Dealing with Anxiety | Developing the skills to manage anxiety in a post-pandemic reality.
Dealing with feelings of anxiety has become a regular part of our lives. The world we live in today makes us anxious as each day passes. The stress and fear associated with the pandemic have exacerbated the level of social anxiety many people feel. Most people have conceded that things will never go back to normal. So what does that mean for you, and how do you deal with the anxiety associated with uncertainty?
We deal with the everyday pressure of making a living, taking care of children, paying our bills, and settling unexpected circumstances, the death of a loved one, which causes us to be anxious. No, this list isn’t close to being exhaustive, but it paints the picture of just how challenging our lives are on a daily basis.
Apart from that, people with severe anxiety disorders also experience frequent and excessive fear and panic triggers caused by various everyday situations.
These feelings affect your quality of life and prevent you from having an everyday life. It interferes with daily activities and is difficult to control. Coping with anxiety is challenging and will require that we make specific lifestyle changes. Like anything else, our struggle with anxiety will not change unless we take steps to create the change.
While many people with anxiety disorders need medications or therapy to get it under control, changing their lifestyle and coping techniques can make a big difference. While medication is necessary in extreme instances, simply changing your lifestyle, your perspective, and perception is a great place to start.
- Take things one step at a time. Most times, we get anxious about things or what will happen the next day or worry about something that hasn’t happened yet. But being anxious does not solve the problem. It makes you feel worse and worry more. It is also essential to understand that anxiousness interferes with the ability to effectively process information and analyze situations—making it more difficult to resolve an existing challenge.
- Try to take things slow and worry about what you have in the present and find a solution, if that is possible. Don’t fix tomorrow’s problem today. Leave tomorrow’s problem to tomorrow. Now, this does not mean you should not plan and prepare for tomorrow and your long-term future. It means don’t get ahead of yourself worrying about problems you haven’t encountered yet. Dealing with what is on the table to fix today’s problems will often eliminate tomorrow’s worries.
- Keep physically active. Have a routine to stay physically active and develop an activity that will keep you active most of the time. Exercising is a good stress reliever. It decreases muscle tension in your body, which lowers your body’s contributions to feeling anxious. Your body plays an integral role in the stress responses that include anxiety. Alleviating unwanted physical tension will help to lessen the severity of feelings of anxiety.
- It also improves your mood by releasing feel-good endorphins and other natural brain chemicals, enhancing your sense of well-being. You can start with short walks or jogging and then gradually move to working out a few times a week.
- Have enough rest. Have enough rest and sleep. Sleep helps regulate our emotions, reducing emotional and physiological activities and avoiding the escalation of anxiety. The lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your life and health. Studies reveal that going without sleep long enough can even cause death. Sleeping allows your mind to relax and recover.
- Studies have also indicated that nearly everybody’s structure is influenced by the quality and quantity of sleep we get. Rest gives the body the space to shut down and repair itself.
- Eat healthy foods. Eating healthy is essential for keeping a healthy mind. There isn’t any firm research that shows changes in diet can cure anxiety but being careful about what you eat could help—like, adding foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins to your diet. Become aware of good brain food. Good brain health is vital to overall mental health and personal performance.
- Food with proteins helps you feel fuller longer, keeping your sugar level steady. Taking in complex carbohydrates boosts the serotonin in your brain, which helps calm you. Examples of such foods are quinoa, oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and cereals.
- Avoid foods that have simple carbohydrates, like sugary foods and drinks. Drink more water as mild dehydration can even affect your mood, and drinking caffeinated beverages worsen anxiety. There is no shortage of empirical data suggesting that high sugar intake causes many health complications, including mental fog, mental exhaustion, and more.
- Do the things you enjoy. Engaging in hobbies will likely reduce stress, lower your heart rate, and improve your mood. You can engage in activities like massage, taking a bath, dancing, and listening to music. Stick to your treatment plan. Never be too busy to take care of yourself by doing things that bring you pleasure and fulfillment without depleting you.
- Follow your prescription. If you have prescribed medication, follow it as directed. Keep your therapy appointments and complete any tasks given by your therapist. Consistency makes a big difference in improving your mental health, especially when you have medication.
As anxiety becomes increasingly prevalent, as you will have to deal with it every day, you can win against it if you keep doing your best to practice these valuable tips and others you discover along the way. Remember, whatever you focus on, you will feel. Instead of focusing on the problem or what is going wrong at the moment, train yourself to focus on creating a solution. You have the ability to choose what you will give your mental, emotional, and physical energy to; choose wisely.