It is quite normal to have butterflies in your stomach before speaking in public or to feel awfully worried about the upcoming job interview. Still, these feelings are considerably different from anxiety. Unlike normal feelings of worry, uneasiness, and fear, anxiety disorder characterizes an excessive apprehension and a nonspecific discomfort that don’t have a real reason.
Anxiety can have a serious impact on your job success, interpersonal relationships, and overall well-being. This is the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adult population (the Anxiety and Depression Association of America). Even though anxiety is a highly treatable condition, only 36.9% of people suffering from it receive the treatment.
How to Overcome Anxiety?
Anxiety is a correctable condition. Therapeutic approaches such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy show a high rate of success in treating this condition. Likewise, there are steps you can take to help you manage the symptoms. So, here a few tips on how to cope with anxiety.
1. Learn about your Anxiety
The first step in coping with your symptoms is getting informed and learning about anxiety. Learn how to recognize your symptoms and look for factors that cause feelings of apprehension and fear. Be aware of situations that usually provoke these feelings.
The best way to keep the track of your anxiety is to write your feelings and thoughts down. Write a diary or a journal every time you feel anxious. This will help you to recognize the patterns and signs of anxiety.
2. Set the Boundaries
Establishing the boundaries toward your life experiences will help you ease anxiety and improve your overall well-being. Be self-aware, learn how to control your feelings and communicate assertively.
Also, limit your media exposure. Avoid spending time on your devices at least 40 minutes to an hour before going to bed. Research shows that spending nights in front of the screen with the artificial light can restrict the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that helps you fall asleep.
3. Practice Relaxation and Meditation
Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or tightening and relaxing your body muscles can help you manage anxiety symptoms. Additionally, you can practice some of the general relaxation methods like going for a walk, reading a book and engaging in other activities that make you feel happy.
Moreover, mindful meditation can help you cope with anxiety by improving your self-esteem, helping you to stay focused, and increasing your mood and optimism.
In addition, research shows that mindfulness can reduce the activity in the amygdala. This cluster of neurons in the limbic system of our brain plays a crucial role in processing emotions, and it is a starting point for our anxiety reactions.
So, when outside stressors convince your amygdala that you are in danger, this part of the brain responds with fight or flight reaction and you feel stressed and anxious as a result. Reducing amygdala’s activity, mindfulness cuts your background level of stress and anxiety.
4. Stay Active
Research proved that physical activity promotes a series of changes in the brain. Exercise can rewire your brain, stimulating the growth of neurons and neural connections. Physical activity stimulates the production of ‘hormones of happiness’, the brain neurochemicals that trigger the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect. In short, physical exercise can boost your confidence, increase optimism, and help you relax.
Anxiety is can be serious if not properly handled. Getting informed and ready to make the lifestyle changes are the first steps in overcoming it.