head? Are you worried about what other people may think? Are you concerned that you might offend someone? You may want to share these thoughts with a counselor and learn how to reframe your anxious thoughts.
Go to God in prayer.
Are you hardwired to do everything yourself? Are you an independent spirit who only asks for help when there is no other option? Do you turn to everyone else before you turn to God? You are not alone. Many people look for solutions in all the wrong places before going to God with their problems.
Maybe you think God would not be interested in your anxiety and daily struggles. God loves you, and no detail of your life slides by Him. He knows the number of hairs on your head, according to His Word.
Consider making God your go-to before you tackle anxiety on your own. Ask Him for discernment and peace as you navigate your day. Ask Him to step in, placing a hedge of protection around you and helping you to give yourself grace. Read the Bible and look for passages on how to beat anxiety.
Talk to a trusted friend.
Sharing your burden can relieve anxiety surrounding a circumstance or event. Whether you need advice or just a listening ear, having one or two people to lean on can reduce stress.
Give your friend a call, but remember to ask them about their own struggles. We often get caught up in our struggles and forget the problems weighing our friends down. Share what worries you, but ask your friends about their lives. Offer to pray for each other and check in through texts and messaging throughout the day or during a stressful event.
Pause to practice deep breathing.
When you are stressed or experiencing a state of high anxiety, you may notice a rapid heart rate and shallow breathing. This combination can leave you feeling lightheaded, dizzy, and as if you are about to faint. Pausing to practice deep breathing can help to “reset” your breathing patterns.
To start, close your eyes if you can (leave them open if you are in a dangerous situation like driving) and inhale slowly through your nose. Hold your breath for a few beats, then slowly exhale from your mouth. When you inhale, feel your lungs expanding. Try to sense the inhalation in the lower quadrants of your lungs. When you exhale, push the air out. Repeat, as necessary.
Do something for you.
Anxiety tends to be wrapped up in worry and fear. When we become overwhelmed with responsibilities or are forced to adhere to others’ schedules, it leaves little time for our own endeavors and self-care. Unfortunately, this can leave us feeling depleted.
You have probably heard the saying, “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” This is quite true. You cannot continue giving the best of yourself to others if you do not pour back into your own cup. The good news is that you can ask God to do the pouring. He can empower you and give you grace and strength to get through the day. He can multiply your time.
Schedule a few minutes daily to read His word, worship, and pray. But do not forget to take time out to do something that fills you with joy. For example, maybe it is reading a book, grabbing a coffee and window shopping, playing golf, or knitting. Just do something that brings you joy and peace.
Exercise to beat anxiety.Have you ever noticed that you push aside exercise when your schedule gets full? You cannot even contemplate spending the extra time to work out when there is so much more to do. We have all been there. Busy professionals, contractors, homemakers, and full-time working women all have the same twenty-four hours per day and 168 hours per week. Yet, exercise is one of the best “medicines” for anxiety.
Exercise helps to regulate the cardiorespiratory system, enabling you to strengthen your heart and lungs. Your heart rate and blood pressure decrease to normal levels, and you can manage stress better. There is also the “runner’s high” that exercise gives you when your serotonin and other brain chemicals spike, leaving you feeling happy and confident.
If you have not exercised in a while, start slowly after you receive clearance from your physician. Do activities that are fun for you. The more you enjoy your physical movement, the more consistently you exercise. It is consistency that will help you overcome anxiety and other health issues.
Avoid foods, drinks, and substances that worsen anxiety.
It is so easy to reach for junk food, drive through a fast-food joint, or grab a cigarette when anxiety is at its highest. Although the dopamine hit you receive from these substances gives you a temporary sense of relief, they actually worsen anxiety. Turning to any vice for comfort will leave you wanting.
Instead, take a few minutes to plan for your day. If you typically eat junk or fast food, prepare and pack healthy meals and snacks to get you through the day. You may want to make this part of your evening routine after dinner. Make a short list of nutritious breakfasts, lunches, and snacks you can take with you. Remember that staying hydrated will prevent headaches, so pack a few water bottles.
If you indulge in alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs, speak to a counselor about cutting back or removing those substances from your life. Some substances can leave you jittery, lightheaded, anxious, and even paranoid. Counseling is available for addiction. Contact our office today to schedule a session with a counselor to discuss your options.
If you need more ideas about how to beat anxiety or someone to share your struggle with, contact our center today to schedule an introductory session with a counselor. Your counselor can help you uncover the deeper triggers and find ways around the stress and anxiety.
Your counseling sessions are customized to your specific needs. You can choose from in-person, virtual, or a combination. Call today to get started.
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