Anxiety is the number one most-often occurring mental health issue in the U.S., probably in the world. Every year in the U.S., approximately 40 million people, or 18% of the population, suffers from anxiety.

Everyone who has or has ever gone through an episode of this mental health condition wants to know how to control anxiety. Of course, the ultimate control would be to alleviate the condition totally. This would likely take some time, effort, and money. It would be worth it in the end not to suffer from anxiety again, but you would have to make the commitment to do what it would take.

In the meantime, you could still suffer from anxiety. In fact, sometimes your anxiety could get worse as you deal with the issues brought up in therapy. So, you need some tips on how to control anxiety as you work on it.

Tip #1: Exercise

Exercise is an excellent way to get a handle on your anxiety. Just about any kind of exercise will help, as long as it boosts your heart rate. This will release endorphins in your system. These natural chemicals are brain substances that will relax you and improve your mood.

Exercising will also increase the balance of your hormones and will tire your muscles. This makes it easier for you to sleep, and sleep is a good thing when you’re anxious.

Studies have shown the use of exercise to have almost no negatives. Other studies have shown exercise to be about as good as some medications that are used to treat anxiety.

Jogging is a great exercise to use, but you need to find a type of exercise that fits you. Be sure to keep it up once you start, so the benefits will continue.

Walking is also a good way to help you deal with anxiety. Not only can it provide the aerobic exercise you need, it also can stimulate your senses of touch, smell, and vision. Stimulation of these senses will serve to keep you distracted from anxiety.

Exercise, like all of these tips, is one way to help you deal with anxiety symptoms relatively quickly.

Tip #2: Sleep

Sleep and anxiety are antagonists. That is, when you’re anxious, you don’t sleep. Or at least you don’t sleep well. And not sleeping causes more anxiety. One more way of handling your anxiety is to work at getting at least seven hours of sleep every night.

It’s important that you get into a routine around bed time. Make it very routine and very boring. This will set the stage for you to get into bed and go to sleep. Be sure to have a set time to go to bed and get up. Don’t take naps in the daytime.

Keep your bedroom just for sleeping. No electronic games, no television, no surfing the internet.

Using essential oils, especially lavender, seems to help many people get to sleep faster and sleep better through the night. Put the oil on your pillow or get a diffuser to run through the night putting the aroma in the air.

If you smoke, quit. Nicotine interferes with sleep.

Tip #3: Eat Well

A balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as meat products, will benefit you overall. Drink a lot of water. These things will improve your health and make your gut system operate better. This will also improve the balance of your hormones and enzymes. All of which will help your anxiety.

There are some foods that will most likely increase your anxiety. Any foods that have caffeine in them will add to your anxiety. Refined sugar is also not good for anxiety or depression. Avoid coffee, tea, soda, or even chocolate.

Tip #4: Sex

Yes, sex works! Not only does it bring physical relaxation, it also can help with the emotional aspect of your anxiety. You should talk with your significant other about the things going on with you that could be bringing the anxiety. Whether her or she can do anything about them doesn’t matter. What does matter is you have someone you trust to talk to.

Tip #5: Relaxation

Learning to systematically relax will help you deal with your anxiety symptoms relatively quickly. There are many relaxation exercises that can help you. Search on the internet and find one that works for you. The key is to keep at it. The more you practice relaxation, the better it helps you relax and the longer the feeling of relaxation will last.

There are two of these exercises that seem to help just about everyone. Learn deep breathing. Also known as “belly breathing,” this exercise serves to fill your lungs completely. Many people, when they’re anxious, breathe shallowly, leading to increased anxiety. Breathing fully will lower anxiety.

One way to learn this kind of breathing is to lie down, put your hand on your stomach just above your belly button, and make the hand go up and down with each breath. Practicing this several times a day will make it almost automatic.

The other part of this relaxation exercise is visualization. Get in mind a place where you felt the most safe and secure. Visualize this place in so much detail, you can put yourself there in your mind. Combine these with each other, and you have a great way to deal with your anxiety.

Tip #6: Journal

Much of the time, writing down things makes them more real and solid in your mind. Keeping a journal of positive things that happen in your life will make them more real and solid.

When people experience anxiety, their thinking typically grows more negative. Thinking about the negatives in your life makes them seem bigger, more negative. And it’s easy to bring up the negatives when you feel anxious.

Some people have a hard time getting started writing down positives because they think the positives need to be big ones. That isn’t necessary. Anything positive will do. Even little things. Things such as waking up and feeling good. Any compliments someone gives you is good to add to your journal.

Be careful not to say there’s been nothing positive in my life today. Everyone has something positive in their lives on a regular basis. You may have to search for the positives, but they’re there.

Tip #7: Distraction

Because your mind can’t focus on two things at the same time, distracting yourself from the anxious thoughts you have will help lower your anxiety. In this age of electronics, it’s easier than ever to distract yourself.

If you have an iPod, download things that mean a lot to you. Music may not be a good idea, because the mind finds it easier to ignore music than words. One suggestion is to download comedy podcasts, even if you don’t think you’ll enjoy them. Made yourself listen to them.

Other distractions also help. When you’re anxious, you tend to want to be alone. That’s not a good way to deal with your anxiety. Being with people, talking to and with them, doing things with them can distract you from your anxiety for a time.

If there is something you enjoy very much, continue doing that thing. Even when you’re anxious and not wanting to do enjoyable things, you need to continue doing those things. The more attention you pay to those enjoyable things, the more enjoyable they become again. As they get more enjoyable, your anxiety will decrease.

Tip #8: Thinking Differently

Very often, when people are anxious their thoughts become distorted. These distortions are often irrational and unhealthy. They only make your anxiety worse.

You might get to the point of black or white thinking. This happens when you see everything as either good or bad, right or wrong. You don’t see anything in between. No gray areas at all.

You could also get to the point of filtering your thinking. You only allow negative thoughts to enter and stay in your mind. You filter out anything positive.

Overgeneralizing is another kind of irrational thinking. This is when you automatically think everyone is going to be critical of you when one person says something critical. Or you believe because something happened one time, it will happen every time.

Reasoning emotionally occurs when you base everything only on how you feel. If you feel dumb, you automatically think you are dumb.

Conclusion

There are several ways you can help yourself handle the anxiety you feel. Some will work at some times, others at other times. That makes it important for you to come up with several things you can do to lower the impact of your anxiety. Find what works for you and use it.

The best thing you can do to relieve your anxiety is to find what causes it, the root of the issue. This may require professional help. Therapists are trained to help you deal with your anxiety in a number of ways. This won’t be easy for you, but it will be best in the long run.

References

How to Control Anxiety  http://www.wikihow.com/Control-Anxiety

15 Small Steps You Can Take Today to Improve Anxiety Symptoms  https://psychcentral.com/lib/15-small-steps-you-can-take-today-to-improve-anxiety-symptoms/

10 Best Ways to Manage Your Anxiety  http://www.alternet.org/10-best-ways-manage-your-anxiety