During the past year, we have all been reacquainted with anxiety like never before. The job market, personal issues, public health crisis and overall downturn of the economy all act as trigger points for anxiety. This has made us realise that too much of anything we love like ‘Netflix and chill’ or ‘family time’ also cause anxiety. This period has given us an opportunity to understand ourselves better, learn new things and new ways to make our lives more fulfilling and satisfactory. If you’ve been dealing with anxiety and are looking for ways to cope with anxiety here are the top 10 ways to cope with anxiety and make your life more joyous.
1. Respond Don’t React
Our brains are wired ram headfirst into a problem or to scamper from it as quickly as we can. This approach is called the fight or flight response. The system helped our forest-dwelling ancestors survive, but in the brick and mortar age, this method only adds to our anxiety.
One of the most important tips to overcome anxiety in modern times is to learn to respond and not react to your problems. Simply put, we ought to analyse our issues from various perspectives and chart out a practical course of resolution, before jumping into action. Reactions trigger our stress and anxiety. On the other hand, the ability to respond helps us cope with our anxiety in a better way.
2. Drinking Chai (Tea) Calms You Down Your Anxiety
The traditional chai found across Indian households contains caffeine which has counterproductive effects on stress. However, many different types of herbal teas help you cope with anxiety. Herbal teas not only help calm you down in the short run but also act as healthier alternatives for regular tea in the longer run.
Chamomile tea is a popular choice to cope with anxiety. Other brew options include Hibiscus, Kava, Peppermint, Lavender, and Valerian root, all of which are calming. You should note that Herbal teas complement a healthy lifestyle but aren’t an alternative to healthy living.
Pro Tip – Valerian root tea should not be consumed if you plan on driving soon after consumption.
3. Move Your Body
Exercise is often linked to the secretion of endorphins which is also known as the feel-good hormone and neurochemicals that make your brain feel joyful. Anxiety is not just a state of mind. A tense body can significantly contribute to the feeling of dread as well. Exercising regularly helps increase blood flow to the muscles, thereby allowing us to release pent up tension that our body is carrying around.
Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean putting in long strenuous hours at the gym. A short relaxing session of Yoga or stretching or even a simple walk outside will help you feel calm and serene. At the very least, exercise distracts you from the triggers of your anxiety. It enables you to deal with the problem more effectively with a fresh and calm mind.
4. Create And Consume Art Or Music
The artistic expression of emotions, also known as ‘catharsis’ is a great way to overcome anxiety productively. You don’t have to be an excellent painter, an accomplished writer, or a trained musician to be able to deal with stress. Indulge in art or music to de-stress and without bothering about the end product that you create.
Vibrant colours, soulful tunes, free-writing and other art forms not only help calm your mind calm down but also help you gain better clarity of your self. Binaural beats are also a form of music therapy which has shown quantifiable calming effects by altering brain waves.
5. Just Breath To Manage Anxiety
If you observe closely, you would realise that every time you feel anxious, you are taking quick, short and shallow breaths. Learning to breathe correctly is one of the best ways to overcome anxiety quickly.
Chest or thoracic breathing leads to a hiked heart rate and a drop in blood oxygen level. Chest breathing can be classified as short and shallow breaths. This kind of breathing leads to tightness and soreness of the muscles and increased anxiety. On the other hand, abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing not only calms the brain down but also helps you function more effectively.
Simply taking slow, long and deep breaths using the natural breathing muscle (diaphragm) helps lessen the effects of anxiety in a matter of minutes.
6. Celebrate The Small Wins
We are often so caught up looking at the big picture that we forget that life is made of small moments and accomplishments. Looking forward to the next big project is an attitude of success, but learning to celebrate the small achievements is paramount.
Small celebrations allow you some relaxation between tasks, thereby eliminating the need to carry the anxiety of one big life event into another. Celebration of the small achievements also helps you appreciate yourself for the hard work you put in to attain a specific goal. Self-appreciation and relaxation help in eliminating stress and pump you with the fuel of excitement for the next big thing in your life.
7. Give Yourself Some Me Time
Loneliness kills, solitude heals.
Spare at least half an hour every day to be alone. Spend this time by taking care of your “self”. Let your thoughts flow freely or write them down or simply look at yourself in the mirror and acknowledge your brilliance or capabilities. Better yet, treat yourself with anything that you love.
Often the triggers of our stress are not on the outside but within us. Spending some time in solitude helps you recognise these triggers and deal with them effectively. Giving yourself “Me” time enables you to overcome anxiety from the inside.
8. Attitude Of Empathy
For many of us, relationships of all kinds can be a cause of anxiety. One should not at all bear with the stress generated from unhealthy and toxic relationships. Even healthy relationships may lead to some amount of stress every once in a while. One needs to learn to cope with the stress and anxiety to maintain healthy relationships, and an attitude of empathy is the most effective tool to do this.
Empathy simply means to walk into the shoes of the other person and look at an issue from their perspective. An empathetic attitude enables us to perceive the world through the lenses of a broader and more inclusive perspective. Being able to understand and feel what others go through helps us know that we are not alone in our journey of life. We realise that others might be equally or even more stressed than us. This perspective helps us not only cope with our anxiety and depression but also enables us to be a better person.
9. Live in the Moment
One doesn’t have to be a spiritual person to develop and practice mindfulness. Training your brain to live in the moment is no different than training your muscles through exercise.
Our brain is continually processing thoughts, and information received via our senses throughout the day. However, just like too many vehicles on a highway lead to traffic congestion, too many simultaneous thoughts clogs our brain and leads to stress and anxiety. Therefore, it is essential to decongest your mental highway every once in a while.
Mindfulness and meditation enable you to live in the moment and enjoy it to the fullest. This helps you better cope with the anxiety caused by the worry of the past or the future.
10. Therapy Helps Deals With Anxiety
Lifestyle changes are a fantastic way to overcome anxiety and depression while developing great habits for the long run. However, at times, the causes of anxiety could be rooted deep within one’s mind. If unresolved, such issues could develop into profound psychological unease.
In such situations, one should not feel insecure and should seek the advice of the professional. Therapists can arm you with the tools necessary to cope with severe anxiety. Such therapies include muscle relaxation techniques, emotional and psychological healing, and emotive and behavioural therapy.
You can live a happy and fulfilling life even with severe anxiety if you get the necessary help at the correct time.
Just like the body needs medical attention at times, the mind may also need professional guidance. The mere awareness of this necessity and the willingness to consult an expert itself enables you to take the first step towards overcoming anxiety and leading a healthier and more fulfilling life.
We’re confident that these methods will help you cope with your anxiety and improve your mental health. We conduct live workshops that help you overcome mental health issues from time to time so follow us on social media to stay updated with the latest micro-learning workshops.