COPING SKILLS FOR ANXIETY: 11 Effective Ways of Dealing with Anxiety
Introduction to coping skills for anxiety
The internet is awash with a wide range of coping skills for anxiety. Every self-styled expert out there claims to know a thing or two about effective ways of dealing with anxiety. But are their claims right? We’ll see that later.
When you’re anxious, you do feel some funny symptoms. For instance, your heart rate may tend to increase in response to a stressful condition. Your palms may become sweaty when you are saddled with a great task or event.
That’s simply you being anxious. That’s the way your body responds naturally to stress.
If you haven’t identified your anxiety triggers yet, I’ll list a few of them: your first day at work, meeting with the family of your spouse, or presenting a speech or a seminar to a large audience. Anxiety triggers vary greatly different people, and so are ways of dealing with anxiety and depression. The key to dealing with anxiety effectively is by identifying your anxiety triggers. Once this is done, you’ll be able to create or identify the right coping skills for anxiety. Identifying anxiety triggers takes some time. It also requires reflection. But that notwithstanding, there a few ways to cope with anxiety and prevent it from taking over.
5 Effective coping skills for anxiety
If you suffer from chronic anxiety, such that it is interfering with your daily activities, some fast-working, homeopathic remedies could help you handle the situation.
If your anxiety is caused by a particular factor or condition, for instance, getting worried over an upcoming event, you’ll observe that the symptoms are short-lived and usually subside after the anticipated event has taken place.
Watch your thought patterns
Negative thoughts are very destructive. They can control your mind and greatly enhance the severity of the situation. The best thing to do is to face your fears, question their authenticity (are these fears true or just a figment of your imagination?), and explore ways of regaining total control.
Deep & focused breathing helps
Try inhaling and exhaling for four. Do this for five minutes at a stretch. Deep and focused breathing slows the rate at which your heart beats and helps you to relax.
Aromatherapy also works as an effective way of dealing with anxiety
Whether they come in the form of a candle, incense, or oils, scents such as chamomile, lavender, and sandalwood do have a soothing effect.
Aromatherapy activates some receptors in your brain which helps to ease anxiety.
Take a walk or do some yoga
An effective way of dealing with anxiety is by walking away from the prevailing situation. Focusing on your body rather than your mind may be one of the best coping skills for anxiety.
Pen down your thoughts
Documenting those things that make you anxious gets it out of your head, thus making it less daunting.
These tips are important for people who experience sporadic anxiety. They’re also helpful to people who have a generalized anxiety disorder.
For those who have a generalized anxiety disorder, it is important to note you should not adopt these quick methods as your only coping skills for anxiety. There are other long-term, very effective ways of dealing with anxiety. It suffices to say that these long term coping skills for anxiety may even prevent the occurrence of anxiety.
Long term coping skills for anxiety
If anxiety is a part of you, then you need to find treatment options that will keep it at bay for a long time. Effective ways to cope with anxiety might include a combination of various therapeutic measures such as meditation and talk therapy, or maybe resolving or cutting off those anxiety triggers.
If you are unsure of where to start, you may try discussing your options with a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or any other mental health professional. He or she will be ready to help you out.
Identify your anxiety triggers and manage them effectively
You should be aware of those factors that trigger anxiety. If you’re finding it difficult to identify your triggers, a therapist will help out. Some anxiety triggers may be obvious, such as intake of alcohol, caffeine, and smoking. In other cases, they may be very vague.
Some triggers may take some time to find out, such as problems with finances or at work. These may require additional support, such as through therapy or from friends.
When you get to know of your triggers, reduce your exposure to them. If you cannot limit your exposure to these triggers, for instance, working in a stressful environment, then you may adopt other effective coping skills for anxiety. They’ll go a long way to helping you combat this menace.
Some anxiety triggers include:
- Working in a stressful environment
- Traveling or driving
- Anxiety may run in genes
- Some medications may trigger anxiety. Withdrawal from drugs may also act as a trigger
- Anxiety may be a side effect of some medications
- Some forms of phobia, like claustrophobia or agoraphobia
- Chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease.
- Chronic pain
- Depression or other mental illnesses
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the ways to deal with anxiety. With cognitive behavioral therapy, you can learn various ways of reacting to or thinking about situations that trigger anxiety. A cognitive-behavioral therapist will assist you to create effective coping skills for anxiety. You’ll learn how to control negative thoughts and behaviors before they get out of hand.
Do a routine or daily meditation
Mindful meditation requires some practice. However, when you do it regularly, it can you’re your brain to master and control anxious thoughts.
If you find it difficult to sit still and concentrate, then start with yoga.
Change your diet or try taking some supplements
Dieting is a long-term strategy, no doubt about that. Studies have shown that some nutrients or supplements can help to reduce anxiety.
These supplements or nutrients include:
- Green tea
- Lemon balm
- Kava kava
- Valerian root
- Dark chocolate
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Note that it may take more than two months before these nutrients take effect in your body. If you are taking other medications, ensure that your doctor knows of them.
Keep your mind and body in a healthy state
Regular exercises, eating balanced meals, having adequate sleep, and connecting with people who are concerned about your welfare are very important ways to cope with anxiety.
Discuss with your doctor about medications
If you’ve got very severe anxiety such that your doctor believes that medications are necessary, there are several directions to go, depending on your symptoms. Consult your doctor for further directives.
Is anxiety harmful?
Identifying the type of anxiety that you have maybe a bit difficult because the way your body reacts to stress or danger may be completely different from that of another person’s.
Anxiety is generally seen as a blanket term for a feeling of uneasiness, nervousness, or worry. Anxiety develops in response to a yet-to-occur event with an uncertain outcome.
We all experience anxiety at some point in our lives. Why? Because it is part of our brain’s response to perceived danger, whether the danger is real or not. However, it is important to note that there are times that anxiety can get serious, turning into attacks that seem manageable at first, and then increases in severity over a few hours.
How do I know that I have an anxiety attack?
Symptoms that are commonly associated with anxiety include:
- Feelings of dread, panic, or danger
- Restlessness or nervousness
- Chills or trembling
- Weakness or fatigue
- Problems with your gastrointestinal tract
A person may also experience panic and anxiety attacks simultaneously. The coping skills for anxiety may also assist with a panic attack.
Tonika Bruce, MSN, RN, MBA. is an accomplished nurse leader, published author, and personal development expert passionate about advancing healthcare management and quality patient outcomes.
She taps into the years of experience in healthcare management to produce credible and easy-to-understand health and leadership content. Her exceptional work has been featured in reputable publications, including Forbes, Recruiter, Inc, and the Color of Wellness magazine.