The pressures of adulthood are real: paying bills, trying to stay healthy, family obligations, and everyday demands can really start to add up. And the current state of coronavirus isn’t helping anyone feel secure. In April 2020 we saw a 700% increase in mental illness from 2018, pre-pandemic.
Anxiety is how our bodies sometimes respond to stress and can be a feeling of dread, apprehension, and impending catastrophe. Anxiety results in a pervasive uneasiness experienced when we are threatened by unknown dangers from outside ourselves or unconscious conflicts and impulses within ourselves.
If you are feeling anxious you are not alone. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 18.1% of US adults. Anxiety disorders show up in different forms such as general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and phobias.
There are many ways to treat the symptoms of anxiety including residential anxiety treatment, prescription drugs, and other therapies. But there are also several things you can do for yourself.
Here are a few tips for anxiety.
Tips for Dealing With Anxiety
As the adage goes: you are what you eat. But for anxiety it is especially true. Dips in your blood sugar can really exacerbate feelings of anxiety; instead you want to create a level playing field for your mind. Try to minimize things like sugar, alcohol, and caffeine which can sometimes hijack your mind and contribute to overwhelming feelings.
Stick to healthy fruits and vegetables, as well as food high in healthy fats. What you’re looking for are Omega-3 fatty acids which are found in fatty fish like salmon and herring. Healthy unsaturated fats are also good and can be found in avocados, nuts, and seeds. Fuel your brain with the right macro and micronutrients and you might find improvement.
Talk to a Friend
Talk to someone trusted. Tell them you are feeling anxious. Sometimes saying something aloud can really help you to reframe information and put life back into perspective. Your mom, a friend or coworker might be able to help you relax. Try telling them what you are feeling and why. An empathetic ear can help you work through anxious feelings.
It is no secret that exercise raises endorphins in your brain, and this is one chemical way to combat anxiety. Sometimes getting up and out of the house can feel like a challenge, so try to start small. Maybe go for a walk a few times a week in the afternoon, or better yet, walk with a friend. Exercise causes concentration, and if your brain is focused elsewhere it cannot focus on anxiety.
Kenny Chesney’s popular country song says, “Why do you think we call the present the present? Because there ain’t no better gift than here and now.” Even if you don’t like country music, he has a point.
Anxiety is caused by focusing on things that happened in the past or might happen in the future. Stressing about things we cannot control has no place in our minds. Try to move into the now and see if that helps. Take in the moment, listen, and take ownership of your current state.
Reframe Your Mind
Another thing anxious minds do is consider the worst possible outcome. So, before an event, it will start thinking about how badly you’re going to be perceived by others. Instead, consider another possibility— that people are rooting for you and already like you. Try to consider every outcome, honestly, and ones that you usually do not consider but are positive. This helps your mind to relax and is the true reality of the situation.
Yoga is a tradition that is thousands of years old and has worked for many people throughout history. There is scientific evidence that breathing and meditation in addition to yoga can ease anxiety. Pick up a free app and start with 5 to 10 minutes of yoga in the morning to break up your routine. When you find yourself stuck, take three deep breaths and regroup.
There are so many things to say yes to today! Someone can message you at any time of day and impose on your pursuit to get active or have a peaceful dinner. It can be hard but start to create boundaries around your time and your mind. It is okay to push people away, or simply say that you cannot have anything else on your plate at this time.
It is important to take some time for yourself to unwind and relax.
Try the 3-3-3 Rule
This trick has been cited by many psychologists. Essentially, it is a way to break up the current state of pressure in your mind. First, look around you and name three things you see. Second, name three sounds you hear. Lastly, move three of your body parts— your fingers, arm, and ankle, for example. When your mind is racing this can bring you back to the here and now and your anxiety will dissipate.
Anxiety can be very difficult to grasp because there are so many moving pieces and every situation is unique. Sometimes the solution starts with you and can be aided by reframing your thoughts and a few lifestyle changes. Other times the solution starts with a medical professional. If you’ve tried different things and nothing seems to work, be sure to talk with your doctor.
Here at Pasadena Villa, we offer residential anxiety treatment. We offer a variety of specialized therapies such as real-time life skill coaching, animal-assisted therapies, and expressive therapies. If you or a loved one could benefit from receiving professional anxiety help, please contact Pasadena Villa’s admission team.