It’s fair to say that with the news over the last few weeks it can be easy to have anxiety. In fact, in Ireland, one in six people are affected but mental health problems like anxiety. Amongst teenagers, it has doubled since 2012. 22% now report severe anxiety. It is a growing problem and our daily habits can often make things worse. However, there are a couple of useful things that we can do to help reduce this.
Anxiety is a feeling of fear or apprehension about what’s to come. It can range from micro things such as your first day in a new job to macro issues such as climate change. It can start with external factors that cause stress which in turn leads to anxiety.
Work, personal relationships or financial issues can help trigger this stress. As well as that our environment can also accelerate anxiety. Be it physical or for example constantly being online and seeing negative content these can all play a part in triggering anxiety.
Some of the more common signs or symptoms can include:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
So what can you do to stop things before they get to this stage? Here is a useful list of things you can practice daily and make them a part of your routine.
Five Things To Reduce Anxiety
Deep-breathing – This can make such a big difference. What does this mean? Instead of taking breaths through your chest focus on belly breathing instead. There’s also the other benefits that it’s free, location independent, and easy to implement. If you’re unsure where to start here is a useful video to start things off. After a couple of deep breaths, you should notice a difference.
Talk to someone – It can’t be overstated how beneficial this can be. There’s a reason getting things off your chest can have a benefit. It may be that just having someone listen to you and show they care, this can help in itself. Do you have a friend or family member you can chat with? If so then organise a meetup and just talk things out. We very often can make mountains out of molehills and by talking to someone else you can get their perspective and help alleviate issues you might have.
Have you been drinking a lot of coffee – Do you tend to have a few cups throughout the day? Caffeine causes a spike in adrenaline levels, and this is a hormone involved in the body’s fight-or-flight fear response. As a result, drinking too much can make you feel anxious or on edge. Even decaffeinated coffee has at least two and up to 12 milligrams. Depending on how much you drink you should either cut caffeine out or reduce your intake and see if you notice a difference.
Exercise – This can have some great benefits. Not only does it decrease levels or stress but by focusing on the task it can distract you from things you’ve been mulling over in your mind. Research has been done into how it can benefit the treatment of anxiety and it was found when combined with standard anxiety treatments it proved to be more effective. So why add regular exercise to your schedule. After all, it’s recommended we do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity.
Listen to Music – It’s amazing how music can impact your stress levels. Listening to the right music may activate reward systems in the brain, this, in turn, increases feelings of pleasure which will result in reduced stress and anxiety. There has been research done as well. The most important factor in reducing stress was the degree of liking for the music, but not the degree of familiarity with the music. So if you’re looking to reduce stress then listening to a favourite song or music genre may be an effective short term remedy for stress.
How do you Combat Anxiety?
Here are just some useful tips to help you on a daily basis reduce stress and as a result, stop anxiety before it has started. There are a wide variety of other ways you can alleviate anxiety as well. What ones do you practice?