There are many ways to successfully treat anxiety disorder, including counseling and medication. There are also a number of strategies for self-managing anxiety. The beauty of these techniques is that they are free, effective and most are available any time you need them.
Simple Tips for Stress Reduction
Below are some techniques for helping you deal with anxiety disorder. While they can be very effective, you should not change anything about your counseling or medication regimen without first talking to your health care provider.
Regular exercise is proven to cause the release of neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that elevate mood and decrease stress and anxiety. Sunshine and fresh air are well-known stress busters too, so exercising outdoors can provide double the benefits.
Practice positive self-talk
How we talk to ourselves can have a powerful impact on our stress level. When you feel yourself becoming anxious, reassuring yourself with a positive, soothing, inner dialogue can help you remain calm. Statements like “I’ve got this,” and “I’m confident and capable,” tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Get plenty of sleep
Lack of rest can leave you feeling irritated, agitated and anxious. Getting at least eight hours of shut-eye every night is important.
Use deep breathing
Taking slow, deep breaths creates a number of positive physiological changes in your body. It decreases your blood pressure, slows your heart rate and reduces stress hormones in your bloodstream, just to name a few. Once you get into the habit of checking your breathing in anxiety-inducing situations, it’s easy to switch to a healthier, more healing rhythm.
Listen to soothing music
Research shows that music can improve mood, reduce stress and even decrease physical pain. Classical and jazz are frequently used for this purpose, but any style you enjoy can be helpful.
Enjoy more physical touch
Getting a massage causes your body to release pleasure chemicals in the brain, reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and relax the “fight or flight” component of the nervous system. A big bear hug, petting a dog and other forms of physical contact deliver some of the same results.
Reduce caffeine and nicotine intake
While you may feel like having a cup of coffee or a smoke relaxes you, the truth is that caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that do just the opposite. Reducing your intake of these chemicals, or gradually phasing them out, can help reduce your anxiety level.
Creative Ways to Experience More Calm
It can be very empowering to know that you have the ability to reduce your own anxiety. Practice the techniques above regularly and you will likely find your stress levels decreasing. If you want to talk with someone about your anxiety disorder, SummitStone is here to help. You can reach us at (970) 494-4200. If you are dealing with an immediate mental or emotional crisis, our Access Center is available at that same phone number 24/7. In the case of a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.