3 Proven Methods For Reducing Anxiety (And Where to Get Help)
If you’re one of millions of Americans who suffer from anxiety in the United States — you already know that living with anxiety is no easy task. The emotional and physical effects of living with anxiety and anxiety disorders can easily take a toll and affect the quality of our lives. People who suffer from issues with anxiety and anxiety disorders often have trouble concentrating and may feel overwhelmed by completing everyday tasks. In this article, we talk about three research-based methods for reducing anxiety and where to get help.
General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-5) describes anxiety disorders as involving issues with excessive worry. One of the key components of anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the inability to stop worrying. People who suffer from anxiety are in a constant state of worry or fear about the circumstances surrounding their lives and the lives of the people they care about.
Common anxiety symptoms include:
- Excessive worry
- Inability to stop worrying
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle Tension
- Sleep Disturbance
The DSM-5 goes on to state that the presence of many of these conditions for an extended period of time (usually around 6 months or more) can indicate an anxiety disorder is present. While not everyone suffers from generalized anxiety disorder, a persistent combination of any of the symptoms above can indicate that an issue with developing an anxiety-related disorder may be on the horizon.
For people who deal with high levels of anxiety on a regular basis, there is hope. Taking better care of your overall mental and physical health is the first step in combating the symptoms of anxiety. We’ve recently learned through psychology and medical researchers that mental health and physical health are equally important for an improved quality of life. The following are three proven methods you can start to mitigate the symptoms of anxiety and take back your life.
Method #1: Exercise
Getting your blood pumping may be the fastest (and easiest) way to reduce anxiety. Research has shown that the chemicals and endorphins produced during exercise work wonders for reducing the debilitating effects of anxiety. Next time you feel anxious, take deep breaths while stretching your body. Then, go for a jog, swim, brisk walk (or any activity that gets your blood pumping). Remember to stretch afterward, and to practice deep, consistent breathing while you’re stretching. A good tip is to inhale for four counts (1-2-3-4) through your nose, and then exhale for four counts through your mouth.
Method #2: Meditation
Taking time out for quiet reflection is another good way to reduce anxiety and stress. During meditation, your focus is on your breathing. Meditation temporarily takes the focus off your worries and places your focus on your breathing. Research has shown that engaging in a few minutes of meditation daily can reduce your stress levels, and reduce the effects of related conditions like anxiety.
Method #3: Therapy
Talking out your problems with a licensed therapy provider is another great way to relieve stress and anxiety. Psychotherapy or “talk therapy” is becoming more popular as people begin to realize the value of taking better care of their mental health. Leading therapy providers like BetterHelp and Talkspace even offer options for people to chat with board-certified therapists online. Online therapy platforms allow you to seek the tools you need to reduce anxiety, all from the comfort and privacy of your own home. Research shows that getting therapy helps you to learn how to mitigate the symptoms of anxiety caused by stress, anxiety disorders, and everyday living.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.