5 Ways to Effectively Manage Anxiety

December 9, 2019

If you suffer from anxiety, you know how awful it can feel. Your heart races, you start to sweat, and you feel like you just want to run. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the United States affecting roughly 40 million […]

5 Ways to Effectively Manage Anxiety

If you suffer from anxiety, you know how awful it can feel. Your heart races, you start to sweat, and you feel like you just want to run. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness in the United States affecting roughly 40 million adults. While anxiety can feel debilitating, there are ways you can manage it.

Slow Your Breathing

When we feel anxious, we go into a “fight or flight” response where our breathing becomes quicker and shallower. However, this way of breathing, in turn, makes us feel even more anxious and it becomes a vicious cycle.

To help, when you feel the anxiety start, focus on your breath and begin to slow it down. Breathe in slowly and deeply for a count of 5, hold for a count of 5, then exhale slowly for a count of 5. Repeat this cycle three to five times until you feel yourself begin to calm. If a 5 count is too long, do what you can and think of slowing and deepening with each breath.

Limit Caffeine

Many of us depend on caffeine to get us going, but drinking or eating anything with caffeine in it can exacerbate your anxiety. Studies have even shown that caffeine can even trigger an anxiety attack, so try and avoid or greatly limit consumption. That includes coffee, tea, energy drinks, and yes even chocolate!

Exercise

Studies have shown that just 20 minutes of exercise can reduce symptoms of anxiety. Not only does exercising make you feel good about yourself, it actually floods your body with feel-good endorphins, which can totally turn your mood around. Try to get into a regular exercise program to reduce anxiety and use it to help get rid of the anxiety jitters when they hit.

Make a List

One of the worst parts of feeling anxiety is the feeling that you are out of control. One simple exercise to turn this around is to make a to-do list of small, easy-to-manage tasks. Crossing these tasks off your list will actually empower you and make you feel in control again. You can also use a to-do list to help you organize longer-term projects and feel in control as you check off steps towards getting them done.

Remind Yourself of Reality

When the plane of a nervous flyer hits turbulence, that nervous flyer must remind themselves that the plane is okay, and it is just a normal occurrence to hit turbulence. People who experience anxiety may also have to remind themselves that they are actually okay when an anxiety attack comes on. Tell yourself that you are experiencing anxiety but that you are safe, you are not going to die.

It can also be very beneficial to talk to someone about your anxiety issues. A therapist will be able to offer more tools and advice on how to cope and manage your anxiety.

If you or someone you love suffers from anxiety and would like to explore treatment options, please contact me to schedule a consultation session either in my office or by secure video.

How to Talk to a Loved One About Getting Treatment for Their Mental Health

November 18, 2019

Just about every family has a “black sheep”; someone who just doesn’t quite fit in. They might be always causing trouble or maybe more of a free spirit. In some cases, the “black sheep” of the family is someone with an untreated mental health issue. If you have a loved one who you believe may […]

How to Talk to a Loved One About Getting Treatment for Their Mental Health

Just about every family has a “black sheep”; someone who just doesn’t quite fit in. They might be always causing trouble or maybe more of a free spirit. In some cases, the “black sheep” of the family is someone with an untreated mental health issue. If you have a loved one who you believe may need mental health treatment, there are things you can do to try and encourage them to seek help.

Family and Friends are First Responders

You should see yourself as a type of “first responder” or first line of support for your loved one. Teachers, employers and even medical professionals that interact with your loved one aren’t as likely to see the need mental health treatment as a close friend or family member who sees them more frequently. You are in the best position to see the need and advocate for them to get help.

The Importance of Early Intervention

Early intervention is key to improving your loved one’s quality of life as quickly and easily as possible. The longer a mental illness goes untreated, the more entrenched the patterns become and the more hopeless your loved one may feel that change is possible. Intervening as early as possible will change the course of your loved one’s life, putting them on a positive trajectory.

Talking to Your Loved One

Prepare your loved one for this conversation by letting them know that you are concerned and want to talk. Let them know you are motivated by love and that it is very important. Make sure they know you are not upset with them and it’s nothing negative or scary. Set a date and time to talk and choose a neutral location where they will be most comfortable.

