There are many websites with suggestions on how to reduce or control anxiety. These are things that I found helpful. I’ll start with methods we can use at home with, or without, medical intervention.
- Accept anxiety as a part of life for now. That doesn’t mean it’s pleasant or that we quit trying to treat, reduce, or “cure” our anxiety. When I’m closer to accepting that I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), the challenge of being anxious about being anxious is much less. The trick is not being anxious about trying not to be anxious about being anxious. Confusion in the last sentence intended. Anxiety is confusing. Seriously, though. This is difficult. When you find that worry coming back, understand it’s part of the process.
- Mindfulness. I find this form of meditation helpful. In mindfulness, we stay aware of our current thoughts, emotions, body awareness, and surroundings. We stay in the moment. For example, as I write this I’m feeling anxious. I worry that I sound stupid or people will judge me. Since I’m aware of this, I can take a few breaths, realize it really doesn’t matter what people think, and keep writing. This lowers my anxiety level. This shows another concept,”non-judgemental stance.” I’m not judging myself for being anxious or what I was thinking. A few ways of practicing staying in the moment are: eat an orange. Pay attention to how the peel feels and smells and the squirt of juice. Feel the texture of the inside of the orange- smell it, taste it. Slow down. Another way is to wash dishes. Feel and smell the soap. How does the water feel? How do the plates feel? I watched the sunset mindfully yesterday. I noticed the color, the clouds, the breeze. I appreciated it without the mind chatter. There are many resources on the internet to learn more and smart phone applications to help you practice.
- Exercise. I do both cardio and some resistance training. I love running. Not everyone does. Find what you enjoy and set time aside to do it. Cardio is great because it makes you control your breathing. When anxious we tend to breath shallow and fast. Cardio makes you breath deeper and actually can slow your breathing. The trick there is to keep the pace slow enough that you can talk in full sentences.
- Diet: eat regular meals. Reduce sugar and caffeine. Most people don’t want to give them up. Eat them in moderation. Eat protein, fruits, carbohydrates, and vegetables. If you can, work with a nutritionist. There are resources on the internet. Make sure whatever you use comes from a professional source. Fad diets are not going to be helpful.
- Get enough sleep.
- Do something you enjoy
- Coloring: i found mandalas helpful. It keeps me focused on something besides worrying. You don’t have to buy the books. The internet has free ones you can download.
Applications: Insight Timer , Be Present, ZMeditations, Meditation