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Ultimate Guide: Self-Help Tips To Deal With Anxiety

Ultimate Guide: Self-Help Tips To Deal With Anxiety

Feeling overly anxious can be a massive hindrance to your daily life. It’s especially hard to control because once the anxious thoughts are implanted in our minds, the fears, ‘what ifs’ and worst-case scenarios can start to spiral out of control. Our sleep gets disrupted, our health can deteriorate and it can stop us from living our lives the way we’d ideally want to. In a word, anxiety can be paralysing and it can grow from small thoughts and doubts to big fears.

Learning to deal with anxiety can be hard but if you feel that you’re at a stage where you want to do something about it yourself then this guide will take you through some daily tips that you can do to relieve your anxiety and gain back some control for your life. Dealing with anxiety isn’t about just thinking positively, it’s a gentle process to train your mind to be more calm and to rein in the feelings of fear which are only created in your head.

Worrying is very hard to stop because it’s probably been a lifetime pattern of thinking that’s become almost automatic. If it’s something you’re prone to doing and have done for a long time, it may have just become a mechanism that you use to almost protect yourself – you’ve unconsciously trained your mind into immediately seeing the negatives and the problems in a situation rather than the positives. Gaining new perspectives as well as changing lifestyle habits and adopting techniques can help you on the way to curbing your anxiety issues.

Stage 1: Getting Perspective On Your Worries

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    Your beliefs are only in your head. It’s important to realise this because most of what’s going on in our minds aren’t reality. If you have fears and doubts they only exist because you’ve allowed them to and that doesn’t mean they’re real on the outside. If you really start to train your mind to think that irrational thoughts are just that, then you can start to ignite a different way of seeing your problems. Curbing anxiety starts with the mind, your perspective and the way you choose to see everything so here is the best place to start.

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    • Ask Yourself ‘Is It Possible To Solve The Problem’?

    There’s a difference between worrying and problem-solving. When we worry we believe that we are dealing with the problem because we temporarily detach from the emotions when we worry about it therefore it actually becomes a type of distraction. In this space we aren’t finding a solution we are just prolonging it in our minds. Instead of worrying, try intentionally thinking of a solution. If you find a solution then you diminish the worry you created in the first place.

    • Gaining Perspective

    Combating anxiety issues is mainly down to perspective. Worrying allows us to get a screwed up version of the problem and can even create a problem that wasn’t there in the first place. It’s really important to distinguish between solvable and unsolvable problems to reduce your amount of worry. Most of our problems can be solved possibly easier than we think so consciously trying to gain new perspectives and shifting our mindset will help deal with anxiety issues in a constructive way.

    • Challenging Your Anxious Thoughts

    The problem with suffering from anxiety is that we tend to believe our thoughts are fact. Challenging your thoughts is a way of not letting your mind give in to them and gaining some control. It’s good to get into the habit of examining your worries and anxieties and questioning them – we are so used to letting these thoughts runaway that they are never confronted and dealt with. Ask yourself some questions like what’s the likelihood of what I’m scared of actually happening? What evidence is there that makes this worry true or not true? Is there a better way to perceive this problem – a more positive one? Really try to challenge your thoughts and get your mind to think differently about them.

    Stage 2: Lifestyle Changes To Deal With Anxiety

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      There are many changes we can make in our daily lives that can contribute to less worry and anxiety. Creating and obtaining a healthy lifestyle can set us up to deal with anxiety better and more effectively. What goes on in our mind can transcend to the rest of our body and can start to take its toll.

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      • Creating An Exercise Routine

      As for a lot of stress and anxiety issues, exercise is a wonderful and necessary way to combat them. It’s so effective that in some cases, it has known to calm a person’s anxiety entirely. Releasing endorphins and getting the blood and oxygen pumping naturally clears your head of thoughts and allows your brain to relax. Getting rid of the tension caused by too much worry and stress will only serve you when it comes to the way you deal with thoughts of anxiety. After a good cardiovascular workout the benefits continue for hours and feeling good and positive from the workout will decrease significantly the negative thoughts and ideas that generate in your head.