Keep the conversation in the context of your relationship. Make sure they know that you love them and are concerned, not rejecting or judging them. Tell them what specific concerns you have about their behavior and how it makes you feel. Instead of vague statements like “you need help”, or “you’re acting strange” give specific examples, like “it frightened me when you were yelling the other day,” or “I’m concerned because you missed work four times in the last two weeks.” Leave diagnoses to the professionals, just tell them what you are seeing and how it is concerning you.

The Goal of the Talk

Your goal in talking to your loved one is to express your concerns and to ideally get them to agree to a one-time evaluation. Offer to support them in any way that would be helpful and appropriate, like making the appointment, paying for it, and/or driving them.

Talking to someone you love about seeking mental health treatment may feel difficult and awkward, but it is important. Be prepared for them to have an angry or defensive response, and if they do, try to maintain your composure and stick to the theme of your love and concern. It may take multiple attempts to get your loved one to seek help. Don’t be nagging or harassing, but do be lovingly persistent.

How to Practice Self-Compassion

November 4, 2019

Most of us from a young age are taught to be kind, considerate, and compassionate toward others. However, our education rarely includes the lessons to show the same consideration to ourselves. This is even more of a deficit for individuals brought up in abusive or unloving homes. What is Self-Compassion? Self-compassion is taken from Buddhist […]

How to Practice Self-Compassion

Most of us from a young age are taught to be kind, considerate, and compassionate toward others. However, our education rarely includes the lessons to show the same consideration to ourselves. This is even more of a deficit for individuals brought up in abusive or unloving homes.

What is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion is taken from Buddhist psychology and refers to how we can relate to ourselves with kindness and love in times of suffering. Self-compassion or self-love is NOT to be confused with arrogance or selfishness. Actually, arrogance and selfishness stem from the absence of self-love.

What does it really mean to be kind to ourselves? It means that we are mindful of being courteous, supportive, and compassionate with ourselves on a daily basis. Too many people treat themselves with harsh judgment instead of compassion.

Why is this important? Self-compassion means that we always feel like we have a friend with us. It helps us recognize our unconditional worth and value. It allows us to recognize though we may sometimes make bad decisions, we’re not bad people.

Research, over the past decade, has shown the parallel between self-care and psychological wellbeing. Those who practice self-compassion tend to have better connections with others and have higher life satisfaction overall. Self-compassion also correlates with less shame, anxiety, and depression.

Now that you know the what and why of self-compassion, let’s look at the how.

How to Practice Self-Compassion

Treat Yourself as You Would a Small Child

Most of us would never harshly judge or belittle a small child the way we do ourselves. You would only want to help and love that child. When you begin to treat yourself as you would a small child, you begin to show yourself the same love, gentleness, and kindness.

Practice Mindfulness

Every minute your mind is handling millions of bits of information, though you consciously are only aware of a few of them. This is to say we all have patterns of attending to specific information that we have developed to simplify our data processing.  These scripts or programs are running in our minds 24/7 to make us efficient and productive.

Many of these scripts are fear-based. They were developed early on to try to keep us out of trouble. However, some of these scripts, like the ones that tell us how “bad” or “unlovable” we are, are not really helping. The way to quiet these scripts is to become more aware of your own mind.

When you begin to have a feeling or reaction to something, stop and ask yourself what is this feeling or thought trying to tell me or warn me about? Is this a helpful response in this moment or an old program being triggered? If it’s a program, thank the program for trying to help, let it know that you have new skills with which to face this problem, and release it.

Good Will vs Good Feelings

Self-compassion is a conscious act of kindness we show ourselves when we are suffering; it’s not a way to alleviate emotional pain. Life happens, and we can’t always avoid negative or sad feelings. Never mistake self-compassion as a tool to ignore your deep and rich emotional life. Self-compassion provides comfort when you are hurting. Like rocking a colicky baby, self-compassion doesn’t make the pain go away, but it feels better to feel loved and held while we are hurting.

These are just a few ways you can begin to cultivate self-compassion. If you feel that you could use more support and tools, reach out to me today to schedule a free therapy consultation.

