If you’re dealing with relationship troubles, have chronic anxiety, or have been doused with stress by the current pandemic, there is hope.
Your mental health is extremely important, especially when it comes to managing stress and anxiety.
Talking to your doctor is a great way to get help for crippling anxiety or panic disorders, but are there any natural routes you can take to decrease the side-effects of stress? Absolutely.
Self-care can do wonders for treating anxious feelings and taking back the power in your emotions.
You may not always be in the mood for focusing on self-care when you’re feeling overwhelmed, but it will be well worth the effort.
Here are eight tips for using self-care to quell your anxious thoughts:
- Talk it out
Talking is a great way to get your feelings out and release the anxiety associated with them.
Research shows that leaning on trusted friends and loved ones during emotional times can significantly lower psychological distress. Just remember that your close inner circle is there for you and wants to help when you’re feeling down and out.
If you aren’t comfortable sharing your anxiety with your loved ones, why not go the professional route?
There are also plenty of therapy apps you can use from the comfort of your own home that may be more appealing to your current circumstances.
Get on that sleep-train
Getting enough sleep certainly isn’t going to make your anxiety problems disappear into thin air, but an adequate 8-hours of rest per night will certainly do wonders for your body and your mental health.
Getting enough sleep will help reduce stress, improve your mood, lower your risk of health problems, help maintain weight, and give you mental clarity.
Schedule time to worry
This may sound like an odd tip, but if you’re someone who tends to dwell in your anxiety, it may be beneficial to schedule in your worry sessions.
Give yourself twenty-minutes a day (set a timer!) to focus on what’s bothering you, dissect and analyze your feelings, and then let it go.
This way, you’ll be able to live in those moments, accept them, and release the negative feelings associated with that particular anxiety.
Many find this method gives them more control over their feelings and helps them better manage their day.
Get up and dance!
Exercise is good for both your mental and physical health, and there are many reasons why.
Moving your body makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something, which boosts your mood and your self-esteem. Exercise also contributes to a healthy body, which can improve how you feel about your appearance.
Being active also releases dopamine, which makes you feel happier.
Exercise is especially good for you when you do it outside. Walking through your neighborhood or taking a jog through a local park or garden can boost your mood and help you get much needed Vitamin D.
Not to mention, studies reveal that proximity to green spaces have been closely associated with reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Cool your caffeine intake
You may love your coffee as much as the next caffeine addict, but if you deal with anxiety, it may be time to switch to decaf.
Research shows that caffeine consumption increases adult anxiety and can increase nervousness, nausea, heart palpitations, restlessness, and fear associated with panic disorders.
Similarly, you may want to cut back on your alcohol consumption. For most people, alcohol is a great way to relax and have fun, but for those who deal with mental health issues or anxiety, alcohol may act as a depressant and negatively affect your mental health.
Make time to be alone
People are so busy these days; some have to schedule some alone time! Those who live with anxiety will certainly benefit from doing so.
By making time to be alone, you will be able to focus on activities that promote good mental health, happiness, and relaxation. Some ideas for what to do to demonstrate self-care for anxiety while alone include:
Soothing activities include:
- Taking a relaxing bath
- Getting a massage
- Focusing on enjoyable hobbies
- Listening to ASMR
Journal it out
University psychologists James Pennebaker, Ph.D., and Joshua Smyth, Ph.D., found that journaling can help reduce stress and increase immune functions.
How you choose to journal is entirely up to you.
For some, writing down the negative thoughts is like getting toxic emotions out of their system. As soon as problems are down on paper, they seem less intimidating to deal with.
For others, focusing on positive things (such as writing down three things you are grateful for each day) can help boost happiness.
Look for ways to give back
When you feel overwhelmed, the last thing you probably want to do is go out and take care of other people’s problems. But the truth is that when you’re focusing on other people, you’re less likely to focus on yourself.
The Nature Communications Journal found that there is a neural link between generosity and happiness. In the study, all participants were sent 25 Swiss francs per week. Half of the group was assigned to spend the money on themselves while the other half was told to spend the money on other people.
Results revealed that those who showed generous behavior to others showed higher levels of happiness and desire to give.
There are plenty of things you can do to promote self-care and diminish the effects of anxiety. Take time to de-stress by yourself, make sure you’re getting enough sleep, move your body, and get your feelings out either with friends or on paper. Doing so will boost mental health and happiness.