Proven Tips To Feel Better When You're Feeling Anxious For No Reason
Everyone feels nervous, stressed, or worried sometimes. It can trigger an anxiety attack with chest pains, shallow breathing, and racing thoughts. When you know the cause of your anxiety, you can work on overcoming it. But what if you don't know where it's coming from? The tips below can help you feel better when you're feeling anxious for no apparent reason.
Why Do I Feel Anxious for No Reason?
The human body evolved to react to dangerous situations with a flight or fight response. Your respiration, blood pressure, and heart rate increase as your body prepares to either run or fight. For a caveman facing a sabretooth tiger, or a soldier going into battle, these physiological reactions are helpful and normal. Although most people don't face battles in everyday life, our inherited reactions to perceived danger or conflict serve us well in other situations.
Anxiety can be useful when it warns us of a potentially dangerous situation, like a dark alley, or spurs us to take action, like studying more for a test. However, when anxiety appears out of the blue, it can be difficult to return to a relaxed state. But, with the right strategy, including these tips below, you can find relief from your anxiety.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety has a host of symptoms. You may experience some or all the symptoms below to varying degrees.
- Numbness and tingling
- Chest pain
- Neck tension
- Upset stomach
- Pulsing in the ear
- Burning skin
- Fear of impending doom
- Shortness of breath
- Electric shock feeling
- Shooting pains in the face
- Heart palpitations
- Weakness in legs
- Feeling like you are going crazy
- Inability to rest
- Sleep problems
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Nothing could be truer when it comes to anxiety. Taking preventive measures can help reduce the number of occurrences and the severity of anxiety attacks.
The ADAA recommends the following to help prevent anxiety:
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a balanced diet and do not skip meals
- Get about eight hours of sleep per night
- Limit alcohol, caffeine, and sugar intake
Prevention is excellent, and once you get a handle on your anxiety, taking these steps can help you stay healthy and happy. But you're probably reading this article because you're already experiencing anxiety. What can you do when anxiety strikes for no reason?
The most basic of human functions is breathing. The average person takes almost 1,000 breaths an hour without even thinking about it. When experiencing anxiety, it's important to put some thought into the way you breathe. Take slow, deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Think about your chest and belly expanding. Deep breathing isn't just a feel-good move. When your diaphragm pulls down, it signals your body to relax, turning off the fight-or-flight signals.
Try breathing into the count of six, holding your breath to the count of three, breathing out to the count of six, and holding at the bottom for the count of three. Repeat this rhythmic breathing for a few cycles. Counting helps your mind focus, and deep breathing helps to slow your heart rate and oxygenate your blood.
It helps to practice this kind of breathing even when you are not feeling anxious so that when anxiety strikes, you're prepared, and the exercise feels routine and calming.
While regular exercise is a great way to stave off anxiety, moving can be just as helpful when anxiety takes hold. Give your body an outlet for nervous energy by taking a brisk walk or doing a few pushups. You can even practice your deep breathing while you jog or walk.
Take a few moments to evaluate your situation. Are there external factors that could be leading to your anxious thoughts or feelings? While you may not have acute triggers, like a pending medical diagnosis or an upcoming public presentation, consider if you've been under any stress lately. Stress is cumulative. If you've had a sick kid, a tough few days at work and money has been tight, those stressors can add up to generalized anxiety. Also, consider hormonal and environmental factors. Women often experience generalized anxiety as a symptom of premenstrual syndrome. Many people report feeling more anxious during the long dark months of winter or if it has been unusually cloudy.
It often helps to acknowledge that you are feeling anxious. Accepting the anxiety and reminding yourself it will pass can help break the chain that leads to even more anxiety. Often when we're anxious, our brains play tricks on us. That primeval fight or flight response tries to convince us a boogeyman is lurking around the corner.
Question your thoughts and feelings. It's reasonable to be nervous about a work event, but not to feel like everything that can go wrong will. If your husband doesn't pick up the phone when you call, what is more likely? That he was injured or killed-or that he was merely in a meeting or the bathroom? Your anxiety brain may tell you the former, but the better you get at reminding yourself that the latter is more reasonable, the better you will be at warding off anxiety.
Sometimes when anxiety appears and you can't reason it away, there's nothing like a good distraction. Watch an engaging movie or television show. Read a book. Partaking in useful activities, like cleaning or cooking. Some people find great relief from repetitive tasks with instantly gratifying results, like dusting or washing windows. The wolf you feed is the one that grows. The less time you spend dwelling on your anxiety, the less your body will respond to it.
While some amount of anxiety is normal, if you experience the following symptoms, you should seek professional help.
- You experience physical symptoms of anxiety, like shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, or heart palpitations.
- Your anxiety is limiting your ability to enjoy everyday activities or to function at work, school, or home.
- You've been experiencing anxiety for several months that won't go away despite at-home treatment.
If you think these symptoms apply to you, multiple therapy options can help. One is online therapy. A licensed therapist can give you coping tools to deal with anxiety at the moment, as well as lasting solutions to heal from anxiety in the long term.
Simply answer a few short questions at BetterHelp to get started with online counseling today. BetterHelp is the world's largest online counseling platform where more than 12,000 therapists have conducted over 90 million counseling sessions. This means that BetterHelp's licensed therapists have incredible experience helping people overcome anxiety. You can read reviews of BetterHelp counselors below from people experiencing similar issues.
"Krista was extremely empathetic and her warm, kind energy instantly calmed me and made me feel better, each time we interacted. I appreciated the many tools she gave me to cope with anxiety, including worksheets and guided meditation exercises. I would recommend her to anyone struggling with a rough patch in a relationship, at work, or anyone going through anxiety or depression."
