10 Ways to Deal with Anxiety When You’re Stressed

Ever felt as if a faint buzz is emanating from your head? As though an alarm were to sound at any moment? Are your shoulders inching higher than they should be despite your best efforts to relax them? You probably suffer from some anxiety. Psychologists indicate that although occasional anxiety is normal for everyone, some individuals have been experiencing chronic, low-level anxiety owing to the near-constant uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 epidemic. As a result, the phrase “it’s not over until it’s over” has taken on new significance as we enter the third year of this world-changing catastrophe.

Some individuals are suffering a kind of accumulative anxiety. Professor of psychological sciences at Kent State University Angela Neal-Barnett, PhD, says, “We believe we know what’s going on and what we’re doing, but then the virus performs a 180 on us. We’re being expected to be flexible, but we don’t know the rules. People are just worn out.”

The current state of our news feeds, which are frequently filled with horrors from the war in Ukraine, excessive gun violence in our children’s schools, and growing momentum to overturn Roe v. Wade, which would restrict abortion access for the majority of the country, to name a few stressors, certainly doesn’t help.

“Anxiety and concern are essential human survival functions. Michi Fu, PhD, a Los Angeles–based psychologist who specializes in dealing with Asian American women, children, and families, tells us, “But if we’re in a continual state of high alert, it’s overwhelming, and it inhibits our capacity to use the inner resources we have—and need—to cope with anxiety.”

If this seems like something you’ve been experiencing, it’s vital to realize that you are not alone, and there are helpful coping solutions available right now. Following are some strategies for coping with anxiety when you feel overwhelmed.

Find serenity in your mornings, If possible

Your mornings may be somewhat productive. “If the first thing you do is look through your email or read negative news articles, that is not a productive way to start the day, and it may cause anxiety,” says Dr. Neal-Barnett. Because stress, such as the consumption of negative information, may cause your body to produce chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can trigger physical symptoms such as sweat and a beating heart.

Attempt to prioritize your tranquility upon awakening. This may seem straightforward, but it needs purpose and focus. Dr. Neal-Neal-Neal-Neal-Neal-Neal-Neal-Neal Neal-Neal Neal-Neal Neal-Neal Neal-Neal Neal-Ne “It might be meditation, prayer, singing, or even some type of play.”

Stop immediately – literally.

Psychologist Kimberly Applewhite, PsyD of the Utah Center for Evidence-Based Treatment in Salt Lake City, recommends pausing and engaging in this skill-based therapeutic method for lowering anxiety. The STOP acronym stands for Stop or halt; Take a step back; Assess your emotions; Proceed with caution. “The objective is to completely stop what you’re doing and then attempt to release as much ‘crisis energy’ as possible,” explains Dr. Applewhite. It takes a minute or two, but it’s especially effective when you’re stressed. Here is how to attempt it:

  • First, if you are able, stop what you are doing when you feel nervous, whether it is pacing the room or letting your thoughts run. According to Dr. Applewhite, this may be tough at first, but it grows more accessible with practice.
  • Then retrace your steps. This is analogous to stopping and taking a deep breath (or many) if you have difficulty calming yourself.
  • As a technique to check in with yourself, observe your feelings and give them a label, such as frustration, rage, pain, or sadness.
  • Proceed with caution. Identifying a mindfulness practice that helps to calm you is the first step. This might include attempting a grounding method, repeating a mantra, or participating in a calming activity, such as yoga or strolling

Employ self-compassion.

Dr. Fu understands that this might be more difficult than it seems, particularly for those who identify as women. Women tend to be self-critical, for example, about their talents, bodies, job performance, and parenthood.

Dr. Fu continues, “We’re constantly there to put a Band-Aid on someone else, but we’re not necessarily as sympathetic with ourselves.” Some individuals experience anxiety because they believe there is always something they should be doing. It is essential to acknowledge that you are currently doing enough.”

Dr. Neal-Barnett concurs with this opinion. She urges her patients, as well as everyone else, to practice self-grace to relax. If you need a reminder to practice, Dr. Fu suggests posting two post-it notes nearby, such as on your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or desk. Make one that says “I’m attempting” and another that reads “I attempted” to serve as reminders when you need them most.

be positively selfish at least once a day .

Angela Londoo-McConnell, PhD, a therapist located in Georgia, recommends anxious individuals schedule at least one daily activity for their benefit. “Identify something that nourishes you, offers comfort or gives you a feeling of serenity or happiness,” says Dr. Londoo-McConnell, an expert on intercultural problems who often appears on CNN en Espaol. “We all need self-soothing, particularly during the epidemic, so choose something that calms you and make it a regular practice.”

