Best Coping Methods For Anxiety
Stress is everywhere. For those with anxiety, having coping methods are the only way to get through the day. Characters ,like Brian Cunningham in T.Peterson's "My Life in a Nutshell," employ a variety of different coping methods to calm their minds and make themselves function. Anxiety is usually caused by the body's fight or flight response. It's a natural reaction that is very necessary for our survival, except when it works overtime and disrupts our lives. Understanding what works in the body both biologically and mentally is the key to tackling anxiety attacks. Most coping methods have been designed to attack both of those.
Meditation and breathing techniques have been used by many Eastern societies to calm the mind and the heat rate so that the body lowers into a semi-conscious trance. This form of mild self-hypnosis is especially effective because it relies on complete focus to work. Practicing meditation techniques when you're not physically anxious helps to create a pattern that your mind can follow without thought. This auto pilot can be activated in case of an anxiety attack. Using the same method force your body and mind into relaxation.
Part of what causes anxiety is fighting against whatever stressor or danger the mind sees rather than accepting it. By fighting, we prolong the response, especially if the danger is only perceived rather than actual. By accepting the stress and forcing your mind to acknowledge their existence, they lose power. Acceptance comes in many forms. You can talk yourself through it. You can even have a journal so that you can be reminded of previous times when you've encountered the stressor and persevered. Similarly, by acknowledging and not escalating, you take away the need for anxiety to increase.
Solve the Problem
This works hand in hand with acknowledgment and acceptance. Think about if there's a way to control the situation to lessen your anxiety. It's a step towards fixing the response. Think about what is making you anxious - can you avoid it? What would make the situation less stressful? Most therapists will give you questions to ask yourself in these situations so you can create an action plan to de-escalate yourself when encountering the stressor. Also, actively trying to solve the issue distracts your mind by focusing it differently.
Take a Break
We all need time out, but some need more than others. Definitely scheduling time out so that you have few minutes off a day to compose yourself. Use that time out to get anything bothering you out of your system before starting fresh. It is an ideal way of lowering increasing stress levels. This is the same no matter whether the stress is general or because of a specific event. Put it aside. Take a walk. Listen to music. Just "clock out" for a few minutes so that your mind can re-center itself.
Living a healthy lifestyle is part of what makes someone mentally healthy as well. Sleeping well, exercising, and having a balanced diet have all been linked to lowered anxiety. Living a healthy lifestyle lowers your risk for many of the things which cause anxiety (fear of healthcare costs, fear of getting disease etc.).
Many people with chronic anxiety take medications to lower their overall stress and calm their minds. Professional psychiatrists and medical professionals are the only ones who can determine if these will truly help, even if the problem is only short term. BetterHelp is an easy way to find someone who specializes in anxiety. This can definitely save time by not having to go through a general mental health triage.