Ugh! Anxiety! That gnawing feeling of worry, fear, and/or uncertainty that can make it hard to enjoy life, achieve our goals or sometimes even breathe.
Anxiety can be especially tough because it’s not always easy to identify the root cause. It can creep up on us in unexpected ways or spring fully developed from a surprise trigger in our lives. The thing to remember is that none of us is alone, and there are things we can do to help ease our anxiety.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that anxiety is a normal human emotion. Everyone experiences it at some point in their lives, and it’s okay to feel anxious sometimes. We should respect the signals our bodies and minds are telling us.
When anxiety starts to interfere with our daily lives, it’s time for us to take action.
Combating anxiety can look different for different people.
Mindfulness could be a key help in this fight. Since when we are anxious our minds are stuck in a pattern of oppressive negative thoughts. Practicing mindfulness is the act of being present in the moment and focusing on our thoughts and feelings without judgment. When we do this we can learn to recognize when we are feeling anxious and take steps to calm ourselves.
Having this type of ready action to take when we notice anxiety sneaking in helps us focus on a task and not allow our minds to spiral into the abyss.
Exercise can be one of these tools. It is a great way to reduce anxiety because it releases positive hormones into our bodies that have an extremely beneficial effect. More than that, regular exercise can help us sleep better, which tends to reduce anxiety.
As such, the lack of sleep can make anxiety worse. Lack of sleep, or exhaustion can lower good chemicals in our bodies and therefore lowers our ability to resist the negative thoughts leading to anxiety. Because of this it’s important to prioritize getting enough rest. Most health professionals recommend aiming for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine to trigger our minds that it is time to sleep soon.
Limit caffeine and alcohol can help with combatting anxiety. Some of us have found the instant release of stress when alcohol is in our systems Both caffeine and alcohol can make anxiety worse, so it’s best to avoid them or consume them in moderation.
Anxiety sucks, but it doesn’t have to control our lives. By taking small steps to manage it, we can start to feel more in control and enjoy life more fully.
“Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.”