This should help you understand some of the important things you can do, both short- and long-term, to curb and treat anxiety, including:
- Creating a network of people to support you in your time of distress.
- Making temporary and permanent lifestyle changes that include diet, exercise, and positive thinking.
- Understanding when it’s time to seek more professional assistance with therapy, support groups, and medication.
Anxiety is something that most people will experience at one time in their lives, but several people experience the issue long term. If this is something you’re dealing with, you might be nervous about seeking help, but you have professionals and loved ones available if you’re willing to accept the assistance.
Wondering “how can I reduce stress and anxiety” this year? Here we offer some short-term and long-term methods that will help.
SHORT-TERM ANXIETY KILLERS
Sometimes you need to just kick that anxiety to the curb right now because you’re about to embark on something in life, and you can’t have it in the way. Perhaps you know more long-term solutions you need eventually, but you’re just looking for a way to get past the anxiety today. Some of our best recommendations for short-term anxiety killers are turning to a support person, exercising, accepting your emotions, sitting up straight, and repeating an affirmation.
Turning to a Support Person
If you’re starting to feel anxious and don’t have time to do something drastic, you can simply call a friend you have previously confided in. You should have several individuals as part of your support system so you can turn to them in these situations. Explain how you’re feeling and let your support person know what you need at that moment. If you have a little time to plan, you might consider having a support person join you for a particular event in your life, so he or she is already there when you start to feel distressed.
When we say you should exercise, we don’t mean you have to do a full hour of heavy cardio or weight lifting. Simply getting your heart rate up will encourage your brain to release the hormones required to improve your mood. If you can, go outside and take a quick walk around the block. If you’re stuck indoors, jog up and down the stairs a few times, and you should start to feel better almost immediately.
Accepting Your Emotions
When you’re in the middle of an anxious episode, you might try to stifle your feelings and wait to deal with them at a later time, but that often makes the situation worse. Instead, set a 60- or 90-second timer on your watch or your phone. For that minute or minute-and-a-half, breathe as deeply as you can while you wallow in your anxiety. Accept what you’re feeling and the emotions you’re experiencing. As soon as that timer goes off, make the decision to let those feelings and emotions stay in the past. Move on by telling yourself that you had an opportunity to have your emotions, and it’s time to let go.
Sitting Up Straight
When you feel distressed, you often tremble, sweat, slouch, and physically shut yourself off. Your posture actually has a lot to do with how you’re feeling, so this practice can be detrimental when you’re having an anxious episode. Push yourself to sit up straight. Open your shoulders and put out your chest so that when you take a deep breath, you can feel your lungs fill up. If you’re in a position where it’s appropriate, hold your arms in the shape of a “V” above your head, looking upward and letting the sunlight hit your face.
Repeating an Affirmation
Instead of giving in to your anxiety, tell it to go away. You don’t have to say it out loud, though there is power in hearing your own voice; repeating an affirmation can help you temporarily get through something difficult. It can be as simple as repeating, “I am a warrior with strength unknown,” or as complicated as memorizing and repeating a favorite poem that lifts and inspires you.
LONG-TERM ANXIETY KILLERS
Certain individuals will do great with short-term solutions for anxiety. With these easy steps, they can de-stress, so their everyday tasks are easier. While this will work for some, it won’t be sufficient for everyone. Anxiety and depression are becoming more widely accepted as health conditions, which means there are more and more solutions to help individuals who are suffering. If you, a loved one, or your doctor feels you could benefit from long-term anxiety killers, you might consider eliminating bad habits, living a healthier lifestyle, seeking therapy, joining a support group, and possibly utilizing proper medication.
Eliminating Bad Habits
Many bad habits that are considered addictive are such because they contain stimulants and depressants that mask what you’re going through. Unfortunately, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine users feel like they are creating a solution to get rid of the pain when they’re really just numbing it temporarily. If you want a long-term solution to anxiety, eliminating bad habits, such as smoking and drinking, will surely help. Most of the time, you’ll need professional help if you’re an addict, and there’s no shame in looking into a treatment program.
Living a Healthier Lifestyle
Small changes in your lifestyle can dramatically affect your issues with anxiety. Sugary foods like cereal, candy, and soft drinks cause your blood sugar to spike, which is sure to make you anxious. Eliminating these from your diet and loading up on vegetables, legumes, and whole grains will balance your body so you can relax.
It’s also important to add daily exercise to your lifestyle. Yes, a quick walk around the block can help as a short-term solution, but when your body is given a routine daily workout, it will treat you better, and that includes calming the stress.
Not everyone is able to handle the stress of their anxiety at home by themselves. If you are in a position in which you feel like there is no hope for your situation, it may help to visit with one of our therapists. Through an evaluation, we can help you discover what route you should take for more long-term treatment. Our therapy sessions are highly individualized, ensuring you receive the care you truly need and helping you make the changes that are necessary for your success.
Joining a Support Group
Although many who deal with anxiety just want to shut themselves off from others, a support group is a great way to find strength. You can create a support group of your own loved ones, or you can seek a group elsewhere. If you are working with a therapist, you might already be part of a group. If you’re not part of a group, your therapist likely knows where you can find the support you need.
Utilizing Proper Medication
Depending on the severity of your issue and how you’re able to handle it at home, we sometimes recommend medication. We monitor and manage your medication to ensure it’s working as it should and that you’re experiencing the right effects and benefits. When changes need to be made, we come up with a plan to adjust the dose as needed or desired.
HELP IS ONLY A PHONE CALL AWAY
At Elevate Psychiatry, we are committed to each client we treat for anxiety and other psychiatric issues. Whether you’re looking for more short-term solutions to reduce anxiety now or feel you could benefit from therapy or another long-term treatment option, we’re only a phone call away. Give us a call today at 305-908-1115 to speak with someone who can help.