4 Ways to Deal with Social Anxiety at Work

October 21, 2019

Fifteen million Americans, or 6.8% of the US population, suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. SAD, also called social phobia, is an intense fear of being humiliated and embarrassed in social situations. People with this fear tend to focus on every little mistake they make (or could […]

4 Ways to Deal with Social Anxiety at Work

Fifteen million Americans, or 6.8% of the US population, suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. SAD, also called social phobia, is an intense fear of being humiliated and embarrassed in social situations. People with this fear tend to focus on every little mistake they make (or could possibly make) and assume that everyone else is judging them.

The most common social phobia is giving a public speech or presentation. Did you know that the number one fear of people all around the world is public speaking and death is the second? That’s right, more people are scared to get up in front of others and speak than they are to die!

Shyness VS SAD

People often confuse shyness with social anxiety disorder. However, the two are very different. While a shy person may be a bit uneasy around others, they will not experience the same intense anxiety as someone with an actual social phobia. Shy people might be uncomfortable, but they don’t go to the extreme avoidance of social situations while those with SAD will often do anything to avoid being in a social gathering.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder

  • Extreme and persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations where a person is exposed to scrutiny or to unfamiliar people.
  • Panic attacks can occur from even the thought of the social situation.
  • The person recognizes the fear as excessive or irrational, but still cannot control their feelings.
  • The social situation is avoided if at all possible, even to their own detriment.
  • The irrational fears affect the person’s everyday life and interfere with career and personal relationship growth.

Dealing with Social Anxiety Disorder at Work

If your social anxiety is interfering with your career goals, here are four ways you can manage it better:

1. Meditate

Meditation has been scientifically proven to help people calm. By practicing being still and focusing on your breath for just 10 minutes each day, you can develop the ability to settle yourself in the face of anxiety and stress. If you have difficulty meditating on your own, try a guided meditation to support you.

2. Focus on Performance, Not Feelings

People suffering from SAD tend to focus solely on how they feel during a social situation, not what is actually happening. When you focus on what is actually occurring, you will start to forget about your nerves.

As an example, during your next board meeting, don’t focus on whether or not you are blushing or sweating, you can’t control that anyway. Just focus on making good eye contact with everyone in the room. Look for signs that people are engaged – are they looking back, smiling, appearing interested? Focus on connecting with the people who give positive signs and you will leave feeling successful.

3. Try and Be Realistic

It’s important to be realistic in the face of your anxiety. For instance, if you’ve given speeches in the past and have done well, then it is unrealistic to tell yourself that you are “going to bomb.” Instead tell yourself, “I have done well in the past, I am very prepared and I will do a good job.” Remind yourself that it is normal to feel a little anxious before you start, focus on your breathing, and know that you will be fine once you get going.

4. Work with a Therapist

If social anxiety has stopped you from progressing in your work life by getting promotions or building relationships, then it’s time to get some help from a professional therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders. He or she can give you coping strategies that will help you move forward in life.

If you or someone you know is suffering from SAD and would like to explore treatment options, please contact me to schedule a free consultation session at my office or online via secure video. I’d be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help life feel more comfortable and support you in moving forward with your career.

5 Subtle Exercises to Calm Anxiety in Public

October 7, 2019

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults over the age of 18 suffer from an anxiety disorder. If you are one of them, you know how difficult your life can feel most days. When anxiety strikes, the world around us can become distorted like a funhouse, only not fun at […]

5 Subtle Exercises to Calm Anxiety in Public

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults over the age of 18 suffer from an anxiety disorder. If you are one of them, you know how difficult your life can feel most days.

When anxiety strikes, the world around us can become distorted like a funhouse, only not fun at all. It’s important to be able to self-soothe when this happens, but how can you calm an anxiety attack subtly when you’re out in public?

Breath Work

As soon as you feel the first sign that your anxiety is ramping up, focus intently on your breathing and nothing else. Begin to take slow… deep breaths. Inhale for a slow count of five… hold for a count of five… and exhale for a count of five. If you can’t do a five-count at the start, just think of each breath being a little slower and a little deeper than the one before. Slow deep breaths send a signal to our body that we are not under attack and everything is okay.

Talk to Yourself

In your mind, remind yourself that you are having an experience, but that you are NOT that experience. Check around and assess how likely it is that you are in real danger. While you feel that something is wrong, remind yourself that you are actually safe and all is well.

