Three Tips to Help You Deal With Anxiety
Anxiety is a feeling of restlessness and nervousness that is a normal part of everyday life. However, for some people (including myself) the anxiety they feel goes beyond the normal and they might suffer from an anxiety disorder. There are three different types of anxiety disorder: generalized anxiety disorder, where people display excessive amounts of anxiety or worry, panic disorder, where people suffer from recurrent and unexpected panic attacks, and finally there’s social anxiety disorder (this is the one I suffer from) where people experience a fear of social or performance (such as public speaking) situations. Talking from experience, suffering with any of these anxiety disorders is a real burden on trying to survive day to day life. To help ease some of that burden here are three tips to help you deal with anxiety.
Meditation// meditation forces you to focus on the here and now and helps to quiet an overactive brain. Many people with anxiety feel like their brains are running at a mile a minute and meditation allows people to stop overthinking and to relax. Meditation also focuses on breathing, which helps to reduce anxiety and the risk of hyperventilating because, as my mom always says, “Hyperventilating solves nothing.” However, meditation does not magically fix anxiety. It requires patience and you have to stay committed because most likely you won’t feel much of a difference the first time.
Avoid eating and drinking a lot of caffeine// research has shown that caffeine actually increases anxiety and can trigger an anxiety attack. It is also a danger to people who suffer from panic disorder because studies have shown that caffeine provokes panic attacks. The reason behind this is caffeine stimulates your “flight or fight” response, which can exacerbate a person’s anxiety. It is important to note that caffeine is not the only trigger of anxiety and is only one of many. So, while cutting back on caffeine is a good idea for those who suffer from anxiety disorders; do not expect your anxiety to simply disappear once you decrease your coffee intake.
Emotional Support Dogs// while this tip is not one that is available to everyone who suffers from anxiety, its effectiveness cannot be overlooked. Studies have shown that an emotional support animal, an animal which mitigates the emotional or psychological symptoms associated with its owner’s condition or disorder, has helped thousands of Americans overcome their anxieties and stressors and can often sense when a panic or anxiety attack is about to occur. Emotional support animals (usually dogs) are also used to help soldiers overcome PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) after returning to civilian life. These dogs do not require the same amount of training that a service dog would undergo and are simply there to be a constant friend and to help calm their owners in an anxiety-triggering situation.
While these tips are extremely helpful to those suffering from anxiety attacks, most of them are home remedies and if your anxiety worsens it is important that you get help. You must remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health and there is no shame in seeing a therapist or seeking professional help for your anxiety disorder.