As humans, we’re complex, beautiful, emotionally layered creatures—but we’re also wild animals. In the modern world, our struggles with anxiety are often the result of the push-pull between our natural biology and our ability to identify dangers and adapt to scary situations. The net result is the same whether you’re worrying about why your partner hasn’t called you back or struggling with discomfort while navigating the grocery store. You feel like a wild animal caught in a trap with no way out, every alarm bell in your head going off.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to tame the anxious beast inside you. Here are 5 helpful tips to help manage your anxiety.
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Know Your Triggers
This may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the first places to start is by getting your arms around the situations, people, and places that set off your anxiety. Often, we don’t entirely understand what’s setting us off. Traumatic memories can resurface based on unexpected input like smells, the tone of someone’s voice, or how people brush past you in public. These connections aren’t always obvious. Carving out some time to listen to the anxious voice in your brain can be an excellent way to let off steam before it explodes like a pressure cooker.
Exercise & Self-Care
Our emotional state is often heavily influenced by the complex dance of hormones and nutrients in our bodies. These can be influenced by everything from what we eat, how much we’ve slept, and whether or not we’ve exercised recently. Even getting a daily dose of sunlight ensures our systems run smoothly.
Starting off your day with a few minutes of exercise can set a tone for everything that follows. You don’t need to go crazy or push yourself really hard. A walk around the block or a few pushups on the stairs might be all you need. Even making something simple like a 15-minute walk in your daily routine can have enormous benefits.
One of the best ways to manage anxiety is by grounding yourself in the present. Instead of letting your anxious thoughts build up and run away with you, ground yourself firmly in the moment by paying attention to the sensory input your body would otherwise process automatically. Put your focus on the fabric of the clothes your wearing or the rough surface texture of a wall. Look for interesting patterns, shapes, and colors around you. Listen for the distant sound of something rattling in an air vent. The point isn’t to think about them; the point is to engage with the world around you in a way that helps you practice controlling your focus.
Many of us use caffeine to stay functional throughout the day. Whether it’s a morning cup of coffee or a steady addiction to diet coke, be aware that caffeine can kick your anxiety into high gear. If you’re having trouble sleeping due to anxiety, consider cutting any caffeine after lunch.
One of the best ways to help manage your anxiety is to prioritize cultivating safety in your life. What does safety mean to you? How might you be able to integrate some of that safety into your hobbies and friendships? Going somewhere new and meeting new people can be scary, but there are many opportunities to explore the world through online activities and support groups. Signing up for a class to learn a new skill can also be a fun way to get outside your comfort zone in a low-stakes environment.
Schedule a Consultation
Sometimes we need our worries to keep us safe—but it’s up to us how much control we give them. Interested in more tips on how you can manage your anxiety? Reach out to schedule a free consultation today for anxiety therapy.