Visualize

Think of a safe space where you feel calm. This maybe your childhood bedroom or your grandparent’s home. It could be your favorite beach or your own bathtub. Put yourself mentally in that space by focusing on the sensory experiences of being there. Use your full imagination to feel yourself there and allow the calm to settle over you.

Carry Lavender Oil or a Calming Scent

Keep a small vial of lavender oil in your purse or pocket and inhale its scent. You can even rub some between your fingers and then rub on your temples to calm down. If lavender isn’t your thing, try to find a scent that is calming for you. We often strongly associate scents with emotions which can make them powerful supports.

Practice Listening Meditation

If you’ve never tried a Listening Meditation, I highly recommend it for everyone. It can be especially beneficial when you are feeling anxious because listening requires you to stop thinking. Try it now. Stop reading and instead listen to all of the ambient sounds that are in the room with you and outside.

What do you hear?

Let your sense of hearing grow and grow, picking up more subtle sounds. The buzz of the lights overhead… the noise of the ice maker… a bee at the window… your dog’s collar down the hall…

It’s actually a very fun exercise to do. And in order to REALLY GIVE SOUND YOUR FULL ATTENTION, you can’t think while listening. It’s a bit like trying to juggle while standing on your hands, it simply cannot be done.

Much of our anxiety comes from our anxious thoughts. It’s our reptilian brain trying to keep us alive by alerting us to all of the dangers around us. When we meditate, this mind chatter goes away. However, like everything it takes practice. So, if your mind starts worrying again, just gently remind it now it the time for listening and refocus on the sounds.

When an anxiety attack comes on, life can feel unbearable. The next time this happens to you in public, try one or more of these techniques.

If are interested in psychological treatment for your anxiety, please contact me to schedule a free consultation and learn how therapy can help.

5 Free Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

September 23, 2019

When we talk about our mental health, we’re not just talking about dysfunction or a clinical diagnosis. Your mental health refers to your overall psychological wellbeing. We can all benefit from caring for our mental health, just like our physical health. Life is full of unique challenges and stresses, and a healthy mental state can help […]

5 Free Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

When we talk about our mental health, we’re not just talking about dysfunction or a clinical diagnosis. Your mental health refers to your overall psychological wellbeing. We can all benefit from caring for our mental health, just like our physical health. Life is full of unique challenges and stresses, and a healthy mental state can help you take challenges in stride and reduce your suffering.

1. Positive Affirmations

Repeating an affirmation can help you focus on the positive and create a mental outlook that will be a driving force in your life. Use a search engine to look up “positive affirmations” and you’ll find several ideas of words and phrases. Look for one that resonates with you and things you struggle with. You can also try searching for something more specific, such as “positive affirmations for women” or “positive affirmations to improve self-esteem”.

Try repeating your phrase or phrases during meditation, either out loud or in your mind. You can also repeat your phrase to yourself throughout your day for a gentle perspective shift and internal mental health support. This practice can help you shift out of a pattern of negative self-talk and negative focus, which will greatly improve your overall mental health.

2. Gratitude

Practicing gratitude will also shift your attention to the positive aspects of your life. By focusing on what’s good, you’ll start to notice and appreciate more positive aspects of your life. Gratitude is more than just a feeling; it’s a choice to prioritize and value the good in your life. By choosing to be grateful, you also reduce the focus on negative thoughts.

3. Eat Healthy

Eating healthy is a vital part of positive mental and physical health. Eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains will help you maintain stable blood sugar. This creates a consistent level of energy that won’t leave you feeling tired or sluggish or give you the temporary “sugar high” and crash.  Eating healthy supports a stable mood and will also provide a mental boost because you’ll feel good about your healthy food choices.

4. Sunshine

Sunshine is a great way to boost your mood. Put on some comfortable walking shoes and take a leisurely walk around your neighborhood or a local park or even sit outside for a few minutes on your lunch break. Exposure to sunlight will help your brain release serotonin which will boost your mood, and help you feel more calm and focused.

5. Get Some Sleep

A good night’s sleep is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. When you’re well-rested, you’re naturally energized and have a stable base from which to maneuver the day’s ups and downs. Regular sleep also boosts your immune system as well as your cognitive and mental health.

