Many people struggle with managing anxiety at home or at work – it’s more common than you might think. But the good news is, there are simple and natural ways to help manage your anxiety. Mindfulness, relaxation, and different ways of thinking are just some of the ways to do this – and in this blog we’ll talk more about how you can manage your anxiety in the long-term without medication.
Anxiety and stress can be hard to predict – after all, life itself is unpredictable. Job losses, breakups, uncertain circumstances, world events, and so much more can bring strong feelings of anxiety or other negative emotions. Reacting to these situations isn’t necessarily bad, though, because that’s part of being human. Here are some of the most common signs that you need to manage your anxiety.
Common Signs of Anxiety
- Your life feels hard to manage.
Your sleeping habits, eating patterns, and relationships are suffering. You find it hard to focus or tiring to do basic tasks. Even your hobbies don’t feel as satisfying as they used to. This general uneasiness is one of the most common signs of an anxiety disorder.
- You avoid activities.
The thought of having to be “on” for other people feels crippling. There may even be a constant sense of dread. Rather than risk the feelings of panic or distress, you might simply opt to skip appointments, dinners, or nights out with friends.
- It’s hard to get motivated.
Anxiety often makes us scared of starting activities, especially if they’re something that we know will take effort to do. It causes us to avoid those activities so that we don’t eventually disappoint ourselves or others.
- You fall into bad habits.
Anxiety can lead to coping behaviours like alcoholism, drug use, endless exercising, and so on. While most things are good in moderation, doing anything in excess is usually a sign of a deeper and more complex issue.
- You suffer from ongoing sickness or lethargy.
Lack of motivation, proper nutrition, and sleep can compound and lead to poor physical health – combined with physical symptoms like fatigue, increased heart rate, weakness, and nervousness. And this, in turn, only exacerbates the feelings of anxiety, because you don’t feel well in body or in mind.
If any of these are sounding familiar, you’re not alone – about five million Canadians suffer from moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety. But you can take the first steps toward a better life by reaching out to a professional therapist today.
Managing Stress to Reduce Anxiety
A stressful lifestyle can lead to more anxiety as we navigate our daily routines. Between work, family, and personal commitments, it can feel impossible to juggle everything while still keeping up with our mental health.
However, reducing stress in your life doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. Often, it comes down to making a few small changes that add up to a big difference over time. If you can include even a few of the following stress-relieving options in your days going forward, you may find that some of your anxiety symptoms start to fade in frequency or intensity, all on their own.
Tips to Reduce Stress
- Enjoy the presence of a pet.
Research shows that interacting with animals has a range of mental health benefits and reduces stress. If you don’t have one at home, try somewhere like the Regal Cat Café in Kensington.
- Go for a stroll or play some sports at a city park.
Simply being outside and seeing nature can lessen the stress we feel. A short walk after dinner or an early morning stroll can do wonders for a difficult day.
- Try outdoor yoga, indoor rock climbing, or other activities.
Our bodies are happy when they can actively move. Start small if you have to – the thrill of seeing improvement in your skills is good for you, too!
How to Manage Anxiety Naturally
If you’ve always believed that you can’t manage anxiety on your own, you will be pleased to know that you absolutely can. Some people manage anxiety with CBD or diet, others use therapy, and some use these tried-and-true methods to overcome long-term feelings of stress and anxiety at home.
1) Improve your physical health to reduce anxiety
In a society that glamorizes “the hustle”, often at the expense of our health, meeting your body’s needs isn’t always easy. Choose to eat a good diet, get enough sleep and exercise outdoors, and make time for family and friends. For many people, this is the most important foundation of long-term anxiety management techniques – and it is easy to implement and maintain.
2) Reduce anxiety with breathing exercises
It’s cliché, but it works! Consciously slowing your breathing and using progressive muscle relaxation hacks your biological stress response and helps soothe an overactive brain. Practice by finding a quiet spot and breathing in and out for identical counts to 3. To relax, start from your toes and systematically relax each group of muscles, all the way up to your head, feeling it tense and release as you go. Doing this a few times a day can work wonders for anxiety and stress.
3) Can positive thinking affect anxiety?
Just like the placebo effect can heal our bodies, our thoughts can help heal an anxious mind – the “power of positive thinking”. After all, if your dominant thoughts are negative and anxious, the feelings around them will be the same. If you can, try to approach an anxiety situation from a “removed” viewpoint – look at it more fairly and try to evaluate if your worry is warranted. In many situations, you will see that things are not as bad as your brain is making them out to be.
4) Overcoming anxiety directly
If you tend to avoid situations that induce anxiety at work, in relationships, or at home, this often prolongs the anxious feelings because the root of the problem has not been addressed. As we get older, we face uncomfortable situations all the time – and these are necessary to mature and grow.
If you find yourself struggling with these, try to do the opposite of what your anxiety says – confront your fear or your worry, and follow it through to see what happens. Start small, giving yourself an excellent chance of success. As you realize that you can manage anxiety this way, you will become more confident and even better prepared for other situations in the future.
5) Effects of mindfulness and meditation on anxiety
Meditation and mindfulness have been sure-fire anxiety reducers for centuries. Worry and anxiety often come from thinking about what could happen, or did happen, or may happen again…so reframe your thinking back to the present by simply focusing on the present moment. Mindfulness is excellent for this and provides a lifeline for those who need help experiencing life one step at a time.
If, after all of this, you are still finding your long-term anxiety difficult to manage, you may need a more unique approach developed with the help of a therapist. Jordan, one of the counsellors here at our clinic, explains a bit more below.
We have helped many people overcome their anxiety so they can live happier, more satisfying lives and take advantage of new opportunities. Imagine what we can do for you – let’s make it happen together!