If you suffer from the menace called anxiety, you probably know there is no miracle cure. Contrary to what they preach in YouTube videos, practicing yoga or getting enough sleep won't make anxiety disappear. Having said that, it's also true that there are small and simple lifestyle changes that can help you cope with anxiety. While not every change will work for everyone, it doesn't mean nothing will ever work. Daily anxiety can indeed be manageable with small changes made to your lifestyle.
It must be remembered that these changes do not replace medications or therapy you might be undergoing for your condition. They can only help you cope better when anxiety rears its ugly head.
Here are 12 small lifestyle changes that various people with anxiety have found to be helpful.
Making one's own bed has been hailed by experts as one of the most positive habits to incorporate into daily life. It is the easiest success habit that starts a chain of other productive habits throughout the day. Making your bed should be on your must-do list every morning if you suffer from anxiety. Since people with anxiety find it difficult to complete any task, making your own bed provides a sense of accomplishment, setting the tone for the rest of the day. Besides, you also get to come home to a made bed at the end of the day.
The pressure of being constantly connected makes anxiety worse. And several studies have proved that electronic devices like the phone actually contribute to stress and anxiety. Reaching for your phone first thing in the morning and using it till you go to bed are habits that silently make your anxiety grow. People who are anxious by nature aren't comfortable with sudden calls and messages or constant notifications. Having to check the phone constantly is one of the biggest troubles for anxious people.
That's why switching off or at least putting your phone on silent is a big favor you can do to yourself. When you don't have an unnecessary distraction in the form of your phone, you get to relax and go about your day without feeling overwhelmed every two seconds. You can even try swapping your smartphone for a basic phone to make life easier.
Social media is one of the biggest contributors to depression and anxiety. When someone with low self-esteem spends an excessive amount of time on social media, it makes the person compare his life to that of others, based on the social media feed. Besides, being bombarded with notifications and having to cope with the pressure of uploading pictures or status updates can be overwhelming and exhausting.
Going off social media is the best you can do, but if that isn't possible, at least delete the apps from your phone so you don't spend hours on Facebook or Instagram. Avoid checking emails or social media updates first thing in the morning. Instead, have a set time in the day for checking social media, and unplug for the rest of the day. On the weekends, consider switching off completely - no phone or internet. It helps you recharge without distractions.
You cannot live in denial that you don't have anxiety. Once you accept that anxiety is a part of your life, you must learn to open up about it and be cool. It's nothing to be ashamed of or be embarrassed about. On the contrary, when you open up about it to people who understand you, it lessens the burden and makes you feel better. Besides, when you talk to someone about your day, it helps you see the good things that happened with you. This leads you to recognize that not everything in your life is bad. It might also help to inform the people around you, such as your coworkers, about your anxiety. This will help them understand why you need to switch off or leave the room when you do.
When you have anxiety, you are predisposed to think that everything in your life is bad. That's why many people with anxiety practice the habit of journaling. Buy a notebook that appeals to you and write about the good parts of the day in it every day. This teaches you acceptance, gratitude, and makes you realize that your life isn't as bad as you imagine it to be. When you journal, remember to always write in the present tense or the past tense, never in the future tense. This helps you believe that your life is already good.
Mindfulness can be practiced in various ways. You can do yoga, practice meditation, repeat affirmations or simply breathe. At the beginning and at the end of the day, take some quiet time to relax and focus on the present moment, letting your thoughts drift by. Simply closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing can be of help. Practicing diaphragmatic breathing is also essential, where you feel your belly rise as you breathe in and feel it sink as you breathe out. People with anxiety have shallow breaths. Therefore, practicing deep breathing is essential. Repeating affirmations while falling asleep is also good for putting the mind to rest.
Cutting out negative things and people from your life is important if you want to stay healthy. Be it toxic family members, opportunist friends, or pessimistic coworkers, cut them out of your life slowly but surely. It can be hard, but once you are able to cease all connections with these people, you will do a world of good for your anxiety. When there aren't useless people in your life, you are able to better care for the people who actually matter. This also includes friends on social media and news websites and apps. There is so much toxicity in news and politics that it is important to stay away from them if you want to invite positivity into your life.
People with anxiety often resort to tea and coffee for calming their nerves when they are stressed. But caffeine actually gives you a jolt instead of helping you relax. Coffee or tea helps when you are trying to stay awake. But if you have anxiety, you must quit caffeine if you want to relax. Several people with anxiety have reported feeling better after quitting caffeine. Instead, switch to water, herbal teas, or healthy juices. These don't contain caffeine, and also keep you hydrated. When you cut out caffeine, you are able to relax and fall asleep more easily at bedtime.
Anxious people cannot hurry. They tend to take it slow and cause a mess if they are hurried. Someone who suffers from chronic anxiety cannot wake up at seven in the morning and get ready for the day in five minutes. If you have trouble hurrying in the morning, it is helpful to wake up an hour or so early and take your time to get ready. Starting your day with some alone time with yourself is also good. Meditating, journaling, gardening, or simply breathing for thirty minutes at the start of the day can help you start preparing for the day. Remember that if you wake up early, you must also go to bed earlier, so that you don't skimp on sleep.
Exercising is often like meditation. When you work out, it is difficult to think at the same time. It may be running, swimming, playing a sport, or working out in the gym. Exercise has been shown to lower stress, energize the mind and body, and make one feel good. When you're working out, your focus is on the exercise. If your focus shifts to your thoughts, you will end up slowing down or taking a misstep. When your focus is on the physical activity, your mind relaxes and doesn't get the opportunity to think. Besides, working out also helps you burn calories and stay in shape. When you look good and feel good, your self-esteem grows, and anxiety is managed.
If you are always stressed about missing dates, events, or responsibilities, creating a to-do list or daily planner is a good exercise. Before going to bed every night, write down all the things, dates, and responsibilities you must remember the next day. This will relieve you from the stress of forgetting and also help you go about your day in a more organized manner.
Despite how your life might be, practicing gratitude is a daily habit that builds positivity. Recognizing and being thankful for all that is good in your life shifts your focus from the negative to the positive. Taking each day as it comes is also a great way to beat stress and worry, and in turn manage anxiety. Sometimes all it takes to manage anxiety is a little change in perspective.
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