Consider this modest exercise as a means to reset the system. “It may be as easy as listening to a favorite song, smiling, having a warm shower, or hearing the birds sing. Or maybe simply walking outside and spending a few minutes in nature,” she suggests. This is a highly effective everyday exercise for lowering anxiety.

Move and sense your body.

According to Dr. Fu, one technique to reduce anxiety is shifting your body or adjusting yourself physically. This might be as simple as getting up from your chair and walking around the room or as strenuous as working out at the gym or going on a jog. “It’s all about movement, any physical activity,” adds Dr. Fu, since it helps to quiet the mind. However, avoid solid physical activity within a few hours before bedtime since this might make it difficult to fall asleep.

Dr. Londoo-McConnell also advocates relaxing your body wherever you are, followed by a focused minute. She says, “The aim is to concentrate on the present moment for one minute.”

Start by concentrating on one body region or muscle group at a time, such as your neck, jaw and face, shoulders, respiratory functions, abdomen, and hips. Then, consciously release any physical tension felt in each region individually. For example, simply lowering your shoulders or relaxing your jaw may start the process of relaxation. (These calming techniques are also a good starting point.)

Accept your inner child.

According to the experts, we consulted, one of the most significant advantages of play, especially physical play, may help you escape your worried thoughts. For some, a Words With Friends game in the evening may be precisely the thing. For others, it may be ritualizing a family activity, such as cooking dinner together, running around the neighborhood, or finding time a few evenings a week for a short, lively card game.

Since the outbreak began, Dr. Applewhite and her children have been organizing a five-minute dance party in the kitchen before supper. “It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s a terrific way to improve our mental health by doing something together. “We must realize that we are all under a huge amount of stress, even our children, and search for ways to alleviate it,” she adds.

Dr. Fu concurs that a youthful attitude to play is beneficial. Find inspiration in activities you loved as a child, such as playing in the rain or snow, drawing pictures (no creative skill necessary! ), or simply wandering barefoot across the grass.

Communicate with those you care about.

In these isolating times, meaningful connections with people have proven difficult. Some individuals have found social Zoom events unrelated to work to be beneficial. According to Dr. Fu, others have profited by engaging in online interest group events, albeit in a “marginal” manner. Even the most introverted individual needs validation. This implies that most of us need others to recognize our experiences, ideas, and, ideally, our values and beliefs.

Dr. Applewhite suggests spending some time connecting or reconnecting with individuals who are essential to you or who have had a good influence on you if you are experiencing intense anxiety. “This is one of the few positives I’ve seen throughout the pandemic: individuals renewing old connections,” she adds, adding that it may be reassuring to reminisce with those who know you and your history.

This may be calling a college acquaintance you don’t see much to catch up with or to schedule dinner with a former coworker who thoroughly knows the (positive and negative) aspects of your career.

Consider reevaluating your connection with social media.

This should go without saying, but you are doing yourself no favors by using doomscrolling. “In my experience, individuals tend to underestimate the amount of time they spend on social media or any other kind of media. As a result, they may not recognize how excessive exposure adds to their anxiety,” explains Dr. Applewhite.

Try to keep track of how much time you spend on social media (or other forms of media, like binge-watching TV). For example, spend excessive time reading through awful news after a horrific headline (which may seem different for each individual). It may be time to set a daily time restriction.

But studies are discovering that it’s not simply the quantity of time spent on social media that might affect your mental health; it’s also how you interact with your social media feeds. And restricting social media may be tricky, particularly if you’re trying to keep informed. So try these methods if you dislike social media but don’t want to leave. Consult this guide to obtaining therapy assistance if you suspect that social media contributes to your anxiety, depression, or other mental health difficulties.

Give sleep priority wherever feasible.

According to Dr. Fu, sleep deprivation may cause or exacerbate anxiety; therefore, it is vital to get enough shut-eye. But, she continues, “That means getting as much sleep as you need and no one else’s.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the majority of individuals need a minimum of seven hours of sleep to refuel and perform effectively physically and intellectually. (Start with these expert-recommended methods for falling asleep quicker when you’re worried and nervous.)

If you’re low on sleep and can fit in a 20-minute nap (a luxury for many, of course), Dr. Fu recommends closing your eyes and laying down for 20 minutes. Then, even if you do not go into a deep sleep, you will quickly refresh and calm your mind.

Inhale deeply, all the way to your center.

According to Dr. Fu, taking time to breathe deeply numerous times during the day is a simple but effective technique to lessen anxiety. “The goal is to provide oxygen to various body regions,” she adds. As a result, you have power over your breathing, and breathing deliberately may help soothe your stress reaction.

No one deserves to suffer from intense or long-lasting anxiety. If you are worried about how your anxiety impacts your daily life, contact your primary care physician, who may, if necessary, recommend you to a certified therapist. Check out our article on how to locate a cheap therapist for further valuable resources.

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