Living with and managing anxiety
Lifestyle changes can also make a difference and should be encouraged as part of any treatment plan.
Things you can do to keep your anxiety under control are:
- Keep physically active: A routine that allows you to be physically active most days of the week can do wonders with controlling anxiety. Exercise is a powerful stress reliever. Exercise helps to improve mood and keep you physically healthy. Choose an activity that you enjoy, start slowly and gradually build up the amount of times you participate in it and the intensity for maximum benefit.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs: Substances that worsen anxiety symptoms should be avoided altogether. If you cannot stop on your own, find a support group or health professional that can help you as soon as possible.
- Cut back or quit smoking, and drinking caffeinated beverages: Stimulants like nicotine and caffeine can worsen symptoms of anxiety.
- Relaxation and stress management: Meditation and visualisation techniques are great relaxation exercises you can use to ease your anxiety.
- Get plenty of rest: Do all you can to make sleep a priority (and get enough of it). Feeling rested helps you function and alleviates other emotions which trigger your anxiety. If you have trouble sleeping, it is a good idea to see your doctor for assistance.
- Watch your diet: Healthy eating and a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish have been linked in reducing anxiety. A healthy diet will also keep other physical conditions at bay.
- Learn to cope with your disorder: Talk to your doctor or mental health provider and learn about the causes of your disorder and what triggers your stress levels. This will help with practicing the coping strategies developed for you. You can also involve your friends and family as a way of helping them learn how best to understand your condition and how they can contribute to beneficial support. A journal can also be a helpful coping measure, and tool to understand your disorder and triggers.
- Stick to your treatment plan: Keep your therapy appointments, take your medications as required or directed and complete assignments your therapist may give you. Consistency will only help your treatment process.
- Seek out support: You aren’t alone in the symptoms you experience. There are anxiety support groups you can join which offer compassion, understanding and the opportunity to share experiences.