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Mental Health Tips

Coping with Anxiety

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Anxiety refers to having excessive worry for more than six months about a variety of activities. Anxiety can present in a number of different ways. Below are some symptoms of anxiety. Which of these might apply to you?

Energy Level

  • Disrupted sleep
  • Feeling easily fatigued

Thinking and Feeling 

  • Poor concentration or mind going blank
  • Irritability

Body

  • Muscle tension
  • Restlessness, keyed up, or edgy

Coping Tips For Feelings of Anxiety

  • Talk to your doctor or licensed mental health professional about your symptoms. The structure of routine appointments is an important first step in reducing anxiety.
  •  Maintain physical and mental health. Our physical and mental health are closely connected with one another. Exercising regularly, having a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep can all help to manage symptoms of anxiety. Ask yourself:

How often do you exercise in a week?

Do you notice what happens to your mind and body after consuming certain foods and drinks (especially alcohol and caffeine)?

  • Take breaks. Giving yourself regular breaks from problems or stressful situations can help keep anxiety at bay. Depending on what’s available, you might do bigger things like taking a yoga class or getting a massage, or smaller things like listening to a few songs you enjoy or doing a guided relaxation exercise.

 Helpful Activities

  •  Keeping a Journal. Writing down your thoughts can help you reduce anxiety. Having a regular practice of writing in a journal for 10-15 minutes can help consolidate your thoughts from the day and make the next day feel more manageable.

Can you think of at least three different days, between now and when we meet again, that you can set aside 10-15 minutes to write in your journal?

  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Mindfulness. Progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness can help with relaxing your body and learning to accept reality as it is. Progressive muscle relaxation is a process in which you gradually relax the muscles in your body. Relaxing the body can help relax the mind. Mindfulness, in a nutshell, is the practice of observing what’s happening without judgment. Adding both coping skills to your toolbelt is an important step in reducing anxiety.

What time of day could you set aside 5-10 minutes to put these things into practice?

Can you do them on your own or would like a prompt to guide you through these exercises?

  • Breathing Exercises. Breathing is connected to your nervous system. Breathing exercises help you regulate your nervous system, and in turn, help with managing anxiety. 4.7.8. Breathing (inhale for 4, hold for 7, exhale for 8) is a technique that you can use to help bring your nervous system back into balance.

Can you commit to doing this one to two times per day for the next week?

  •  Aromatherapy. Our sense of smell can be a powerful tool in helping us relax and get into a calm state of mind. Enjoy aromatherapy of oils, incense, or candles. Scents like lavender, chamomile, or sandalwood elicit a soothing effect.

Can you think of a time in which a certain smell made you feel more relaxed?

What kind of scent might you want to use during your nighttime ritual to help you unwind?

For more information about anxiety, you can schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians or visit Anxiety & Depression Association of America