      • Relaxation At Home

      It’s important to create a haven where you can ideally relax and escape from your worries and anxieties. Doing the things that relax you like a hot bath or shower, listening to calming music or reading books is crucial if you’re an overly-anxious person. Taking time out to sit quietly and do the things you love and make you happy will have a great effect on calming your mind. Often we forget to do these things or we bring home the anxieties of the day continuing the cycle. If you can try to break that cycle and just put time aside in your sanctuary even for 30 minutes to an hour, your body and mind will reap the benefits.

      • Eating Healthily

      There are many foods that can help and hinder your anxiety. Make sure you avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar which are anxiety-inducing and can increase periods of worry. Many foods high in anti-oxidants help enhance your mood especially cranberries, blueberries and blackberries. Also include any food high in magnesium as lack of magnesium can trigger anxiety – oily fish, nuts, seeds and leafy green vegetables are a great addition. Caffeine-free tea like Oolong contains GABA which is an amino acid that helps with calming the nervous system and promotes sleep. It’s important to get a wide variety of healthy foods and supplements that promote a nutritious body and mind that will help you deal with anxiety more efficiently.

      Stage 3: Mindfulness Techniques To Deal With Anxiety

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        Since our mind is the number one culprit in worry, anxiety and stress, it makes sense to target the mind and create a calming influence on it. Suffering from anxiety means that we are not living in the present moment but rather worrying about something in the past or the future. It’s important to focus on the present – the here and now – to gain perspective. A calmer mind will equal calmer thoughts so it’s really important to focus on learning mindfulness techniques. These techniques are a wonderful way to train your mind to think differently, and again, can give you greater perspective in your world and the outer world.

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        • Practising Meditation

        There is so much research about how effective mediation is when it comes to anxiety and the stress that it causes. Regular mediation practice has been found to calm the body and the mind, reducing blood pressure, improving immune systems, enhancing mood and therefore reducing depression – so many benefits from just a simple routine you can do on a daily basis. Meditation will train your brain to focus which is a great skill to develop when you suffer from anxiety; it will reduce the stress you feel around problems and allow you to see problems more clearly.

        • Breathing Techniques

        Breathing techniques are a great way to counteract stress and anxiety. When we’re stressed and anxious we tend to make shorter and sharper breathes which results in an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. When we breathe deeply and calmly, we are sending more oxygen to the brain which allows us to relax, calm down and see things more clearly. When you find yourself feeling particularly anxious then stop and breathe deeply letting the breathe out slowly – doing this several times will help you reset.

        • Yoga And Mindful Walking

        Two great mindfulness practices are yoga and mindful walking. Yoga incorporates mediation with good stretching positions that are beneficial for your mind and body. It helps you to be mindful and relaxed helping to calm your thoughts and worries. Another great habit to have is mindful walking which involves taking a walk and focusing on your breathing, how your body is moving and taking in your surroundings. It’s a great way to train your mind to think about the present moment rather than be living in the worry of the past or the future.

        Stage 4: Further Practical Techniques To Deal With Anxiety

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          Sometimes you just need techniques that you can pull on when you’re feeling the anxiety levels rising up. These are handy to have when you feel overwhelmed.

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          • Repeating Your Worry

          This may seem counterproductive but experts say that repeating your worry over and over will cause you to get bored of it. When we adapt to something we become more comfortable with it so when you find yourself feeling anxious about something in particular then deal with it head-on by thinking about it and thinking about it and thinking about it! Eventually your brain will get sick of it or bored and the thought will start to become less and less.

