It’s easy to throw around terms like “anxiety” and “stress” for everyday worries, but anxiety is a serious mental health condition. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States. Anxiety affects over 40 million people every year with physical, emotional, and mental symptoms.
The good news is that anxiety disorders are completely treatable and can be managed with a number of different anxiety solutions. Not every anxiety management technique will work the same for every individual. Some solutions might not work at all for you but they might be someone else’s saving grace.
That’s why we are going to go over many different anxiety solutions so that you can try a variety of techniques to see what works for you and your anxiety. For example, I managed to tackle my decades-lasting anxiety and panic attacks completely with a right diet. No panic attacks for over 10 years, what a relief!
It’s easy to get the wrong idea about meditation: don’t you have to wear a strange shawl while sitting next to a cliff’s edge and burn incense in order to meditate?
While some people definitely meditate that way, meditation is a simple and easy practice you can implement into your daily routine. Meditation and mindfulness techniques have been proven to help you feel more relaxed and reduce anxiety.
So if you don’t need a special shawl and incense to meditate, then how do you meditate?
Mediation involves clearing your mind and grounding yourself to the present moment. You can either sit in silence and slowly clear your mind, or you can follow guided meditations to help you focus on the task at hand. More about meditation and anxiety here.
Meditation doesn’t cure anxiety, but studies show that it can help you manage anxiety symptoms and it can keep you from ruminating on intrusive anxious thoughts.
Getting a massage is seen as a sort of luxury, but it can be an essential part of managing your anxiety. We all know that massages are nice and relaxing, but they have been shown to help lessen anxiety as well.
Studies show that massages can help reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in your body. Not only that, but massage has also been shown to increase the levels of “feel good” hormones serotonin and dopamine.
If you can’t afford a professional massage, try a self-massage or get a friend or family member to give you a quick shoulder rub. This can work to lower anxiety and it can also loosen up any muscles that have become sore and tense as a result of your anxiety.
Exercise is one of the most powerful anxiety solutions on this list. Exercise is able to both lessen anxiety symptoms and also keep you focused on the task at hand.
Being active and getting proper exercise causes your body to release endorphins. Endorphins are molecules that make you feel good and happy. If you’ve ever heard of “runner’s high,” that refers to the rush of endorphins runners get after completing their work-out.
But the benefits of exercise don’t end with endorphins.
Keeping your body active and focused on a work-out keeps you entirely focused on your task. Whether you’re on mile 3 of a tough run or you’re deadlifting a new personal record, your mind is entirely focused on the work-out: all you can think about is getting through the last mile or putting all your strength into lifting.
This will keep your mind off of any anxious thoughts you might be having.
Other studies show the numerous benefits of exercise for anxiety solutions, which include:
- Hormone regulation
- Regulate heart rate and blood pressure
- Mood enhancement
- Regulate energy levels
Exercise doesn’t have to be something you dread, either. If you aren’t a fan the gym or jogging, you can take a dance class, a yoga class, take a walk with your friends, or even just dance around your room to Lady Gaga.
As long as your body is moving, you will see the anxiety-relieving effects.
We talked about meditation — now we are going to talk about medication! The prevalence of anxiety in our society has spurred the creation of numerous anti-anxiety drugs and medications.
While some people find they can use natural anxiety solutions to manage their symptoms, there are certain situations where the use of medication might be necessary.
Different medications have different effects on everybody; talk to your doctor or psychiatrist to see what they think will work best for you.
Besides more classic medications, there have also been studies showing CBD products, a type of medical marijuana, have great anti-anxiety effects. If you’re feeling wary about pharmaceuticals or have had bad luck with medication in the past, this natural approach could be a great option.
Get More Sleep
Research shows that fatigue and sleep deprivation make anxiety worse. It’s thought that lack of sleep activates areas of the brain responsible for causing worried thoughts and anxiety.
Getting consistent and quality sleep can help reduce anxiety and make you feel refreshed and relaxed.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a specific type of talk therapy that focuses on evaluating your mental processes and adjusting them to reduce mental disorders like anxiety and depression.
