Depending on the situation, anxiety can possibly save your life or ruin it. It is a hardwired survival response, but it can misfire. Keeping anxiety under control may feel like an uphill battle.
Being nervous or distressed at times is normal and potentially helpful. However, if anxiety feels ever-present, it can prevent you from being productive or living your life to the fullest.
When worries loom loom over you like a dark cloud, it may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. This is neither rare nor cause for alarm. Studies have shown that anxiety disorders impact about one in five American adults.
But how to keep anxiety under control? First take heart. There are many proven treatments and self-help approaches available to you.
Fight or Flight?
As noted at the outset, anxiety most often serves a useful purpose. It alerts us to risk. It prepares us to deal with any potential danger. Through a series of neurological reactions, you become ready to face up to or flee from a threat. This is commonly referred to as the “fight-or-flight” response, and it’s perfectly normal.
The problems occur when you start “seeing” risk where it does not exist. Based on your experiences, you may find yourself locked into a 24/7 fight-or-flight mode. This not only exhausts—mentally and physically. It also manifests in different forms of anxiety disorders, such as:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Panic Disorder
Talking to a therapist can help you learn more about how anxiety manifests in your life. And in the meantime, there are some powerful steps you can take on your own.
5 Tips for Keeping Anxiety Under Control
None of these tips are very difficult to implement, but they do require some effort.
1. Practice Self-Care
This is foundational. Creating and sticking to a daily self-care routine will bring out the best version of you. It will also remind you, each and every day, that you are worth the effort. Some basic self-care ideas to include:
- Healthy eating habits
- Regular sleep patterns
- Daily exercise and activity
- Stress management and relaxation techniques (such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises)
- Staying connected with others
That last item may sound like the trickiest—especially in a world impacted by division and a global health crisis. But remember, you can cultivate community in a way that feels safe. Phone calls, video chats, and the like are all workable options.
2. Simplify Your Daily Life
Sometimes, life is just crammed far too full of things. To-do lists, work, family obligations—all creating stress and worry. So, take stock of what stresses you out and make some moves to provide balance.
It might be decluttering your living space. Or maybe it’s your budget that needs some TLC. Teach yourself to recognize and remove such worry-inducing tendencies. You might be surprised how much more balanced you feel.
3. Talk Back to Your Inner Critic
Anxiety disorders will try to highjack your inner monologue. And that internal critic can be pretty harsh, beating you down worse than any external source ever could.
To start muffling that fault-finder in the back of your mind, practice differentiating between what “seems” dangerous and what actually is. Talk back to that critical, overprotective voice. Putting it in its place is key to keeping anxiety under control.
4. Practice Gratitude
Positivity is a powerful weapon against constant worries. Why not think about the positive aspects of your life you can be grateful for?
You don’t have to hit the lottery to feel gratitude. Instead, get in the practice of celebrating life’s precious little moments. It may sound corny. But counting your blessings can create a calmer, more positive mindset.
5. Help Others
Speaking of corny… (don’t roll your eyes!) Scientific and anecdotal evidence agrees on this point. Making time to help others has a beneficial impact on one’s emotional health. And the holiday season isn’t the only time that lends itself to helping.
How about the small ways you can help every day? A family member, your neighbors, coworkers, and many more—even complete strangers—there are tons of opportunities to lend a helping hand. The possibilities and rewards are endless.
Why Reach Out to a Therapist?
To put it simply: self-awareness. Your weekly sessions will empower you by helping you identify the underlying causes of your looming worries. The more transparent you make these factors, the better you can understand a cycle that may currently feel mystifying.
Anxiety can make you feel guilt or shame about asking for help—that’s the inner critic again. But by pushing past these initial anxious feelings, you set yourself up for new freedom. You can talk about and learn how to face up to the worries.
In the process, you’ll discover fresh ways to be more present in your everyday life. And this will enrich your well-being and help deepen your bond with others.
If you’re interested to find out how my approach to anxiety treatment can help you get control over your anxiety, please feel free to contact me.