"I am so grateful that my first experience seeking counseling was with Katharine. She completely and truly understands and gave me valuable advice. She helped me explore ways to control my anxiety. I cannot thank her enough for helping me through everything."
Whether you know where your anxiety is coming from or not, you can find treatments that will help. You can overcome anxiety, with the right tools.
Other Commonly Asked Questions
How do you feel better when dealing with anxiety?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, there are several techniques that you can use to help relieve anxiety. The first is deep breathing exercises. Taking a deep breath is a great way for reducing stress in general, and it’s a strategy that you can use for in-the-moment anxiety management. It can help bring anxiety symptoms under control, such as increased heart rate, quickened respiration, increased sweating, and anxious thoughts. So, when you feel an anxious thought coming on, take a deep breath and exhale slowly, forcing all of the stress out of the body as you exhale.
Reducing stress in your life overall is another way to help manage anxiety now and in the future. While you can’t just snap your fingers and instantly calm down and relax, there are a few lifestyle changes that can help you stop feeling anxious in the short term and the long term.
First of all, you need to get enough sleep. According to peer-reviewed studies, adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Spending time sleeping – even if it’s just an extra hour or two each night – can reduce the number of stress hormones your body produces. Getting enough sleep can help you focus better, and it makes you better prepared to manage feelings of worry and reduce anxiety. You’ll also find that getting enough sleep can help you focus better and feel more energy throughout the day.
Next, you should get consistent exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to take up a new sport or become a bodybuilder: just taking a walk near your home or doing some stretching exercises is enough for reducing stress and calming anxious thoughts. Moving your body with intention gives a stronger sense of control, which can combat the fear and worry that are causing anxiety. Consistent exercise can reduce muscle tension and promote muscle relaxation; when you relax, it’s easier to manage your anxiety. So, exercise can ease stress and anxiety and also support better mental health overall.
Additionally, cutting back on caffeine and alcohol can help reduce anxiety. Caffeine and alcohol impact both the body and the mind, and they can increase the effect of other symptoms of anxiety and depression. Even though you may drink these beverages to relax, consistent consumption can add to the stress in your life, not to mention increasing the risk of other health conditions. While completely giving up caffeine and alcohol might not work for you, try to drink less each day. In its place, have a glass of water to stay hydrated and promote your general mental health.
Meditation is another great way to cope with intense anxiety. Meditation is the process of calming your mind and body so that you can rest and relax on a deeper level. For extra support with meditation, you can get help from a professional, or even start with videos and resources available for free online. Meditating doesn’t have to be a daunting thing: it’s just about getting into a restful headspace so that you can address any anxiety and depression from a place of non-judgment and self-control.
Additionally, a mental health professional might recommend medications as a treatment for an anxiety disorder. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, these medications are specifically created for treating anxiety disorders, so before taking any medicine for anxiety you absolutely must talk with a doctor and get clear medical advice diagnosis for an anxiety disorder.
Finally, seeking support from a mental health professional or a support group is a great way to tackle anxiety head-on. Most therapists will use a cognitive behavioral approach to help you identify the triggers for your anxiety and to recognize what causes the fear and worry. Then, talk therapy will focus on different ways to cope with anxiety. They will help you establish and maintain the support and coping skills that you need for a life without anxiety.
Will I ever feel better from anxiety?
For most people who suffer from anxiety disorders, there can be a real fear that the anxiety will never go away. However, research has shown that with the right treatment and lifestyle changes, anxiety can get better. Remember, only a qualified mental health professional can offer advice on diagnosis or treatment for an anxiety disorder, so it’s important to talk to a therapist or psychologist before setting out on a course of treatment.
If you’re worried that the anxiety will never go away, then talking to a therapist is a great place to start. The therapist can help you identify the fear and worry that is the root cause of your anxiety. They can also offer ways to overcome this fear and coping strategies for when you feel this fear bubbling up inside you. Most importantly, they offer a safe space and a judgment-free zone where you can process the causes and implications of your anxiety.
With time, patience, and persistence, your anxiety can go away, and you can overcome this!
How do you push through anxiety?
The first step to pushing through anxiety is realizing the source of the stressful triggers in the first place. When the brain feels anxious, the body releases stress hormones. At that point, the stress hormones ignite what is called the “fight or flight response.” When the body enters into fight-or-flight mode, the stress levels are high, and the body exhibits all external signs of fear, worry, and stress. The muscles tense up and breathing and heart rate increase. While this physical response was necessary for our hunter-gatherer ancestors, it can lead to serious mental health issues in the modern world.
So, once you understand the physical and evolutionary components of anxiety, it’s easier to push through. Try to calm the physical symptoms of anxiety with deep breathing, before it comes to a panic attack. Panic attacks occur when the body completely gives in to fear and worry, and the physical symptoms of anxiety cause a person to lose control of their body. A person will often tense up, hyperventilate, and be unable to communicate during a panic attack.
All in all, don’t worry too much about what will happen in the future. If you’re worried about what tomorrow holds, name the fear. Perhaps write it all down in a journal, or talk to a trusted friend or family member about it. Or, if you’re worried that a friend or family member isn’t the right person to talk to, you can make an appointment with a mental health professional.
A mental health professional, such as a psychologist or therapist, can help you target the triggers of your anxiety. They’ll talk with you to help you understand why you’re facing anxiety, and how you can approach each of the triggers and anxious thoughts. They can offer support for all kinds of mental illness that is associated with anxiety, including anxiety disorders and depression. A mental health professional can be the co-founder of your new, low-stress, low-anxiety future.