Did you know that over 40 million adults in the United States are living with anxiety? If you struggle with your own anxiety condition, you’re not alone.
Coping with anxiety is a challenge. Day-to-day activities can feel impossible on a “bad anxiety day,” even if those things would be easy on any other day.
We’re here to offer a few tips that may help you regain control of your life. Read on to learn more.
- See a Counselor or Therapist
One of the best things that you can do for yourself if you struggle with anxiety is to see a counselor. A mental health professional will know how to help you.
Treating anxiety isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. A good therapist or counselor will develop a treatment plan that’s tailored to your specific needs. They’ll help you grow beyond your anxiety and teach you helpful coping mechanisms that you can use when you’re feeling anxious outside of therapy sessions.
They’re also able to recommend ESA certifications so you can have an animal friend to support your mental health, even if your apartment doesn’t allow pets.
- Consider Medication
Sometimes therapy isn’t enough. Treating anxiety with medication is a great option for people who struggle despite having great therapists, or people who struggle with acute short-term anxiety that’s still debilitating.
There are various types of anxiety medications that a doctor can prescribe. The most common types are benzodiazepines, but some doctors prescribe SSRIs, beta-blockers, and other medications that are also commonly used for other conditions.
Medication isn’t right for everyone, and it may take some trial-and-error before you find one that works well for you. Be patient and work together with your doctor to find a good fit.
- Practice Self-Care
We’re living in a fast-paced world, and that means that many people aren’t taking time to care for themselves. While you need to keep track of all of your responsibilities, that doesn’t mean that you should neglect your own wellbeing.
Taking time away from the hustle and grind of day-to-day life is crucial for your mental health. Even people who didn’t start off with anxiety can develop it due to burnout.
Find things that you enjoy and spend time on them. Consider taking up a creative hobby like drawing, painting, or writing, and try to make time for it every day (even when it’s challenging).
Consider making a self-care box for when you’re feeling stressed out. You can include an at-home spa day kit, a game, or a journal.
Even taking a few minutes per day for yourself to unwind and decompress can make a huge difference. You should be your own top priority!
- Learn How to Ground Yourself
Have you ever practiced grounding? Grounding is great for when you feel like your anxiety is getting out of control but you’re not in a position to take medication or leave the situation.
The most popular grounding method is the “54321” method. You use all five senses to bring yourself back “into the moment” so your anxiety dissipates and you can have a clear head.
- Keep a Strong Social Network
It’s important to have support outside of your mental health professionals when you have anxiety. Try to establish a strong social network with your friends and family members so you never have to feel too isolated.
Making friends (or even keeping them) when you have anxiety can be challenging. Make an effort to reach out to people and explain your issue so they understand why you may be less social than other people.
Don’t go into too much detail; remember, your friends are not therapists.
Try to arrange gatherings, either in person or online, so you have plenty of opportunities to socialize. This may help you avoid anxious thoughts. Isolation can worsen anxiety.
- Accept Your Feelings
One of the biggest problems that people who struggle with anxiety have is that they have a hard time accepting their anxious feelings and thoughts. They combat them instead.
While it’s true that you need to challenge your anxious thoughts to move beyond them, fighting them isn’t the answer. You need to let your anxiety wash over you so you can move through it. Otherwise, it’s going to act as a barrier.
When you accept your anxiety, you’re also accepting that there’s nothing wrong with you. You are not your anxiety and that means that you can move beyond it.
- Declutter Your Home
Believe it or not, decluttering and cleaning might be one of the best things that you can do for your anxiety. The problem is that many people struggle to clean when their mental health isn’t at its best. Try to combat that when you’re feeling okay to see if having a cleaner space reduces your anxiety.
If you don’t have items to get rid of, but your things are still taking up all of your living space, get more storage items. Baskets, drawer dividers, plastic storage containers, and all other types of storage items will help you keep your things tidy even when you’re not feeling up to cleaning.
If you have baskets in every room, you’ll have somewhere to put your things even when you’re feeling frantic.
If you know that decluttering or cleaning isn’t in the cards, but you still want a blank slate to ease your anxiety, don’t be afraid to hire a one-time cleaner.
- Pay Attention to Your Triggers
Are you aware of the things that trigger your anxiety? If not, it’s time to take a closer look. When you know what your triggers are, you can prepare for them (or even avoid them if necessary).
Notice when you’re starting to feel tense. What’s going on around you or in your head? Is there an immediate threat?
If it’s something that someone else is doing, consider talking about boundaries that can help you alleviate the problem. Often, people aren’t trying to make you upset. Anxiety isn’t always rational, however, and intentions don’t always align with outcomes.
- Notice Your Anxiety Signs
Noticing your signs of when you’re “getting bad” is just as important as noticing your triggers. How do you know when your anxiety is about to strike?
The signs of anxiety vary for everyone. Some people get jittery while others feel tired right away. Some people might lose their appetite while others may start stress-eating.
When you can identify the early signs of your anxiety, you can start practicing grounding exercises and other coping mechanisms before it gets too intense.
- Get More Sleep
Did you know that sleep can help with your anxiety (or, if you’re not getting enough sleep, make it worse)?
When you don’t get enough sleep, your ability to regulate your emotions and think clearly drops dramatically. You’re not giving your brain adequate time to rest and recover, and you may feel “fried” in the morning.
Getting sleep as someone with anxiety can be a challenge in and of itself. We’ve all had the experience of lying awake at night staring up at the ceiling or “doom scrolling” on our phone through social media to keep our minds busy when we should be sleeping.
Do your best to go to bed early and put your electronics away (unless they help you sleep) at least an hour before bed. Consider using calming fragrances in your bedroom and bringing in a weighted blanket.
Weighted blankets are great for anxious sleepers.
Getting to bed earlier can also help you wake up earlier and create a good morning routine. Having a routine is great for anxiety.
- Develop a Healthy Exercise Schedule
If you’re not exercising, you’re missing out on a powerful tool that can help you combat your anxiety while you improve your overall health.
First, when you exercise, your body releases endorphins. Endorphins are “happy chemicals” that can reduce anxiety, pain, and depression. Even if you’re anxious when you start working out, you may realize that you feel great when your workout session is over.
Exercise also helps you sleep as long as you don’t do it too close to bedtime. When you get rid of all of that excess energy, falling asleep is a breeze.
Find an exercise that you enjoy. Whether it’s weightlifting, dancing, running, or even something unusual, make sure that you’re able to keep up with it even when you’re feeling down.
- Reduce Caffeine Consumption
This one is tough for a lot of people. If you’re still struggling with your anxiety, pay attention to how much caffeine you’re consuming every day.
Do you stop after one cup of coffee or tea, or do you keep the caffeine drip going throughout the day? Do you find yourself grabbing an energy drink in the middle of the day? Even drinking hot cocoa can make caffeine-sensitive people feel more anxious.
Reduce or eliminate caffeine and see if it helps with your anxiety.
Try These Tips for Living With Anxiety
These tips won’t make living with anxiety easy, but they will make it easier. Remember: your anxiety shouldn’t control your life. You can stay happy and calm by making a few lifestyle changes and consulting with mental health professionals for help.
For more helpful articles about health and more, visit the rest of our site.