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Manage Your Anxiety With These 12 Useful Tips

Manage Your Anxiety With These 12 Useful Tips

It has been estimated that over 40 million adults in the United States (almost 18% of the population) deals with anxiety, making it the most common mental illness in the U.S. Anxiety disorders also cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country’s $148 billion total mental health bill, according to “The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders,” a study commissioned by ADAA (The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 60(7), July 1999)

Anxiety can impact anyone, regardless of income, education, social standing, ethnicity, where they were born, or how they were raised. Many people suffer in silence and, worse of all, many people are ashamed to admit to others that they struggle for fear that they will be judged, or viewed as unstable. This is a tragedy.

I know that there isn’t a universal solution to this problem, and that simple tips alone may not be sufficient to effectively deal with the problem. In many cases professional counseling is also needed. I also know that a “band-aid” approach isn’t realistic, especially in severe cases. However, I still hope these tips on managing anxiety work for someone, in the same way that they have worked for me.

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1. Watch for your triggers

If you know what your triggers are, then you can effectively plan around them. Plan periods of exercise (step 3) or time-outs (step 4) around the times that you know your anxiety is likely to be triggered or peaked. Having cognition of the danger spots can also lessen the anxiety itself.

2. Talk to someone who will treat you with kindness and understanding

Don’t suffer in silence. There is someone out there that you can talk to. If you don’t have support in your home, church, community, or with friends, then look up support groups in your area. There are always resources available to you.

3. Start exercising

Exercise has so many benefits, and alleviating anxiety is one of them. If exercise is not currently a habit, then just start by getting outside and taking a walk each day.

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4. Take a “time-out” to breathe

Time alone to simply breathe is a highly effective strategy for calming our hearts and helping us to feel at peace. It also aids in our rational decision-making ability.

5. Have some fun and laugh

Spend time with funny people. Watch funny movies, or TV shows. Look up clips of stand-up acts on YouTube. Laughter is good for the soul (and great for the anxiety).

6. Understand that you are in control

This was a big one for me–the realization that I always had power over my life. Sometimes it didn’t feel that way. Sometimes I felt trapped in positions that I couldn’t get out of, but slowly I realized that I controlled each decision of every day. Sure there would be consequences, but they were of my making. I was the architect.

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7. Failure doesn’t reflect on your worth as an individual

Part of the reason I was ashamed of my anxiety was that it was a signal, to some people, that I was failing, and I didn’t belief that failure was acceptable. This belief was at the foundation of my anxiety to begin with, and when I torched this belief, replacing it with an empowering view of failure–that it was simply education–then I started to get control of my internal self. Failure wasn’t terminal. It wasn’t something that couldn’t be corrected, and most importantly it was not a reflection of my self worth. Failure was simply feedback in this grand experiment of life. Adopting that belief system has had a tremendously positive impact on easing my anxiety.

8. Surround yourself with happy and inspiring people

The more I was around people, and ideas, that inspired me, the more my outlook started to brighten. The other side of this tip is to remove the people in your life that make you anxious. This was equally important to learning to manage my anxiety and can help you manage yours.

9. Take daily action on a goal that is personally meaningful

For me, a large part of my anxiety was feeling like my life was out of my control. A way to take back control was to work, every single day for at least an hour, on a personal goal that was uniquely meaningful to me. By working on the goal I felt that I had control over a small portion of my life. This made me feel good, and it helped me to manage any anxiety I continually felt.

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10. Make a change

Sometimes, no matter how many tips you employ, it’s not enough. In these cases a change in environment is necessary, and this may also require a change in jobs or careers. That is why tip number seven is so important–as you make the change (if required) you don’t get bogged down in feelings of anxiety inducing failure. Failure doesn’t exist, there is only feedback. So if you have to make a change, look at it as a new beginning rather than a failure.

11. Get enough sleep

Sleep is something that you can control, and making sure that you get enough of it is a very important step to managing your anxiety. Here is a quick tip to getting enough sleep: turn off all electronic devices for at least an hour before you go to sleep. This will help to relax you, and will also increase the restfulness of your sleep.

12. Get involved

Volunteering, or otherwise getting involved in your community, helps to build your support network, and it also helps you to focus on other people and their needs. As simple as this sounds, it can have a powerful effect on alleviating your anxiety.

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Last Updated on November 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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