By making some healthy additions to your daily routines, you can develop regular habits that will improve your overall mental well-being.

If you need some help getting into a good self-care routine or dealing with anxiety or depression, therapy can help. Contact me today to set up a consultation session in my office or by secure video to discuss getting started.

4 Ways to Reduce Anxiety on Your Coffee Break

September 3, 2019

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 […]

4 Ways to Reduce Anxiety on Your Coffee Break

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:

Breathe Deeply

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.

How to Talk to an Angry Teenager

August 19, 2019

It’s well known that the teen years can be a trying time for parenting. It may feel like their rebellion is a personal attack and that they are determined to make your home life miserable, but in reality, this is a natural process. Your teenager is maturing both physically and emotionally, and while they may […]

How to Talk to an Angry Teenager

It’s well known that the teen years can be a trying time for parenting. It may feel like their rebellion is a personal attack and that they are determined to make your home life miserable, but in reality, this is a natural process. Your teenager is maturing both physically and emotionally, and while they may look like an adult by this stage, their brain is still developing. When their frontal cortex develops in a few years, their brain development will finally match their bodies and you may feel like you are dealing with a different person. Until that time, here are some tips for talking to your angry teen.

Change Your Parenting Style

If you have an authoritarian parenting style, “My way or the highway,” you’ll benefit from switching styles. An authoritarian method of parenting will cause you to butt heads with your teen, resulting in increased anger and chronic fighting. If you can switch your style to an authoritative style, you will get better reactions. An authoritative parent deals with their child in a manner that takes in to account their development stage and circumstances. That means explaining your reasoning, giving consequences that take your child’s feelings and circumstances into consideration, and overall putting the relationship with your child first. Not that your responses will make them happy all of the time, but they should know that you are acting with love and to teach them something important.

Frame the Conversation

When it’s time to have a conversation with your teen, first frame the conversation so they know that while you might be displeased with their choices, you are not rejecting or hating them as a person. If you come at your teen with anger, they are more likely to get defensive or shut down. Since their frontal cortex isn’t finished developing,  they’re unable to fully control their emotions or foresee the consequences of their behavior. This can make teens highly reactive and appear irrationally angry. To avoid this, let them know that you are irritated, disappointed, or upset with their choices or behaviors, but that you’re not angry with them as a person.

Listen

Overall, it’s important to keep lines of communication open with your teen. You can turn anger into dialogue by simply making an effort to listen to and understand your teen. Use reflection to ensure that you heard them and understand their feelings. “What I heard you saying is…” Trying to give advice or enforce rules can break communication down when you need it to stay open.

Your teen is trying to figure out their identity as they go through many hormonal, growth and development changes that are out of their control. Try to understand that their anger is about asserting themselves or trying to separate themselves as an individual. This is a difficult time, and your teen needs empathy. Stay your child’s safe and secure base, so you can help them through it.

If you’re a parent having a difficult time with a teenager, a Psychologist or therapist can be a great resource for parenting support or to help your teen through this challenging time. Contact me today if you would like to set up a free consultation.

3 Ways to Kindly Say “No” to Invites for Introverts

August 5, 2019

Life can easily feel overwhelming when you’re an introvert. Social interactions that feel simple for many people, can make you feel anxious and uncomfortable. Even the idea of taking part in certain social events can be exhausting and emotionally draining. While some social functions cannot be missed, such as business meetings, there are social gatherings […]

3 Ways to Kindly Say “No” to Invites for Introverts

Life can easily feel overwhelming when you’re an introvert. Social interactions that feel simple for many people, can make you feel anxious and uncomfortable. Even the idea of taking part in certain social events can be exhausting and emotionally draining.

While some social functions cannot be missed, such as business meetings, there are social gatherings that it is totally okay for you to say no. However, it may feel almost as uncomfortable to you to reject the invitation as to attend the party or event.  It is important to know when to put your own needs ahead of others and have a plan to assert yourself.

If you are an introvert that generally has a hard time saying no to invitations, here are some ways you can do it kindly:

Be Honest-ish

We tend to feel a lot of pressure to give myriad details on why we can’t accept an invite to an event. If we don’t have a “good enough” excuse, some of us will blatantly lie. This leads to more problems, as the lie compromises our integrity and makes us feel worse.

