What’s the most challenging part of living with an anxiety disorder?
Of course, an anxiety attack can be debilitating and interfere with your ability to carry out routine tasks. Also, chronic anxiety can trigger a series of other physical and mental ailments.
But the worst part of having anxiety is likely the abundance of advice and tips you receive from people around you.
The problem with anxiety tips
“Have you tried meditation and deep breathing?”
“You just need to have a positive attitude towards life.”
“Why don’t you just sit back and relax!”
“Get some sleep.”
This is just a glimpse of anxiety-related advice you might have come across. Needless to say, these suggestions from well-wishers are rarely effective. On the contrary, they could aggravate your symptoms and make you feel even worse.
It’s unfortunate considering that less than 40% of people in the US suffering from an anxiety disorder receive the right treatment. This is despite the fact that anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness affecting roughly 40 million US adults.
If you could relax and meditate, chances are you wouldn’t be living with anxiety right now. Likewise, maintaining a positive outlook towards anything can be a Herculean task when you have anxiety. Only someone who has never experienced what anxiety feels like will offer these kinds of tips.
Anxiety management techniques that actually work
There are various at-home anxiety management techniques that don’t involve meditation and relaxation. In this blog, we’ll discuss a few practical ways to live with anxiety. Let’s get started.
1. Develop an exercise routine
No, you don’t have to train for a marathon or get six-pack abs right away. Make sure you don’t pressurise yourself to start an intense workout routine. Instead, you need to find a form of physical activity that suits your needs.
While some people might prefer going to the gym, others choose to practise yoga at home. Even a long run or jog in the park is good enough. Also, don’t feel guilty about occasionally ditching the routine to spend a quiet day in.
If you don’t enjoy traditional forms of exercise, you could even consider joining dance or martial arts classes. It’s also a good idea to find a workout buddy who enjoys the same form of exercise. It can go a long way to change your perception of exercise from a routine chore into something you look forward to.
2. Try a weighted blanket
A weighted blanket applies even pressure across your body and relaxes your autonomic nervous system. This technique, known as deep pressure stimulation, helps control common symptoms of anxiety, such as increased respiratory rate and heart rate. Also, it inhibits the release of cortisol and promotes the production of serotonin.
That’s why weighted blankets, such as the wide range of Hush products, are an excellent tool for coping with anxiety. On the plus side, they also help combat sleep disorders, such as insomnia and restless leg syndrome. The distributed pressure from a weighted blanket even helps relieve chronic pain.
Apart from using a weighted blanket while sleeping, you can also wrap it around your body whenever you’re experiencing an anxiety attack. Make sure you choose one that weighs 10% of your body weight and covers your body from neck to toe. If you’re prone to hot flushes or sweating, you can consider using iced weighted blankets too.
3. Find the right distraction
Sometimes, the key to coping with anxiety is to engage your mind in another activity. It’s a good idea to consider pursuing a hobby such as baking, painting or gardening that can occupy your mind and keep negative thoughts at bay. Don’t worry about excelling at every hobby you pick up.
Likewise, keeping yourself busy with household chores and errands can also help. Try cleaning your room, doing the laundry, or even fetching some groceries. It’ll prevent your mind from spiralling into the rabbit hole of overthinking. Also, it can go a long way to help you feel accomplished.
4. Talk it out
Expressing your fears and emotions out loud to a trusted friend or family member can help you feel less anxious. If you aren’t comfortable opening up to your loved ones, you can also consult a therapist. This is particularly crucial if you’ve been battling anxiety for a long time.
5. Write what you feel
Take a notebook to scribble your apprehensions. Giving words to your thoughts and letting them out of your mind can help you rationalise your fears and look at them objectively. This, in turn, will change your outlook towards your circumstances.
Another useful exercise is to maintain a daily gratitude journal. Jot down three to five good things that happened throughout the day that make you feel grateful.