Anxiety is a disorder that affects more than 40 million adults in the United States.
It is characterized by feelings of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.
Unfortunately, this disorder is often seen as something to be embarrassed of and hide from other people.
Many people live their whole life with anxiety, never identifying the signs and learning proper self-care.
There is an unfortunate stigma around anxiety that it somehow puts a stain on your mental health.
This could not be farther from the truth!
Anxiety can be a guiding force in your life – showing you your limits and forcing you not to put yourself in unhealthy situations!
Related Article: 13 Successful Habits of All Happy Women
Below are 12 ways that I have learned to manage my anxiety and build a mentally healthy lifestyle.
1.) Know Your Limits
This was a difficult one for me! I was an all-in or all-out kind of girl! I prided myself on my ability to be calm and collected in stressful situations. Instead, what those situations were doing to me was ruining my health and making my life miserable. I had to identify my physical and mental limits, and learn when to walk away!
Sit down with a pen and notebook and write down every area of your life that has stressed you out in the past year. When I did this, I discovered that my job, several relationships, and my career goals were taking the joy out of my life and replacing it with overwhelming anxiety.
Identify your limits and learn what triggers your anxiety. If at all possible, limit your exposure to these things. Distance yourself from toxic relationships and set up boundaries. Stick up for yourself! Stop putting yourself in situations that you know will trigger your anxiety.
Although it took me another year, I eventually quit my job and found a career path I was passionate about! I also set up boundaries with several toxic relationships that had previously had an unhealthy place in my life.
2.) Write It Down
When you feel anxiety creeping up, take some time to write down your thoughts. This can greatly help to relive your frustration and “cleanse your mind” of any unreleased frustrations and fears. A total brand dump!
Not too long ago, a situation triggered my emotions and anxiety – at 10:00 at night. After lying awake in bed for 2 hours, I got up and wrote down all my feelings and concerns regarding the circumstance. I wrote until I felt a calm drowsiness come over me – at 3:00 in the morning.
Sometimes, it may take longer than you think! But it is always a good idea to “get it out of your system” instead of holding it in and causing increased anxiety.
For me, this is the best way to calm my mind in a moment of stress. It is also a great way to discover any anxiety triggers that I didn’t know about previously.
3.) Go Outside and Enjoy Nature
Did you know that your body wasn’t even created to stay indoors? Going outside, breathing in fresh air, and getting in some exercise is a vital part of staying healthy and connected.
Most of us work indoors – often seated or stationary. In the past and currently, I spend a majority of my day sitting and staring at a computer screen. Not healthy!
Getting outside and enjoying nature is a vitally important part of my day! It helps me to walk, relax and focus on how beautiful life really is. Nature helps me gain a healthy perspective of myself and my surroundings
4.) Control Your Curiosity
You may find this point interesting, but bear with me! How many of you let your curiosity get the better of you. If you know that something triggers your anxiety, STAY AWAY FROM IT!
In many cases, this has to do with allowing toxic relationships to have an unnecessary hold on you. You don’t want them in your life, and yet you still want to know where they are, what they are doing, and what they think of you. Delete, block, and distance yourself! Don’t let unhealthy curiosity control your life.
If someone says, “Did you hear what she said about you?” you can reply, “No, and I am honestly not interested in knowing.”
Be the master of what you allow into your life and mind!
This has had a powerful effect on my self-confidence and self-image.
I have surrounded myself with people who I love and trust – people who don’t have a nasty habit of spreading rumors and gossip. Curiosity has the power to take your anxiety problems to the next level, so learn to control it!
Related Article: 5 Signs Your Relationship Is Absolutely Toxic
5.) Turn on Relaxing Music
Growing up in a musical family, music has always been a powerful source of energy and transformation for me.
The therapeutic benefits of music are undeniably effective. Music has the power to calm anxiety, incite emotions, and change your mood. If your workplace permits it, listen to relaxing music. Turn it on in the car and play it throughout your home. Listen to a music genre that encourages you to relax, breathe deeply, and unwind.
6.) Make Sleep A Priority
Sleep is one of the most overlooked necessities of life.
Did you know that you can only live about 11 days without sleep?
Lack of sleep causes chronic fatigue, headaches, weight gain, confusion, heart problems, and depression. Sleep is essential for a person’s mental and physical wellbeing.
Change up your evening schedule and make it a priority to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Anything less should be considered a short-term necessity.
To many people, “exercise” is a dirty word. But exercise doesn’t mean that you have to spend an hour at the gym each day or run a marathon.
Take a short walk on your lunch break, take the stairs, take a moment to stretch every few hours, take a walk after work.
This gets your blood moving and releases endorphins – a “feel good” chemical that can improve your mood and relieve stress.
Walking and light exercise is just one of the easy weight loss hacks for every-day life. A
lso, I have created a list of easy, at-home fitness hacks that have really helped me in my busy life!
