Here’s a riddle: How many people does it take to control anxiety?
Answer: One. The person who’s having the anxiety.
Have you been upset more than usual about things that really aren’t so horrible? Do you flip out when people say you’re getting over-emotional?
How about this. Do you obsess over the past or the future when you know deep inside, you can’t do anything about it?
No, really, you can’t. You can only control the present.
There are numerous types of prescription antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. You can also go to counseling and try to figure out what’s going on in your head.
And then, you just lie back and wait for a few weeks and your anxiety and depression will go away, right?
Maybe temporarily, but not forever.
But if you want a permanent fix for worrying, obsessing, crying too much, you can’t leave it all up medication. You have to work at it, too.
Yes, you can.
1. Stop stuffing your face
I know that sounds harsh but most people with anxiety issues turn to food for comfort. However, chomping on a bagel with cream cheese every morning and washing it down with a double espresso cappuccino just gets your body off to a bad start.
Refined carbohydrates create a spike and then dip in blood sugar. It’s just like when your kids eat too much candy before bed. It ain’t good. And it causes stress on your system.
Try reducing your caffeine and sugar (and doughy bagels) intake because not only do they cause very powerful cravings later in the day, you’re going to crash and look for some other type of comfort food in your house or at the vending machine at work.
2. Move your body
Most of us feel that exercising is just for losing weight. Well, it helps but it can also help calm us down.
You don’t have to join a gym. Just walking a little farther from your car to work can help. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stop at the mall on your way home from work, not for shopping (although you can), but for walking around and allowing your body to move.
Wear high-heels to work? That’s no excuse. Leave a pair of comfy shoes at work and slip them on at break time.
Yes, it is hard to motivate yourself, but think about your anxiety issues. Walk around your workplace for a half hour, and stop worrying about who will see you wearing purple tennis shoes.
3. Remember to breathe
When you suffer with panic attacks or worry needlessly, everybody tells you the same thing. Stop and breathe.
But, at the time, you can’t think straight anyway let alone remember to breathe. Or you’ve been sobbing to the point where you need a tissue before you can breathe out of your nose, right? Been there. Done that.
Even though just breathing sounds way too simple to help the anxiety you’re feeling at the time, it really does help. You might not think so at first, but if you remember to breathe deeply (three to five deep breaths from your belly) for at least five minutes a day, you will see a difference.
Set an alarm on your Smart phone calendar to breathe. Smart thinking, eh?
Sources and further reading:
Ten Ways to Cope with Anxiety. Realsimple.com. Retrieved October 22, 2012
Stop Worrying: 2 Tools That Work. Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved October 22, 2012
How to Beat Anxiety Naturally. Psychologytoday.com. Retrieved October 22, 2012
Reviewed October 22, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith