The National Institute on Mental Health report findings on anxiety among Americans. According to reports, over 22 percent of adults between 18 and 44 suffer from anxiety, and close to 21 percent ranging in age from 45 to 59 have an anxiety issue.
This does not include the number of children, adolescent and teens that struggle with anxiety. It has been noted that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness among this age group, with one in three being affected.
Anxiety can be terrifying at any age. It may seem overwhelming, especially when it seems too hard to calm down.
There are many ways you can calm yourself when you start to feel anxious. Twelve of these are listed below.
1. Focus on Your Breathing
Anxiety has a great deal to do with breathing. When you are anxious, your breath becomes shallower, preventing the right amount of oxygen from entering the body and reaching all of the organs, especially the brain.
Use a paper bag to help you reset your breaths to slow and deep, which will help calm you. Because it is hard to focus when anxious, the paper bag will redirect your thoughts to watching it inflate and deflate as you breathe, a great distraction from your anxiety.
2. Get Distracted
Distractions are great ways to help calm you down from anxiety. One reason anxiety can take over is because you are completely focused on the anxiety.
Find other things to do when you start to feel anxious. You may have to force yourself to find a distraction but that is okay. If you have a pet, focus on the needs of that pet. Use your pet as a distraction. Give your pet a bath or go for a walk.
3. Release Endorphins
Exercise is known to release endorphins in the brain that tell your body everything will be okay. The more you can release these endorphins, the less anxious you may feel. Exercise does not have to be hard core cardio either.
Taking a walk around the block and even cleaning your house can help you release endorphins and start calming down from your anxious feelings.
4. Talk to Someone Who Understands
To help calm your anxiety, contact a person who understands, someone who has dealt with and overcome their own anxiety issues. Or, talk to a mental health professional who specializes in anxiety related disorders.
5. Get Spiritual
Connecting with something greater than you, and asking for help, can help reduce anxiety. Meditating or praying gives you quality time to connect with your higher power.
This can also give you time to focus on listening to your bodies needs and figuring out how to meet those needs.
6. Use Your Scents
Essential oils are extremely accessible today. Studies have shown that using your sense of smell can help reduce anxiety if used with the right herbs and oils.
For example, lavender and chamomile are two scents associated with calming anxiety. Rub some on your pillowcase, add some to a hot bath or carry around a tube of the oil for easy access in times of emergency.
7. Make Your Thoughts Realistic
Anxiety can cause your thoughts to drift off to unrealistic ideas. It can make you feel as if you will be harmed and may die. This is good when the situation is realistic.
However, sometimes your anxiety makes you feel threatened even when there are no threats around.
When you start to feel anxious, analyze whether there are real threats. Recognizing you are not in real danger can help to calm your anxiety.
8. Accept Your Anxiety
When feeling anxious, many people feel guilt on top of their anxiety. They feel like they should not be having anxiety and that something is wrong with them because they do.
Having anxiety is not your fault and no one is to blame. You can have anxiety for many different reasons, from heredity to chemical imbalances to hormones.
Do not think of anxiety as a bad thing. It is something to contend with for the time being, with a beginning a middle and an end, like an ocean wave.
9. Get Online
It is true that some uses of technology can create anxiety and stress. But there are also online tools that can help you reduce anxiety.
You can join an online support group for anxiety and reach out to members of the group when you are feeling anxious. These groups are filled with people who know exactly what you are feeling. You can learn tips and tricks to calm down.
10. YouTube Videos
Believe it or not, there are some great videos on YouTube from professionals who can help you learn techniques for reducing anxiety. There are guided meditation videos and videos from people who have been successful at overcoming anxiety.
11. Grounding Yourself
Mental health professionals can teach you many grounding techniques that can help you calm down during an anxious moment. Grounding methods include holding on to an item and focusing on it, the 5-4-3-2-1 method, and even use of a chair to help you find calm.
Working with a therapist offers you the most benefits and gives you a large toolbox for overcoming anxiety.
12. Battle Your Brain
Ultimately, anxiety happens because your brain is sending messages telling you to fear. You must battle your brain, so you do not start deciphering between when the messages are real and when they are false.
Talk to a licensed therapist about the possibilities of using medication as a temporary resource.
Your brain can be retrained to reduce anxiety. Working with a therapist is the best way to do this.
In conclusion, there are numerous techniques to reduce anxiety. These are just a few. One final thing you can do is to make a long list of the techniques that work for you, include the ideas listed here. Each time you feel anxious, turn to your list and start working through it until you are calm.
You do not have to live with anxiety. It is a mental disorder that can be overcome.