Practical Ways To Cope With Anxiety

Updated December 19, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Whether you are dealing with ordinary day-to-day anxiety that can come with life’s responsibilities or you are struggling with one of the many different types of anxiety disorders, learning how to cope with these feelings can be very challenging on your own. In this article, you will learn about some different ways you can find relief living with an anxiety disorder and start managing stress and anxiety and improve your mental health. Seeking help from an online therapist is a great place to start. 

Online Therapy Works, Especially For Treating Anxiety

Improve Your Time Management Skills

Many people might become stressed and anxious because they may feel that they only have so little time to do what they need to do each day.

Although people’s schedules can indeed become jam-packed with tasks and responsibilities, by carefully examining how you carry them out, you might realize that you’re not utilizing your time efficiently. Perhaps you’re not prioritizing the most important things, or you’re procrastinating, and it might just seem like you don’t have enough time, sometimes leading you to rush yourself or panic.

How we utilize our time can change how we feel throughout the entire day. For example, going to bed earlier and leaving ahead of schedule for work can help you avoid traffic and from worrying about running late.

Learning to manage your time better can take some time to fully get the hang of, but you can start implementing various techniques today to ease anxiety, fear, and panic. For instance, you can write out and schedule everything that needs to get done each day and start making priorities to help manage anxiety.

Once you learn how to manage your time better, you may feel less stressed, anxious, and pressured to get things done at the last minute, and most likely, you’ll have some more time to do other things that you like and spend time with the people you care about which can then benefit your mental health.

Find Time For Yourself

While it might be difficult to arrange some time to do things around a busy schedule, you should make time for things you enjoy for the sake of your mental health.

Hobbies can come in many different forms such as art, music, playing games with friends, cooking, and many more.

If you haven’t been able to find the time for them, it can be important to try to do so by managing your time, which was discussed in the previous section. Creating a hobby and finding time for yourself can be a healthy way to manage stress and negative thoughts, and ease anxious feelings.

Diet & Exercise

The impact that diet can have on a person’s mood may often go underestimated, and many people might not realize what their food can be doing to their mind and body behind the scenes.

One example of this is unhealthy comfort foods and processed foods that are full of unhealthy fats, simple carbs and sugars, and excessive calories. Many people who are stressed, anxious, or depressed might use these kinds of foods to cope because it can make them feel good; however, its effect is typically temporary, and the energy that comes with comfort foods often quickly comes crashing down.

Luckily, a healthy, balanced diet can help provide you with energy levels that can be sustained throughout the day and boost your mood more consistently.

Additionally, you might also want to pay attention and moderate your caffeine and alcohol consumption. While it may be perfectly normal and acceptable to have a cup of coffee or tea to start your day or wind down with a glass of wine after a long day, they could be contributing to your anxiety levels or make them worse. You also might be more dependent on these chemicals than you realize; even though they are legal and widely used, they are still drugs, and they can affect your mental health.

Exercise can also be important, and it can complement any healthy diet. Getting an adequate amount of physical activity can have tremendous positive benefits not just for your physical health but your mental health as well.

Exercise can release naturally occurring chemicals in the body known as endorphins, which can make you feel great during and after a workout, and staying committed to a routine can have similar benefits as hobbies.

Physical activity of your choice can eventually become a hobby as well, and it can help keep you motivated and can give you goals to shoot for and stay focused on. Reaching these exercise goals can boost your esteem and have a positive benefit on your mental health in both the short and long term so you stay healthy. And while exercise can be incredibly important to control anxiety symptoms, it’s also important to get adequate sleep. Getting enough sleep each night can also be critical for both your physical and mental health and may help to control anxiety symptoms.

Breathing Exercises & The Relaxation Response

If we become chronically stressed and anxious, it can be common for people to “forget” how to breathe properly. The fight-or-flight response that happens when we are in a state that we feel is stressful or dangerous, such as in anxiety and panic attacks, can quicken our heart rates as well as the speed and depth in which we breathe. The breaths tend to be shallower, and this means that your body isn’t getting enough oxygen flowing, which it needs to relax. People can get used to breathing like this, and over time it can cause long-term anxiety symptoms.

