Anxiety is a natural response to scary situations that might put our safety at risk. For countless people, however, anxiety occurs during everyday situations, resulting in a number of physiological responses that are difficult to control. If worry, fear and panic have taken over your life, learn how to control anxiety and achieve a greater sense of well-being.
Common Signs of Anxiety
Many people experience anxiety and panic which is out of proportion with actual events. Sometimes, the physical symptoms can be so severe, the person may believe he or she is having a heart attack, stroke or other life-threatening medical issue. Calming anxiety or severe panic can be challenging. Many people benefit from antidepressants and other medications that help calm the body’s fight or flight response. That said, studies suggest cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) tends to provide more lasting results.
Things You Can Do
According to the nonprofit organization, Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), people can use the following techniques to reduce anxiety:
- Take a time-out: Listen to music, practice yoga, meditate and learn other various relaxation techniques.
- Eat well: Do not skip meals and eat healthy, energy-boosting snacks frequently throughout the day.
- Avoid triggers: Caffeine and alcohol are known to aggravate panic and anxiety.
- Sleep: A lack of sleep can leave the mind and body at a higher risk of anxiety.
- Exercise: Studies indicate that exercise can calm the nerves.
- Breathe deeply: Inhale and exhale slowly until your anxiety passes.
- Accept: Understand you can’t control everything and that perfection isn’t possible.
- Stay positive: Avoid negative thoughts, which can trigger anxiety attacks.
- Get involved: Engage in social interaction at work, school or by participating in volunteer work.
When to Seek Help
When left untreated, some people develop debilitating anxiety that can result in addictions, anti-social behavior, mental health disorders and even suicide. If you are having trouble managing your anxiety, visit your doctor or a mental health professional. With treatment, most people are able to effectively manage their anxiety and live a happy, full life.