Stress, depression and anxiety disorders are psychological challenges faced by many people. Most psychological problems can be averted if you know how to properly manage your mind and not letting it get out of order. Managing your mind is like tending to a garden. If you do not tend to it in a disciplined manner, unwanted weeds and undergrowth will overwhelm it. On the other hand, if you manage your garden with tender loving care and plant it with good seeds, then you will reap a good harvest.
In other words, if you consistently bombard your mind with worrisome thoughts, anxiety and stress will set in until it gets out of control. Seeding your mind with good and resourceful thoughts will ward off a breakdown and will keep your mind in tip-top levels.
Do you know that the fear of anxiety attacks by itself is the main trigger to cause anxiety attacks? Just by learning how to deal with anxiety has helped thousands of sufferers stop these problems in its tracks.
This should be the first step, among others, and listed below are the top 21 stress & anxiety management techniques that you can do on your own. All of them are proven to work well and will lessen your worries and should be part of your overall self-management strategy. Remember, manage your mind well using these psychological and physiological tips and you will live a positive and fulfilling life, free from stress and anxiety attacks.
The top stress & anxiety management techniques:
1. Change your diet
Following a balanced diet is not only good for your weight and general health but is a proven stress & anxiety management technique. You should never starve yourself and always eat breakfast – skipping breakfast results in low sugar levels, which in turn might bring up anxiety-like symptoms. Eating food rich in calcium, phosphorus and magnesium helps reducing stress and so does avoiding refined sugar.
2. Reduce the intake of caffeine
Limit your caffeinated beverages to one per day or switch to decaf. The large amounts of caffeine will induce anxiety symptoms and might lead to sleeping troubles as well.
3. Vitamin B
Vitamin B will help you in your battle with anxiety disorders and stress. Most doctors will advise you to increase the intake of foods, rich on B vitamin, or take it as a supplement. Click here for resources on Vitamin B and its calming effects.
This is an excellent stress & anxiety management technique – it eases the symptoms of anxiety and stress. During exercise, endorphin is released and that helps in boosting your mood. Medical practitioners recommend at least 45 minutes daily exercise from up to five days per week and this can be aerobic, walking, or cardio.
Massages help in decreasing stress and anxiety levels. If you start feeling anxious at work or don’t have the time to visit a professional masseur you can give a quick and discrete neck and hands self-massage right there in your office.
6. Analyze and face your problems and fears
If you are suffering from a phobia you should never try to face your fears “head-on”, but gradually, with the help of a professional, learn to accept situations that you find terrifying. Take a proactive approach to your problems, do not leave your chores and tasks for the last minute, this only increases your stress levels.
7. Think positive
Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. You might have heard of this already, but this is, in fact, a simple, yet powerful stress & anxiety management technique. If you start having negative thoughts and excessive worries you can force yourself to think about something pleasant and enjoyable. Immediately you will start feeling better and calmer.
Suppress negative thoughts – do not underestimate the power of your own mind. You are in control and you can decide to push your negative thoughts away and replace them with happy ones. A simple technique is to imagine that you are in a better place – close your eyes and “see” yourself sitting on the beach, listening to the splash of the ocean waves – this will calm you down and help you reduce your stress levels.
8. Take action
If you have been diagnosed with anxiety disorder, take action – this will give you a sense of control and in turn reduce your stress and anxiety. Start seeing a mental health professional, join an anxiety support group, join the gym, start exercising, take any action and you are already a winner.
9. Manage your “worry time”
Many people worry about events that are far ahead in the future. Why worry now if you can worry later? If you can take practical steps to solve a problem, by all means, take them, but there is no need to worry excessively as this will only increase your anxiety.
10. Write down your worries and fears
Once you put it all down on paper, you might find out that you worry about events that you have no control over (they will either happen or they won’t) are small and insignificant matters. In that case, simply stop worrying about them – keep your strength for the big challenges in your life.
11. Don’t worry about what other people think or say about you.
This is very helpful for people who suffer from social anxiety disorders. You don’t need other people’s approval in order to lead a fulfilling and exciting life, and the sooner you realize this simple truth, the less stressed out you will feel.
One of the most wonderful and pleasant stress & anxiety management techniques. A large amount of endorphin, which is a feel-good hormone, is released during sex and this explains why all people are happy after having sex. Studies have proven that sex and orgasms boost mood and reduce stress levels. Even though most of us lead busy lives, you can always find time for sex.
13. Practice deep breathing
Many health professionals will be able to show you breathing exercises, which you should keep practising. Once you sense some physical or mental signs of anxiety or even panic attack, start breathing deeply – this is a simple technique where you deliberately slow down your breathing and use your diaphragm. This will slow your heartbeat, relax your muscles and reduce anxiety.
Smiling releases our body’s natural drugs: Serotonin and Endorphins. These hormones are natural pain killers and are also labelled as natural “feel-good” drugs. It will wash away all the tensions in your body, relaxes your muscles and takes away the pain. It will also instantly change the negative state that you are in into a positive one and this will, in turn, put you into a good mood. Smiling is also contagious and will boost your immune system.
15. Use the power of affirmations
Using positive affirmations throughout the day will help you fight anxiety – if you suspect that you might be having another panic attack, you can keep repeating to yourself “I can handle this,” and “I will calm down.” Even though this might seem odd at first, it will help you feel much better. Your mind will move you towards things that you are focusing on. If you keep on saying “I will calm down”, etc, it will take immediate command of calming you down and this has an instant effect.
