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How to Cope with Anxiety: 11 Simple Ways and When to See a Doctor

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps people learn different ways of thinking about and reacting to anxiety-causing situations. A therapist can help you develop ways to change negative thought patterns and behaviors before they spiral.

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How to Cope with Anxiety: 11 Simple Ways and When to See a Doctor

How to Cope with Anxiety: 11 Simple Ways and When to See a Doctor

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/how-to-cope-with-anxiety

healthline.com

15

Key Ideas

Use Aromatherapy

Whether they’re in oil form, incense, or a candle, scents like lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood can be very soothing.

Aromatherapy is thought to help activate certain receptors in your brain, potentially easing anxiety.

Go For a Walk Or Do Yoga

Walking away from an anxiety inducing situation can be very effective. Taking some time to focus on your body and not your mind may help relieve your anxiety.

Write Down Your Thoughts

Writing down what’s making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.

Practice Focused, Deep Breathing

Try breathing in for 4 counts and breathing out for 4 counts for 5 minutes total. Evening out your breath, you slow your heart rate which may help you calm down.

Question Your Thoughts

Negative thoughts can take root in your mind and distort the severity of the situation. Ask yourself if your fears are warranted, and see where you can take back control.

Manage Your Triggers

When you figure out your trigger, try to limit your exposure if you can. Some common triggers:
  • Stressful environments
  • Driving or traveling
  • Genetics
  • Withdrawal from drugs or certain medications
  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Trauma, phobias and other mental illnesses
  • Chronic issues or illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, or asthma
  • Caffeine, alcohol or smoking 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps people learn different ways of thinking about and reacting to anxiety-causing situations. A therapist can help you develop ways to change negative thought patterns and behaviors before they spiral.

Do a Daily Or Routine Meditation

While this takes some practice to do successfully, mindful meditation, when done regularly, can eventually help you train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts when they arise.

If sitting still and concentrating is difficult, try starting with yoga.

Change Your Diet

Changing your diet or taking supplements may take up to three months to make an impact in must be discussed with your doctor. But research shows it can help anxiety reduction.
Notable foods and supplements that apply include lemon balm, Omega-3 fatty acids, ashwagandha, green tea, valerian root, kava kava, dark chocolate (in moderation).

Keep Your Body And Mind Healthy

Exercising regularly, eating balanced meals, getting enough sleep, and staying connected to people who care about you are great ways to stave off anxiety symptoms.

Ask Your Doctor About Medications

If your anxiety is severe enough that your mental health practitioner believes you’d benefit from medication, there are a number of directions to go, depending on your symptoms. Discuss your concerns with your doctor.

When Is Anxiety Harmful?

Anxiety is part of our brain’s response to a perceived danger. But it may grow out of control into an anxiety attack or a panic attack, or both simultaneously.

Initially, manageable anxiety can build up over a few hours and become an anxiety attack. This is different from a panic attack, which is out of the blue and subsides.

Signs Of An Anxiety Attack

  • Feelings of danger, panic, or dread
  • Nervousness or restlessness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or chills
  • Tiredness or weakness
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Hyperventilation

Symptoms Of a Panic Attack

  • Fear of dying
  • Feeling like you’re losing control
  • A sense of detachment
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains or tightness
  • Nausea
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Numbness or tingling in your extremities
  • Feeling hot or cold

Managing Anxiety

If you notice that quick tips haven’t been working, you may want to consider seeing a professional for help. Especially if you may have GAD and it's interfering with routine activities and causing physical symptoms.

A mental health professional can help with streamlining the process of identifying your triggers and maintaining long-term strategies. Anxiety may always be a part of your life, but all cases can be managed. 

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Risk Factors For Anxiety
  • Being female (women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety than are men
  • Caving into societal pressures to be ‘nice’ or be a high achiever
  • Being a perfectionist
  • High reluctance to share feelings
  • Childhood trauma
  • Cumulative stress
  • Genetic predisposition
Tips For Treating Anxiety
  • Visit your primary care doctor. Your symptoms may be from another condition with similar symptoms.
  • Ensure your chosen mental health professional is well versed in cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves the active restructuring of anxious thoughts and behaviors.
  • Consider skipping the caffeine and other stimulants that may exacerbate anxiety.
  • Exercise. Research indicates that routine exercise wards off the development of panic-related disorders.
  • Remind yourself that it’s okay to be anxious—in fact, the more demand you put on yourself to not be anxious, the more stressed you become.
  • Recognize, identify and cope with your anxiety to stay in control.

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Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a mental health disorder that begins after a traumatic event. Events may include:

  • A natural disaster like a tornado
  • Military combat
  • Assau...
PTSD symptoms

Words, sounds, or situations that remind you of trauma can trigger your symptoms. Symptom categories:

  • Intrusion: Flashbacks, where you relive the event. Clear, unpleasant memories or nightmares about the incident and intense distress when you think about the event.
  • Avoidance: Avoiding people, places, or situations that remind you of the event.
  • Arousal and reactivity: Trouble concentrating, easily startled, feeling of being on edge, irritability, moments of anger.
  • Cognition and mood: Negative thoughts, feelings of guilt, worry, blame, trouble remembering parts of the event, reduced interest in activities you enjoyed.
PTSD treatment

If you're diagnosed with PTSD, you will likely be prescribed therapy, medication, or both.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or "talk therapy" helps you to process the traumatic event.
  • Exposure therapy lets you re-experience elements of the trauma in a safe environment. It desensitizes you to the event and lessens your symptoms.
  • Antidepressants, anti-anxiety drug**s, and sleep aids** may help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

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Slow down

Try not to react immediately, but be patient and gather as much information as possible.

If the problem will not matter a year from now, distance yourself somewhat from the situation to gain ...

Stay positive

When you are in a stressful situation, do not allow your mind to imagine the worst-case scenario. 

Focus your mind on something positive.

Never ask “what if?”

The "what if" line of questioning induces panic and lets you focus on imagined situations that escalate the problem.

Focus on the facts and work on a solution.

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