woman doing breathing exercises
February 22, 2024

Most people have occasional feelings of anxiety as a normal part of life. However, if you experience excessive and frequent anxiety, panic, fear, and terror in regular situations, you may have an anxiety disorder. These strong feelings are unhealthy and can prevent you from functioning normally, impacting your quality of life. While medications and psychotherapy are typically needed to get anxiety under control, some lifestyle changes and coping strategies can also help. Here are some tips that can help you manage anxiety to take back control of your life.

1. Get Moving

Staying physically active can make a huge difference for your mental health and can help you manage anxiety. Exercise is an effective stress reducer, and it can help improve mood and keep your body and brain healthy. The physical symptoms of anxiety are caused by your body’s fight-or-flight stress response, which sends adrenaline and cortisol throughout your body. Exercise burns up these stress chemicals and promotes relaxation. You should aim to do some type of physical activity at least three or four times a week to help manage anxiety.

2. Practice Mindfulness

woman in a meditation pose at the beach

When you feel anxious, you may spend a lot of time caught up in a cycle of anxiety-inducing thoughts. Practicing mindfulness can bring your attention back to the present and help you disengage from unhealthy and unhelpful thoughts. Start by challenging your fears, asking yourself if they are true, and seeing where you can regain control. Grounding techniques such as journaling and meditation can help you focus on the present and take control of your thoughts. You can also try the 333 rule, which involves naming three things you can see, three things you can hear, and interacting with three things you can touch.

3. Try Relaxation and Breathing Techniques

Relaxation and breathing techniques may help you manage anxiety when those negative feelings and thoughts occur. One breathing technique that can help involves breathing in for four counts and breathing out for four counts, and repeating for five minutes. Controlling your breathing can slow your heart rate, which should help calm your anxiety. You can also try relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, isometric relaxation exercises, and abdominal breathing.

4. Adjust Your Diet

dark, leafy green vegetables in a colander

Magnesium is a mineral that helps muscle tissue relax, and a deficiency can contribute to insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Insufficient amounts of calcium and vitamin B may also worsen anxiety symptoms. Including more of these nutrients in your diet may help you manage anxiety. Your daily diet should include wholegrains, leafy green vegetables, and low-fat dairy products to supply your body with sufficient amounts of magnesium, calcium, and vitamin B.

5. Avoid Alcohol, Nicotine, and Caffeine

Nicotine, caffeine, and other stimulants can cause your body to release adrenaline, which is a primary stress chemical. This means you should limit or cut out things like coffee, caffeinated tea, energy drinks, etc, and you should quit smoking to help you manage anxiety. Alcohol and recreational drugs are also known to cause or worsen anxiety and trigger panic attacks. If you have trouble quitting a substance on your own, talk to your healthcare provider or find a support group to help you.

6. Talk to Someone You Trust

woman talking to a therapist

Talking about the things that are making you anxious can provide a lot of relief. Sometimes just having someone show they care and listen to you can help alleviate some of the negative thoughts and feelings. Call or meet up with a friend or family member who you trust so you can talk and get those thoughts out of your head. Talking to a trained professional can also be very helpful, and they can provide advice and guidance to help you manage anxiety.

7. Take a Stress Test

Anxiety can sometimes be caused by a disturbance in your body’s stress response and adrenal health. The adrenal glands release hormones to handle stress, so taking a Stress Test can give insight into these hormone fluctuations. When you order an at-home Stress Test, you will receive a test kit with instructions on how to collect a saliva sample and send it back. You will then receive the results as well as personalized recommendations based on those results.

To learn more about your body’s stress response, purchase a Stress Test today as the first step toward managing your anxiety!