With a therapist, you will talk about how you think about anxiety, situations in your life, and your anxious thoughts. What you will work on in therapy are techniques to deal with these thoughts and adjust your anxiety to appropriate amounts for everyday life.
Studies show that CBT is effective for treating anxiety disorders, making it one of the best anxiety solutions. Many insurance plans cover this type of mental health treatment, so it should be accessible to many people.
Talk to Someone
If you’re not comfortable going to a therapist or found that therapy wasn’t helpful, try just talking to someone about how you’re feeling. Anxiety solutions don’t have to be difficult: simply talking with someone you love might be enough for you.
Whether you talk to a close friend, go to an online anxiety forum, or go to an anxiety support group, speaking about your feelings and struggles with anxiety can be a huge relief.
Switch Up Your Diet
Your diet can have both positive and negative effects on your anxiety. Foods high in processed polyunsaturated fats (like sunflower oil, canola oil, safflower oil, corn oil, or soy oil), processed chemicals and especially sugar have been shown to increase anxiety symptoms.
Cutting these foods out of your diet will help with anxiety management. It helped me, too!
You can also supplement your diet with food that can help ease anxiety. The following nutrients, ingredients, and diets have been linked to anxiety reduction and management:
- Magnesium (helps with your mood as well as with over 300 processes in your body)
- Vitamin B (crucial for brains, nerves, hormones, and many other things)
- Probiotics (your guts have to be happy in order to be able to produce serotonin and melatonin; probiotics increase the happiness of your guts as well!)
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids (they reduce inflammation that causes a LOT of problems — including mental problems)
- Ketogenic diet (the best diet for beating anxiety and any neurological disorder)
- Green vegetables (they contain lots of important nutrients)
Incorporating foods that contain an ample amount of vitamins and nutrients is one of the best anxiety solutions out there. Not only will you be getting the anti-anxiety effects of these nutrients, but you’ll also be fueling your body with healthy foods that will make you feel much better than the processed and sugary foods you’ve cut out. The most important thing is to stay away from sugar and avoid it by all means. You can find out more about the harms of the sugar on my Low Sugar, So Simple book.
If you need help coming up with meals, check out our comprehensive list of anti-anxiety recipe ideas.
If you’re finding that you aren’t able to get all of the nutrients we listed earlier into your diet via foods, you can take supplements like vitamins or herbs to get them.
Try taking a magnesium supplement, L-theanine, or vitamin B complex. You can also try herbal supplements like kava, which has been shown to reduce anxiety symptoms.
Keep an Anxiety Journal
This idea goes back to talking to someone about your anxiety. Getting your anxious thoughts out of your head and into the real world will feel like a release. If you find that talking to others about it isn’t for you, simply writing down your feelings in a journal can be a great help.
It’s easy to get caught in an anxious cycle of worrying and intrusive thoughts. This can keep you up at night and make it impossible for you to focus on normal, everyday tasks.
Writing down your thoughts as you’re having them will allow you to stop and get the thoughts out of your system. Many people find that keeping an anxiety journal helps them stop thinking the anxious thoughts once they write them down.
Journaling can provide you with some much-needed relief if you’re suffering from anxious thoughts and excessive worrying.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
We already mentioned that certain foods can induce anxiety and make anxiety symptoms worse. In addition to sugar, both caffeine and alcohol are some of the top offenders.
Caffeine is a stimulant that will make your already anxious and overactive brain even more anxious and overactive.
Many people mistakenly believe that alcohol is a way to help you relax and mellow out. On the contrary, studies show that alcohol consumption can actually make it easier for people to develop anxiety disorders.
Both caffeine and alcohol can trigger anxiety and panic attacks as well. While you don’t have to necessarily cut these things out completely, significantly reducing your consumption can help you in the long run.
These Anxiety Solutions Can Help You
Anxiety is different for everybody, which means that anxiety solutions will be different for everyone as well. Out of all the tips we’ve listed here, there’s bound to be at least one that can help you manage and reduce your anxiety symptoms.
If you find you need even more help to treat your anxiety, check out our other articles on anxiety treatments and advice. You can find information on different types of anxiety, medications, and management techniques.