          • Setting Aside A Particular Time To Worry

          Let’s face it, we are never going to get rid of our ability to worry. It’s quite ingrained and all of us worry to some degree. The problem with having anxiety issues is that we tend to worry all the time. They crop up here there and everywhere; our brain wanting to stew over them there and then. This can take its toll on our mind and our body causing fatigue and tiredness which just adds to stress and more worry. Try setting up a particular time to process your worries preferably at the end of the day. Write them down when they come up and set it aside to think about later. The beauty of this is that you’ll find a lot of your worries won’t exist anymore by the end of the day – and if they still do then your worry time can deal with it.

          • Making Peace With Time

          The problem with anxiety is that time can feel like it’s running out or slowing down. Things can feel like an emergency or that you’re waiting forever for something to happen or not happen. Try to make peace with time in that most of our worries either never materialise or float away eventually. Remember how many times a problem never turned out to be a problem; that emergency was never an emergency. Stop and ask yourself if you’re really going to be worrying about this in the next hour, day, month or year? By doing this you can put less significance and importance on what’s causing you the anxiety.

          Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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          Jenny Marchal

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          Published on February 14, 2019

          15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

          15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

          Starting such a journey is never easy and you must remember this is not a crash diet, it is a lifestyle. Don’t panic and think you have to do it all at once as this will most likely overwhelm you. You may also find yourself giving up because crash diet are not sustainable.

          The best approach is to make simple changes to your daily habits and over time, you will notice all your bad habits have turned into good habits.

          Accordingly to a study by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behaviour becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.[1] And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.

          Here are 15 fitness goals to help you on your journey:

          1. Drink More Water

          W.H.Auden said it best when he said ‘Thousands Have Lived Without Love, Not One Without Water’. With any diet, the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drinking water will support your body with digestion, transporting nutrition to your body and even help improve cognitive function.

          Ideally, you want to drink about half your body weight in ounces per day i.e. if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day.

          Hopefully, by following this rule, you will be able to maintain a consistent consumption of water per day.

          2. Add Some Lemon & Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Water

          It is recommended we sleep for about 8 hours a day, this means we spend about 8 hours per day dehydrated. Therefore, hydrating your body first thing in the morning is absolutely necessary.

          The best way to achieve hydration is by starting your day with a glass or even two of water. For that extra boost, add lemon juice and ½ teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. The lemon and apple cider vinegar will help your body with detoxifying, cleansing and digestion

          3. Stop Drinking Your Calories

          Yes, keeping hydrated is important but try to avoid high calorie drinks such as soft drinks, speciality coffee and juices as they are full of fast acting sugar.

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          Really push yourself to stop drinking such drinks and before you know it, you will notice the benefits.

          4. Start Stretching More Often

          Always remember to stretch! The benefits are vast and the repercussions of failing to stretch can be dramatic.

          Do yourself a favour and always stretch before and after a workout. This will promote a healthy cool down, improve flexibility and reduce next day aches. Failure to stretch can lead to injures and muscle damage.

          So, the next time you work out, don’t forget you dedicate a few minutes to stretching before and after your workout. You will thank me for it later!

          Here’re some simple stretching exercises you can start trying:

          15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

          5. Add in Some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

          You may have heard about HIIT training because it is the big thing right now and believe me when I say ‘It works!’.

          The benefits include lower body fat, increased stamina, leaner muscles and fantastic hormonal benefits.

          HIIT is where you perform an intense exercise, for a very short time frame (about 30 seconds) followed by a slower exercise for about 90 seconds.

          Performing a HIIT routine for 1-3 times a week will lead to great results.

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          6. Focus on Your Breathing When You Work Out

          For the most part, breathing is second nature to most of us. But when exercising, you may find yourself holding your breath and this is not good.

          It is important to consciously take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, this will fill your lungs with oxygen.

