According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect roughly 40 million people over the age of 18 in the United States. Although these disorders are highly treatable, only 36.9% of those with anxiety seek treatment. There are many reasons why people with anxiety suffer without seeking help, however, you don’t need to let anything stop you from starting to help yourself.
Here are some proven strategies that don’t cost a penny and take very little time. In fact, you could do any of the following strategies on your lunch or coffee break. Here are some simple ways to reduce your anxiety:
According to a study published by the Journal of Emergency Medicine, 30% of people who go to the ER with complaints of chest pain are actually suffering from a panic attack. Why is this so common?
When we are stressed or anxious, we tend to over-breathe or under-breathe which can cause dizziness and hyperventilation. Deep breathing is a powerful way to gain control over your breath and stop a panic attack. Studies show taking slow, deep breaths soothes our nervous system and increases brain activity. This makes you feel calmer and more relaxed. Try it for yourself.
Try Listening Meditation
One way to get your mind to settle down is to meditate and one of the easiest ways to meditate is to practice listening meditation. This is exactly what it sounds like. Sit quietly, eyes closed, and begin to listen to the ambient sounds in the room. Try to keep an attitude curiosity and try to avoid judging what you hear. What do you hear? Buzzing lights? A fan? Someone cough? Birds outside? A lawnmower? Just be aware of all the sounds and try and expand that awareness to hear as much as possible. This form of meditation is fun and effective, because you cannot possibly listen, truly listen, and think at the same time.
Take a Walk
Nervous energy needs to go somewhere – it has to be burned. Taking a 15- minute walk around the block can be a great way to get rid of this energy while breathing deeply. As a bonus, your body releases feel-good chemicals like endorphins when you exercise. If you walk outside, you can get an extra boost by noticing nature elements which are also calming.
Don’t Drink Coffee
Yes, I am asking you on your coffee break to not drink coffee or soda. Caffeine and sugar can exacerbate anxiety by making us feel jittery and nervous. You are far better off sticking with water and a healthy snack.
I hope you will give these anxiety-busting strategies a try. If you feel they are not helping as much as you need and you would like to speak with someone, please contact my office to schedule a consultation.