10 Tips to Ease Anxiety

  • Is Anxiety Your Friend...
    Some anxiety can be good. It can alert you to danger--and give you extra oomph to get out of it. It also can motivate you to get things done, like study hard for an exam or deal with problems at the office. The trouble comes when anxiety makes you feel fearful for no apparent reason, throwing a wrench in your life. You might have chest pains or nightmares, or have a hard time leaving the house. These could be signs of an anxiety disorder, and you should see your primary care doctor. Click through the next slides to learn how to control the dark side of anxiety.



  • Say No to Drugs
    Just say no to drugs--both the illegal stuff and common legal drugs like caffeine, diet pills, and decongestants. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system and can increase anxiety.



  • Chill Out
    Try meditation, relaxation techniques, yoga, or deep breathing. To try muscle relaxation, tighten a muscle for a few seconds. Then relax the muscle. Do this with all the muscles in your body one by one, starting with your feet and moving up to your head. You'll feel like jelly afterward.



  • Stop and Think
    Visualize yourself confronting your fears. If you can imagine yourself handling these situations calmly, you'll be more comfortable doing them--and less anxious when you actually have to deal with your fear.



  • Ask for Help
    Once you've talked with your primary care doctor about anxiety problems, you may be sent to a mental health professional. This person may be a psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker, or psychiatric nurse.



  • Shift Your Emotions
    Psychotherapy is very useful in treating anxiety problems. The most common type is cognitive-behavioral therapy. You'll learn how to change the thoughts that cause your anxiety and the way you react to those situations. This eventually changes your emotions.



  • Find What Works
    Therapy usually takes about 12 weeks, but it depends on the person'some people take a few months; some people take a few months, but others need more than a year. If you feel discouraged, stick with it. Many people need to try different treatments before they find one that works.



  • Get Help with Symptoms
    Prescription medications can help with anxiety disorders. They won't cure the disorder, but they can control symptoms while you go through therapy. Common medications include antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines, and beta-blockers.



  • Enlist Support
    Family matters. Tell them how they can help you. If your family members are blowing off your needs, educate them about what you're going through. The  National Institute of Mental Health has resources you can share with them.



  • Adjust Your Attitude
    Stress can cause anxiety. Like anxiety, temporary stress is OK. But in the long term, stress can cause health problems. To beat stress, adjust your attitude. View situations positively instead of negatively; think "glass half full." Take a break and plan some fun. A healthy diet and physical activity can also help bust stress.



  • Know You're Not Alone
    Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. More than 18 percent of U.S. adults are affected. So don't be afraid to get help. Taking action will help you feel powerful against anxiety.



10 Tips to Ease Anxiety
  1. "Anxiety and Panic: Gaining Control Over How You're Feeling." American Academy of Family Physicians. (http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/mentalhealth/anxiety/013.html);
  2. "Stress: How to Cope Better With Life's Challenges." American Academy of Family Physicians. (http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/mentalhealth/stress/167.html);
  3. "Statistics and Facts About Anxiety Disorders." Anxiety Disorders Association of America. (http://www.adaa.org/AboutADAA/PressRoom/Stats&Facts.asp);
  4. "Guide to Treatment." Anxiety Disorders Association of America. (http://www.adaa.org/gettinghelp/treatment.asp);
  5. "How to Get Help for Anxiety Disorders." National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health. (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/how-to-get-help-for-anxiety-disorders....;
  6. "Treatment of Anxiety Disorders." National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health. (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/treatment-of-anxiety-disorders.shtml);
  7. "Anxiety Disorders." National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health. (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml);
  8. "Anxiety." U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/anxiety.html);
  9. "Stress Management." U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001942.htm);
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Last Review Date: 2019 Jun 5
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