          7. Build More Lean Muscle

          We all want to have lean muscles because not only does it look good, it has great health benefits:

          • Improved posture
          • Reduced body fat
          • Improved metabolism
          • Strong bones
          • Protects and improves joint health
          • Improves stamina

          Learn more about building muscle in this guide:

          How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

          8. Decrease Body Fat

          This may seem like an obvious one but it is one of the most important steps to a healthier you. Reducing your body fat has a lot of benefits such as:

          • Improved joints and tendons
          • Lowered risk of diabetes
          • Reduced risk of heart disease
          • Reduced inflammation
          • Better performance and endurance
          • Improved appearance and confidence
          • Better hormonal profiles in your body

          Remember, it is not a race to see how quickly you can decrease your body fat, a healthy weight loss is around 1-2 pounds a week.[2]

          Crash dieting or pushing yourself too much in the gym can lead to you achieving an unrealistic target, and you may find yourself gaining all the weight you have lost.

          Think of it as a lifestyle and take it slow and steady.

          9. Eat More Greens

          What you eat is the most important factor in a healthier living plan. It is important to ensure you are getting as many nutrients and vitamins from the food you are eating as possible.

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          Focus on dark, leafy greens as they will provide you with a wide array of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants – all of which you body needs!

          Don’t forget to avoid processed and manufactured food. They are usually high in fat and have minimal vitamins.

          10. Start Eliminating Sugar

          Another top goal you can start immediately is reducing the amount of sugar you consume. It also won’t cost you anything, save you money and improve your health in the long run.

          There’s no surprise we eat too much sugar and this should be one of your top goals moving forward (eliminating or drastically reducing sugar).

          Cutting out liquid calories is a great way to start. If you’re looking for something sweet, turn to fruits or even dark chocolate.

          11. Allow Yourself to Rest and Recovery

          The workout is where you go to breakdown the muscle tissue and it builds back through proper nutrition, rest and recovery. It might be tempting to go to the gym for two hours every day as hard as you can to achieve your goals but that’s not the most effective approach.

          If you don’t allow for proper rest and recovery, it can set you back a few steps. Your body is more prone to injury and even illness as you can weaken your immune system from all the progressive intensity the body is facing.

          12. Get More Sleep

          When you are deprived of sleep, you make it next to impossible to achieve your health and fitness goals. Lack of sleep can increase stress hormones in your body and over time these can lead to a lot of inflammation and chronic diseases.[3]

          Make sleep a priority to let your body heal and rejuvenate. A good approach is 7 to 8 hours. Also, allow yourself some wind-down time and a pre-bed routine to help get more consistent sleep every night.

          13. Focus on the Habit and Not the Result

          It’s easy to get caught up in trying to achieve a certain look or shed time off of your mile, but the more important focus is on the habit that will bring you those goals.

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          Don’t look at the scale, the tape measure, or the body fat percentage. Focus on the habits that will lead to those achievements.

          Don’t compare yourself to where others are, you’re right where you need to be.

          14. Take Your Fitness Outside

          This may be hard depending on the weather you experience, but the more you can be outside exposed to fresh air and sunlight, the better.

          Being stuck in the gym doing cardio while staring at a wall won’t do much for your mental stimulation.

          Try to challenge your body more by getting outside. Hiking is great and also just running and walking. Give yourself more mental stimulation and a constantly changing environment. It also beats breathing in that recycled gym air.

          15. Do at Least One Pull Up

          This is a great last goal to focus on because it’s a great test of strength and to see how you are progressing with your fitness.

          If you haven’t been able to do one, you know what a challenge it can be. Having the goal of doing at least one pull up will not only show you how far you’ve progressed but is a great way to become dedicated and motivated.

          The Bottom Line

          It will become more attainable through the year if you’re consistent with your fitness. Set yourself a concrete timeline as when you want to accomplish some or all of these goals. In fact, start making one of these goals happen this month!

          This guide on achieving goals will be helpful for you:

          How to Set Goals and Achieve Them Successfully

          Featured photo credit: ivan Torres via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Phillippa Lally: How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world
          [2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
          [3] Unity Point: The Scary Truth About Sleep Deprivation and Chronic Diseases

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