Deep breathing exercises and relaxation techniques can be done anytime and anywhere when you are feeling anxious, and one of the simplest and most straightforward relaxation techniques is to take long, deep breaths, and slowly let the air fill up your abdomen. Once this happens, you can then gradually release this air through your lips or your nose, whichever your preference is.

Despite being so simple, medically reviewed articles claim deep breathing and eliciting the relaxation response is scientifically proven to have a positive physiological response and can relieve feelings of anxiety for most people; however, such techniques, especially ones used to practice yoga and meditation, have been around for centuries.

A more modern form of meditation, known as Transcendental Meditation, provided the basis for the establishment of what would be known as The Relaxation Response. Coined by the Harvard doctor Herbert Benson, the relaxation response was based around the finding that deep breathing in a quiet and comfortable environment while not paying any mind to any distracting thoughts but finding a focus word could reduce your heart rate and blood pressure.

Benson described the Relaxation Response as being the opposite of the fight-or-flight response that can be very problematic, and by taking some time to sit down and breathe for 10 to 20 minutes a couple of times a day can reduce stress and anxiety and help you develop a calmer mind and healthy coping strategies to make a normal part of everyday life.

Try Therapy

When things get tough and overwhelming, you don’t need to try to deal with things all on your own, and it may be helpful to talk to someone by getting outside support. Stress and anxiety are among the most common reasons why people seek professional help from a mental health provider, and more than half of all healthcare visits are related to an anxiety disorder or related disorders. A therapist can provide advice, diagnosis, or treatment for symptoms of anxiety, a social phobia, or other mental health conditions. You don’t have to live in an anxiety cycle anymore. A therapist can provide support and healthy coping strategies for stress management and offer support or provide medication after you receive a medical advice diagnosis. It’s important to never take any medication without first consulting with a mental health professional to receive a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Counseling and therapy can be extremely effective for a person’s mental health because they can teach people the skills they need to cope with their emotions and the problems that they might be currently facing as well as the ones that might arise in the future.

If you’ve been struggling with anxiety disorders, like generalized anxiety disorder for a long period, therapy is also highly recommended to treat that particular ailment. One of the most popular and empirically supported treatments for anxiety, along with other mental health disorders like depression and bipolar disorder, is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) performed by a mental health provider.

Essentially, CBT treatment is a talk therapy that works by changing the way you think and respond to the things that might bother you, and in turn, this can change how you feel. By identifying and addressing the negative thinking patterns in your life with talk therapy treatment, you can change them into positive ones, and this can allow you to have a more fulfilling life. Because of this, CBT can work on countless mental health issues, not just anxiety and its symptoms.

Finding a therapist who knows how to treat anxiety is more convenient than ever, and at BetterHelp, you can connect to a licensed professional therapist who can help you through the issues that you are facing. Online cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven effective by many scientific reviews, so you can feel comfortable knowing that online CBT works quickly and it works well.

Online Therapy Works, Especially For Treating Anxiety

BetterHelp’s online therapy services are also convenient and affordable, and this can help you have a stress-free experience where you can focus on improving, rather than worrying about traveling and working around a busy schedule and trying to fit therapy in. Scheduling a session with a mental health professional is easy and flexible; all you need is an internet connection through your computer, tablet, or mobile device.

Takeaway

Anxiety can be overwhelming, but thankfully with the tools and techniques available to you, like the ones discussed in this article, along with the assistance of others, it doesn’t need to be a permanent state of mind, and your mental health can improve and you can find healthy coping strategies for managing anxiety and its physical symptoms. People with anxiety can find ways to deal with stress and anxiety in both the short and long term, and by doing so, you can focus on living a happier and healthier lifestyle that fulfills you without a heavy psychological burden.

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