Feeling situationally nervous (you’re about to take the stage) or having occasional feelings of anxiety is a normal part of life. However, having frequent and excessive anxiety, fear, terror or panic in everyday situations is not normal. These feelings are unhealthy and can affect your quality of life and prevent you from functioning normally.
Common symptoms of anxiety disorders include:
• Feeling nervous
• Feeling helpless
• A sense of impending panic, danger or doom
• Increased heart rate
• Obsessively thinking about the panic trigger
These feelings of anxiety and panic impact daily life. In addition to feeling bad, they can interfere with daily activities and even cause you to avoid places or situations.
While talking to your health care provider or mental health professional about your anxiety is a great place to start in overcoming anxiety, lifestyle changes and coping strategies also can make a difference.
9 tips for coping with an anxiety disorder:
- Be physically active.
Exercise is a powerful stress reducer. Develop a routine so that you’re physically active most days of the week. It can improve your mood and help you stay healthy.
- Eat healthy foods.
A healthy diet that incorporates vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish may help reduce anxiety.
- Make sleep a priority.
The brain needs sleep to thrive. Studies show that most adults need seven or more hours of sleep a night. Going to bed and waking at the same time also helps you create healthy sleep habits.
- Use stress management and relaxation techniques.
Mindfulness and meditation practices can reduce anxiety and increase calm.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.
While it may feel at the time that that glass of wine is helping you relax and feel better, these substances can cause or worsen anxiety.
- Quit smoking. Nicotine can exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety.
- Cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages.
Caffeine can exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety.
Humans are social animals and human interaction is important. Being around loved ones can help you feel better.
- Keep a journal.
Keeping track of your personal life can help you identify what’s causing you stress and what seems to help you feel better.
If you have anxiety, seek help.
Anxiety is very common. You are not alone. You should see your health care provider if your anxiety is affecting your life and relationships. Your provider can help rule out any underlying physical health issues. A mental health professional can help you identify triggers and develop healthy response strategies.