Stress and anxiety can plague anyone and can strike at any time. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the U.S. every year. While these disorders are treatable, only 36.9 percent of those affected get treatment.
Without managing it when you first notice symptoms, the effects can quickly spiral out of control. Stress and anxiety can affect you mentally, but also physically. To avoid becoming overwhelmed by stress and anxiety, take control of these feelings with the following tips to get you back on track.
When you’re fighting stress and anxiety, or any other condition for that matter, your body needs rest and a full eight hours of sleep. Having adequate amounts of sleep can help improve your mood, help you think more clearly, and allow you to handle situations better than when you’re sleep deprived. Stress and anxiety can cause sleeping problems, so be sure to make your bedtime routine a calming habit that promotes effective sleeping.
Being physically active can help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It releases endorphins and other natural chemicals in the brain that can make you feel good, and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Additionally, the physical results of working out can improve your self esteem. No matter what type of exercise you choose, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends 30 minutes per day, five days per week for optimal results.
When you’re stressed, it can be easy to rely on fast food or treats as a coping mechanism. Fight the urge to “reward” yourself for tough times by overindulging — the results will leave you sluggish, cause you to gain weight, and leave you feeling worse off than you were before tough times hit. Instead, stock up on foods that improve your brain health for better mental well-being. Fish, broccoli and eggs are just some of the foods that can boost overall cognition and mood.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so you can’t come down too hard on yourself for not accomplishing everything all at once. Be realistic about when you want to achieve your goals, and don’t set yourself up for disappointment if things don’t turn out exactly as you planned. Be proud of whatever success you achieve, and accept that you can’t control everything.
Replace Negativity with Positivity
It’s not always easy to maintain a positive mindset, so work toward replacing negative thoughts with positive ones when possible. Remember that it’s all about perspective — a single incident can be seen many different ways. Ask yourself, is it really as bad as you initially think? Sometimes it’s easier to dismiss something as negative, so take the time to find the silver lining in any given situation.
Learn Your Triggers
Do you notice your anxiety and stress are brought on by a specific situation? Whether it’s work-related, personal, family-related or some other area of your life, identify patterns in your feelings, and what triggers them. When you get those feelings of stress or anxiety, write it down in a journal and record how it makes you feel. Take note of any details you can use to pinpoint the cause.
Deep Breathing and Relaxation Techniques
Inhaling and exhaling slowly can help symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat to subside. The extra oxygen can help clear your mind, and it gives you time to sort out your thoughts. Other ways to calm down include yoga, meditation and massage, all of which promote relaxation.
Seek Professional Help
If these natural remedies don’t alleviate your feelings, it may be time to talk to a professional. Licensed therapists can evaluate your case and provide counseling services to help you cope. Therapy can help you work through your problems by talking them over and developing plans to correct problem areas in your life.
Fisher-Titus is equipped to provide patients with the behavioral health care they need. If you are having trouble coping with stress and anxiety, contact our behavioral health team by calling 419-668-0311.