Keys to Anxiety Management

When we have uncontrolled anxiety that decenters us, paralyzes us and worries us, we must learn to manage it.

The first thing we must do is to maintain a series of healthy habits, starting by maintaining regularity in them: meal times, sleep, exercise, etc..

With regard to food, it is important to maintain an adequate schedule and follow a healthy and balanced diet where vegetables and fresh foods are the most important; it should be varied and not too heavy, in order to favor the control of many gastric symptoms that appear in anxiety (gas, constipation, stomach discomfort, etc.).

It is also important to do moderate physical exercise to release tension, that we like and help us to enjoy. The activity will provide us with a healthy tiredness that will allow us to have a restful sleep and will help us to control the negative and repetitive thoughts that anxiety entails.

Another important aspect is sleep, because in most cases anxiety involves an associated problem of insomnia. It is at the moment of sleep when worries appear the most. For that reason we must take care of it maintaining a schedule as stable as possible. To get used to use the bed to sleep and not to think. If once we go to bed we see that we do not fall asleep with a greater increase in anxiety and the concern that causes us the anticipation that the next day we will be tired and more nervous, it is better to get up and do some tedious task until we notice that the eyelids fall, at which time we will return to bed.

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With respect to leisure activities that are rewarding for us, it is important to maintain them. Faced with an anxiety problem we feel the need to isolate ourselves, to stay at home, alone, lying down, with the need to do nothing. In the short term we feel a certain release of anxiety, however, in the medium and long term we feel bad about ourselves and increase the feeling and belief that we cannot overcome the situation.

We must avoid those foods that are exciting (coffee, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages) that trigger our nerves. In the same way, we must understand that although in the short term smoking may seem to eliminate anxiety, in reality it favors its appearance.

Activities to control anxiety

In order not to be noticed by others or because we anticipate that we are going to have a bad time, normally when we have anxiety we stop doing activities that are rewarding for us: going out with friends, going to the cinema, reading, listening to music, etc. This is a mistake with consequences in our state of mind and an increase in the belief that we are really very bad and we cannot cope with our situation. All this will lead us to enter a vicious circle increasingly complicated and difficult to break.

We must, therefore, do what at the moment is a great effort and resume those activities that have always been gratifying, that make us feel calm with the firm purpose of enjoying it (going to the cinema, excursions, visiting a museum, exhibition, meeting with friends…) always taking into account our tastes and preferences.

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Throughout the day, it is important to introduce some of these activities that help us to break the routine and disconnect from obligations and worries. For this to be possible we will carry out a good planning of our daily activity, not being demanding with ourselves, setting realistic goals that do not suppose an acceleration of our daily rhythm, without rushing, without having the feeling of not arriving and prioritizing among the different tasks.

Control anxiety with the support of family and friends.

It is very important to help us and support us in our family and friends to be able to express our feelings and talk about what worries us, because doing so will help us to release tension and feel that we have the support of others. We will also get other points of view and other alternative solutions, as well as de-dramatize the situation.

Engaging and enjoying conversations with others or informal gatherings will help us to disregard our negative thoughts, our physical symptoms and help us to feel calmer than the need for isolation that comes with anxiety.

Relaxation exercises to control anxiety

It is highly recommended and necessary to perform daily some relaxation technique that allows us to differentiate this state of relaxation from the state of anxiety.

There are many methods to learn to relax and we must choose the one that helps us the most. It is highly recommended to attend yoga classes where we are taught to perform a deep breathing that allows us to relax in a very short time and combine it with visualization techniques in which we will bring to our mind an image that instills tranquility, either an image of our life, a color, a scene.

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Meditation is also very positive and will help us to reformulate our negative thoughts into more positive ones.

Within the cognitive-behavioral psychological therapy we will learn distraction techniques, detection of automatic thoughts that maintain anxiety, stop negative thoughts and cognitive restructuring to change our basic schemes of thought and generate more adaptive ones that help us to cope well with anxiety.

For more information consult a psychologist.