Exercise has played a major role in clearing my mind and controlling my anxiety. The saying, “run it off” really does apply in this case.
8.) Spend Some Time with People You Enjoy
Everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE hanging out with fun and uplifting people – a social butterfly! There is nothing like laughter and quality conversation to lift my spirts and give me energy.
Did you know that laughter actually releases endorphins into your brain, also known as the “feel-good hormone”?
Rule: make sure that you are surrounding yourself with truly uplifting people. Because if you hang out with pessimistic, depressing, self-centered people, you will not return home in a good state of mind! This can actually trigger anxiety, putting you in the exact place you tried to get away from.
- 7 Steps to Successfully Remove Toxic People from Your Life
- 9 Surprising Signs You’re a Negative Person
9.) Come Up with a Positive Mantra
As my job became increasingly stressful, I found myself with my face in my hands, whispering “I can’t do this, I can’t do this anymore!” This did nothing more than create additional anxiety and a pessimistic viewpoint. I decided to replace that with a goal that I had.
When dealing with difficult people or circumstances, I always say, “Stay calm. It’s almost over, girl!” or “It’s OK, you will never have to be in this situation again.”
My goal has always been to remain calm, cool, and classy in the face of something I detested. If I “let loose”, it actually makes my anxiety 10 times worse.
If your job is stressful, perhaps you can whisper, “Giving Notice Day – November 25th”. Find a sentence that will calm you down and give you hope for the future. It can even be something super cheesy! Whatever works for you!
Related Article: 13 Successful Habits of All Happy Women
10.) Find An Outlet
We live in the day of screens – phones, iPads, computers, TVs, etc. When we need to relax or find an outlet, we tend to turn on our TV or disappear into the world of social media. This is neither healthy nor productive. Find an outlet away from any electronic device!
During the most stressful part of my life, this was an area that I neglected for quite some time.
However, when I started actively pursuing a hobby, it gave me something to look forward to – an outlet for my anxiety and frustration.
What do you enjoy? Writing, animals, reading, painting, sightseeing, games, cooking, dancing, biking, gardening, photography, etc.
If you cannot think of anything, try something new! I purchased an adult coloring book and would color and listen to relaxing music during some of my lunch breaks. I never thought I would find this relaxing, but I did!
Learning a new skill will help you focus your mind on something other than your anxiety. It will also boost your confidence, as you learn to master a new life skill.
In my life, when I am alone and frustrated, I have found a powerful outlet in prayer.
As a Christian, my relationship with God is very important to me and I have found Him to be an incredible source of strength and comfort in moments when I feel overwhelmed and alone.
Although I have found other amazing “artistic” outlets, prayer remains the most powerful outlet to me. Whenever I feel overwhelmed (whether it is in the car, at the grocery store, working, or at home alone), I just start talking to God and telling Him how I feel.
Related Article: 9 Serious Signs You Have No Work-Life Balance
11.) Drink Water and Take Your Health Supplements
Start chugging some H2O! This was the 1st healthy habit that I created in my life! Now I can’t go anywhere without a bottle of water. Staying properly hydrated is an incredibly important part of your metal and physical well-being.
Did you know that you should be drinking an 8-oz glass of water at least eight times a day (2 liters)? Water helps to boost your metabolism (lose weight) and cleanses your body of unwanted toxins.
Supplements have also played an important role in my journey with anxiety.
When I am stressed, the first thing to go is my health. My immune system lowers and I start to get digestion problems, flus, and colds. Implementing health supplements into my daily regimen has changed my health drastically.
Read about the supplements that I like to take here.
12.) Learn To Breath
In my journey with anxiety, this has been the most difficult part to master!
The first sign that anxiety is creeping into my life is my breathing – my throat closes off and my breaths become labored and difficult.
It can take weeks for me to get back to breathing normally!
Many mental health professionals say to focus on deeply breathing in and out. Personally, I try to NOT focus on my breathing. For a long time, I made it an unhealthy focus. Every waking moment, I was thinking of my breathing because I was worried that I would have another panic attack. I had to learn to not focus on it and instead focus on just living life in a healthy and happy way!
If you have constant trouble breathing, go to a professional and seek help! If your anxiety disorder is controlling your life, you absolutely must see a professional. No amount of online articles can cure an acute anxiety disorder.
Related Article: 9 Warning Signs That You Are Emotionally and Mentally Exhausted
Learning to live with anxiety can be a difficult process. But it is very possible to live a healthy and full life! Have you read Carson Daly’s story about living with his anxiety disorder? (Read it here) His story is inspirational and his message is powerful! Not enough people talk about this problem and yet it is one of the most common problems in today’s society.
If you have any questions about this article, just let us know in the comment section below! We’d be happy to help you out!