There is no need to lie and no need to give more details than necessary. You can simply say, “Thanks so much but I already have plans.” This is true because we all have plans all of the time. You may plan on doing the laundry that night or watching Game of Thrones while eating pistachio ice cream (which is a great plan, BTW). There is no need for others to validate your plans, you have a right to choose.

Be Gracious

Before saying “no,” be gracious and thank the person very much for inviting you in the first place. It will make the other person feel good that they made you feel good by thinking of you. You can always appreciate the intention of kindness while saying no to the activity. You might even counter with a proposal that feels more comfortable to you, “thank you for the invitation to your birthday party, I appreciate you thinking of me. I can’t make the party, but I would love to take you out for lunch to celebrate.”

Practice What to Say

It’s easy to say no in a text or email, but sometimes in person saying no can feel incredibly awkward. The best thing to do is just practice saying, “Thank you so much for asking, but I already have plans that day/evening.” Even better find your own words to summarize appreciating the offer and declining, so that it comes out naturally and so that you feel at ease saying it.

One caveat to this is to make sure that you really want to say no and it doesn’t become your default. Before saying no to an invitation weigh the pros and cons. Saying no is safer, but you might miss out on some great opportunities. Consider how much you have planned for that week, and the balance of alone time and social activities. Being introverted can get pretty lonely at times if you always choose the comfortable option. Saying yes once in a while may not be as bad as you think. You can always choose the less overwhelming opportunities and say no the huge, loud party. You never know the kind of fun you could have or new friends you could make.

If you are an introvert who is feeling isolated and lonely, but finds that you are too anxious to be social, therapy can help. Contact me today for a free consultation session!

5 Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep with Anxiety

July 22, 2019

Anxiety is one of the country’s most common mental health disorders affecting nearly 40 million adults in the United States. Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, are common with anxiety disorders. Anxiety and trouble falling asleep can create a feedback loop with each making the other worse. Here are five ways to help break the cycle […]

5 Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep with Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the country’s most common mental health disorders affecting nearly 40 million adults in the United States. Sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, are common with anxiety disorders. Anxiety and trouble falling asleep can create a feedback loop with each making the other worse.

Here are five ways to help break the cycle and to get a better night’s sleep:

1. Exercise

We all know that physical activity is an important component for overall health. It also really helps for mental health and sleep. Exercise will produce chemicals in your brain that will help elevate your mood and decrease your stress or tension, which can help relieve some of your anxiety. It will also improve the quality of your sleep by helping you get to sleep and reducing nighttime wakings. Just make sure not to exercise within 3 hours of going to bed to give yourself time to settle down and cool off.

2. Daylight

Daylight helps set sleep patterns, so try to spend at least 30 minutes outdoors during the day time. Sun exposure is critical if you have trouble falling asleep, because it helps to regulate the body’s circadian clock. If you can get around a bit of nature while you are outside, it can also help sooth your system and reduce anxiety.

3. Healthy Habits

Studies have shown that people who make unhealthy food choices are more likely to suffer from sleep disturbances. Support yourself with healthy balanced meals. They will keep your energy stable, help you manage your mood, and improve your sleep habits.

Some things to avoid that adversely impact sleep are: big meals or alcohol within a few hours of bedtime and smoking which can cause many health problems and negatively affect your sleep in a number of ways.

4. Night Time Routine

Create a nightly routine for the hour or two before bedtime. This will help your brain wind down and prepare for sleep. Try to avoid close screen time (phone, iPad, or laptop) in these few hours before bed as the blue light can interfere with your brain’s Melatonin production which is needed to help you fall asleep. Instead, change into your pajamas and do some light reading or watch a calm show on TV. Also, try to keep your bedtime and wakeup time consistent, even on weekends.

5. A Comfortable Bedroom

Keep your bedroom a haven for rest as much as possible. Most people sleep best in a cool, dark, and quiet space. You might like to have a window open or a fan on to keep the room cool and the air smelling fresh. Having a tidy space can minimize distractions and make your bedroom feel calm. A good mattress and pillow can maximize your comfort and help sooth you to sleep.

Are you struggling with anxiety and/or falling or staying asleep? Call me today and schedule a free consultation and discuss how therapy can help.