When Anxiety Hits & What To Do About It!
To some degree, every person has anxiety. It's a perfectly normal emotion, according to WebMD. But for the 40 million people in the U.S. (18 percent of the adult population) with anxiety disorders, the feeling is so severe that it interferes with day-to-day life.
If you're one of these people, then you know the struggles all too well, but here's the good news: There's a lot you can do to feel better. When I start to feel my anxiety taking over my day to day I call it spinning, because one thought builds on the other, scenario after scenario and before I know it I am having a panic attack. I have made a list of some the things that help me to bring myself back to reality. To be clear, these activities don't treat an anxiety disorder, but they can be used to help manage stress, ease tension, and supplement medication and therapy.
Most of these ideas are simple, straightforward, and some were even—dare I say it—fun! Which is the point. Anxiety can hold us captive and can make us feel severely stuck. Here are some of the best ways to get your mind off of your worries and reduce your anxiety.
1. Meditate. This was one of the most popular suggestions you would hear. I do not recommend trying to meditate during a panic attack because your body is producing a ton of adrenaline. Prayer and mindfulness are great too.
2. Exercise or go for a run. It forces you to focus on a physical action and will exhaust your body to the point where you don't think about anxious thoughts.
3. Take a drive. Even getting out of the house can help, it reminds you of how small you are and can ground you.
4. Listen to music. Put in some earbuds and crank up the music. This can be especially helpful at night when you're trying to fall asleep.
5. Clean and organize your home. Use your anxious energy to do something productive like tidying up around the house.
6. Focus on breathing. Slow and deep breathing seems to work best.
7. Spend time with animals. Take your dog for a walk, cuddle with your cat, or volunteer at an animal shelter.
8. Have sex. We doubt your partner will have any objections to this popular suggestion. Sex releases oxytocin which is the love hormone and can help with dopamine release as well.
9. Express your creativity by coloring. There's a reason those adult coloring books are everywhere—they're fun and relaxing. Plus, there are coloring books specifically designed to help you feel better.
10. Read a novel. There's nothing quite like a good story to help you escape and get your mind off everything else going on.
11. Go outside. Sit under a tree, go for a walk, head to the beach, or make use of whatever pretty outdoor space is close by. Nature is very powerful and can bring you back to reality.
12. Do some yoga. Allowing your body to move and flow without a plan is a great way to help anxiety.
13. Knit a scarf. Or crochet, or sew, or even paint—anything creative that requires your full attention will help you feel better.
14. Take a bubble bath. Enough said.
15. Do some gardening. There are a ton of reasons to try gardening, not least of which is to experience serenity. Practicing being mindful while you garden is a proven way to reduce stress.
So if you find yourself confronting anxiety quiet a bit lately, do yourself a favor and act on. It shouldn't control or rule your life. Pick from the list and go do something about it Warrior!