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Choices Psychotherapy Can Help with Your Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal part of life. You may feel anxious when encountering life’s more stressful events—getting married, publicly speaking, taking a test, problems at work, etc. Your chest might feel tight, you might start to sweat, feel nauseous or you could even experience a panic attack. When your life is packed with stress, anxiety is sure to follow.

While anxiety may be a normal response to life’s stressors, excessive and interfering anxiety is a problem. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is when anxiety seems to never go away. It becomes an ongoing sensation occurring day to day through nearly every activity. Sometimes medications may be needed to quell anxiety, but psychotherapy is also a very effective way to manage and cope with these feelings. Choices Psychotherapy can help those experiencing anxiety in Minneapolis and surrounding communities. While medication and talk therapy are great ways to tackle the anxiety interfering with your life, there are methods you can try yourself to get back to a less stressful life.

10 Ways to Manage Anxiety

1. Try Meditation

You probably live a busy life, and as an adult it can be hard to justify to yourself the worth of taking a break. Taking only 10 minutes for yourself can give just the time you need to slow down, readjust, and meditate during your day. Whether you engage in a meditation practice or simply take that time to listen to music, practice yoga or try other proven relaxation techniques, the point is to take time to “check out” from what’s happening around you and “check in” with what is occurring within you.

Taking time to address the stresses of the day in a calm way will help you to better confront and cope with them. Avoiding underlying anxiety or its triggers will only add to your anxiety.

2. Exercise More

Incorporating more exercise into your daily routine will allow you to not only improve or maintain your health, but it will also help you relieve anxiety. Studies have shown that only 10 minutes of exercise can bring relief from anxiety for several hours. If exercising brings you anxiety, start small. A brisk walk or simple yoga moves can help elevate your mood and stave off detrimental anxiety.

3. Prioritize Sleep

General anxiety disorder can interrupt more than your waking life—it can also interrupt your sleep. Persistent worrying or being unable to relax can keep you from getting a full night’s rest or any sleep at all. It is recommended you try to get 8–9 hours of good sleep every night. Sleep is your brain’s way of recharging and without it, you could be find yourself wearing thin.

Get yourself into the rhythm of going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Avoid your computer, TV or phone before going to bed, as the blue light from electronics screens can prevent melatonin (the hormone that controls sleep and wake cycles) production. If you find yourself still struggling, taking melatonin supplements may help. Getting into these habits will help add structure and much-needed rest into your day to day.

4. Talk to Those Around You

Avoiding friends, family or coworkers during your day may make you feel isolated and could conjure up even more anxiety. Talking about your worries, preoccupations and triggers with those around will help them understand your anxiety and it could put you at ease. Simply venting can keep you from bottling up feelings or impulses and could serve as a huge relief. Sometimes just saying what’s bothering you out loud, to someone for advice or to no one at all, can feel like you’re taking a huge weight off your shoulders.

5. Limit Alcohol and Caffeine Intake

Caffeine-powered drinks such as black teas or coffee don’t pair well with someone who experiences anxiety. The effects of coffee on your body—heightened alertness, sweaty palms, increased heart rate—can feel like the onset of a panic attack to those with anxiety. While you want to enjoy the boost coffee can offer, it can signal an impending attack to your body and have negative results.

Alcohol acts as a sedative and can temporarily relax you, which makes this a tempting solution to bouts of anxiety, but the truth is that it alters your levels of serotonin (a mood-stabilizing neurotransmitter) and can leave you feeling more anxious once the immediate effects of alcohol wear off. Using alcohol to subdue anxiety on your own or in social situations may also lead to alcohol dependence. It’s predicted that nearly “20 percent of patients with social anxiety disorder also suffer from alcohol dependence.”

6. Use Technology

While we urge you to put down electronics before you get into bed, technology can help your anxiety greatly. In order to propagate widespread help for those battling anxiety disorders, things like anxiety apps (applications for smartphones or tablets) have become popular. These tools, often free from your application store, will help you recognize and track your anxiety symptoms, triggers and reactions. They’re like keeping a journal for your emotions and actions, which can help you over time.

7. Write It Down

Writing down how you feel about what is causing you anxiety and how you deal with anxiety itself is much like saying it out loud. Journaling your emotions and thoughts can bring problems to the forefront, help you realize solutions and ultimately help you cope with triggers you can’t necessarily change in life. Writing allows you to unload your mind and take a deep breath while doing so.

8. Be Patient

Learning how to be patient with people and events you cannot change will help you deal with your anxiety. By accepting the inevitable and unavoidable stresses and triggers that might loom around your day-to-day life, you might be able to calm the anxiety you feel from unexpected events. Taking deep, long breaths can help you calm yourself when common triggers occur. Looking into stress-relieving pressure points in your times of need could also help.

9. Learn Deep-breathing Exercises

Taking a moment to be patient could mean taking time to breath. Deep-breathing exercises could also help deter an oncoming anxiety attack. If you feel tightness in your chest or feel like you can’t catch your breath throughout your day, learning deep-breathing exercises could help you tremendously. These exercises don’t just encompass how you breathe, but also help to relax your body and muscles. These are easy techniques to learn, like this belly breathing method, and could help ease your anxiety in times of need.

10. Put Yourself First

Lastly, remember to put yourself first. If you need to take time for yourself, remember that you aren’t obligated to accept every invitation to go out with friends or family. Also remember to do things you love and not lose sight of yourself and who you are in the light of anxiety. If you feel you need help rediscovering yourself or interests you may have lost because of overpowering anxiety, contact Choices Psychotherapy today. We can help you overcome light to extreme anxiety so you can live a less stressful, more relaxed life once again.