16. Don’t be a victim – fight back!
If you and your family are in good health, if you live in a peaceful country and there’s no major weather disaster coming your way, then you don’t have much to worry about. You must be a fighter and tackle your everyday tasks with ease and simply see them as minor challenges, not as something that you should excessively worry about.
17. Don’t overload yourself.
If you work 12-14 hours every day and take no time off, your stress levels will inevitably arise. Know your limitations, take practical steps to reduce your workload, take time to relax and you will better manage your anxiety and stress.
A great way to relax – many oils like lavender, geranium, marjoram and others can help you relax and in fact, have been used to help people with sleeping disorders. They are believed to relieve anxiety and stress symptoms as well.
This is an ancient Chinese technique that is believed to reduce stress, tension, and anxiety. Studies have shown that it has a positive effect, similar or better than the traditional full-body massage.
20. Focus on doing something that you like.
If you have been putting off an interest, now is the time to take up the hobby. It may be keeping a pet, painting or anything that will occupy your mind. In so doing, your mind will now have new thoughts and that leaves it with no room for negative ones. Just by flushing out the unresourceful thoughts which create anxieties and replacing it with a new focus will work wonders.
21. Listen, read or watch motivational materials.
Simply search Youtube.com for videos tagged with keywords “motivational” or “inspirational” and spend some time going through highly rated videos. This will almost instantly change your perspective and downplay your worries. You can also read inspirational books or talk to people who can inspire you.
Do you like the list above? Remember, the first step to conquering panic anxiety attacks is to conquer the fear of having one!
22. Make a to-do list
One of the things that cause anxiety disorders is feeling overwhelmed by many tasks. It is hard to focus when you have so much undone. This ends up with nothing done and more stress. To deal with this, use the last or first few minutes of your day to organize yourself. By so doing, it is easy to implement your duties avoiding stress. Break down the tasks when making your list. For instance instead of writing “clean my house” you can write, “do laundry, clean utensils and throw trash.”
23. Blow some bubbles
When suffering from a panic attack, you need to have tips to calm yourself. Panic attacks can happen anywhere. Carry some little bubble soap in your purse, and find a private place to blow the bubbles when it occurs in public. Blowing bubbles forces you to slow down your breathing, take deep breaths and find something new to focus on.
24. Go for a walk
We all need some peace, and alone time to rethink. To avoid feeling suffocated with everything you are going through and taking care of others, take a walk alone. It helps clear your mind and put everything into perspective.
25. Refocus your attention
This can help when you find yourself in a stressful situation in a public place. Concentrate on everything else around you. That is any smell or sound within your reach. Smell the scent in your clothes and feel the breeze around you. By concentrating on everything happening around you, you get your mind off the stressful thoughts.
26. Tidy up
A clustered environment can cause mental distress. A clean and neat room brings about a sense of calmness and comfort. See that your room is neat; the whole process of removing dust can be a good distraction. Also, you get to accomplish something that you could have otherwise not completed.
27. Acknowledge your feelings
The first thing to do to when dealing with anxiety is to acknowledge that it is there. Remind yourself that it is just like any other feeling like happiness and sadness that you experience. By so doing, it becomes easier to overcome.
28. Remember it is not the first time you are experiencing this
When you get an anxiety attack, remember it is not the first time you are going through this. Remember you have been through this and you overcame it. Knowing that you fought it last time, is very comforting.
29. Monitor your thoughts
It is hard to control anxiety disorders, but it is even harder to deal with the illness if you do not understand what causes it. You can journal your thoughts to see what triggers the anxiety. When you are aware of what causes it, you can use positive affirmations when it happens to get rid of the negativity.
30. Confront your fears
As much as this may sound out of line and scary, facing your fears can help you fight your anxiety disorder. By doing something you are afraid of, you realize that it may not be as bad as you may have thought it would be in your mind. You may need the help of a counsellor or psychologist to avoid feeling too much pressure.
31. Treat your anxiety as if it is different from you
Try treating your disorder as if it is separate from you, talk to it and tell it everything is going to be alright. If you are in a private space, you can even talk to it loudly. This helps you calm down from time to time.
32. Focus on your safe place
Having a safe place where you can run to mentally when you are stressed can help you calm down. A safe place can be something real in your life that makes you happy or something imaginary. You can visit a professional to help you create a safe place. You can also use your bed as a safe place where you go to every night and pretend that everything that makes you anxious can’t reach you there.
33. Drink a glass of water
A glass of water can help you reduce anxiety and calm you down. If you are hyperventilating (breathing very fast), drinking water forces you to regulate your breathing after taking one sip.
34. Listen to your favourite music
There is nothing that helps you when you are feeling anxious than good music. Have a playlist of your best music play when you are feeling worked out. This acts as a big distraction for helping you relax.
35. Talk to a friend or close relative
Most people suffer from anxiety disorders because they bottle up everything they are feeling to themselves. Talking to a close person can help you get what you are feeling out of your chest and calm down. Also, your friend can help you calm down as they know how you think.
36. Find a therapist
It can take a long time finding the right therapist but when you do, it is life changing. A therapist helps you get to the root of the cause of your disorder, making it easier for you to fight it. A therapist also assists you to fight negativity. Well, it doesn’t happen overnight but it is very effective.
37. Talk to your doctor about medication
Sometimes fighting anxiety requires more than staying positive. If you feel you need help battling the illness, talk to your doctor about getting a prescription.
It is annoying when you want to move on with your life, and you feel like anxiety keeps taking you a step back. Saying living with anxiety disorders and panic attacks is easy would only be a white lie. However, by using the above tips life becomes easier and you may not even feel overwhelmed as you did before trying them.