19 Sep 5 Ways to Deal with Anxiety
Many people struggle with anxiety. As a life coach I have many clients who come to see me because they are having a hard time coping with stress. Some people describe this as coming from interpersonal problems, others from work or school stress, and some have a hard time recognizing the source of their anxiety. People commonly describe these symptoms of anxiety:
- Rapid hear rate
- Feeling like it is hard to breathe
- Trouble sleeping
- Persistant rumination
As a life coach it is not my role to prescribe medication or psychotherapy. I am not trying to work with clients in order to figure out deep seeded sources of anxiety. Rather, I am here to provide practical help about how to deal with anxiety. My role is also to help people practically take care of things that might be causing stress. Sometimes this is not enough, when this is the case I do refer people for therapy or psychiatry if that is needed in addition.
One of the greatest ways to cope with anxiety is to try meditating. Numerous research studies have looked at the effectiveness of meditation for dealing with stress and anxiety. These studies tend to show that meditation helps reduce people’s anxiety. In some cases, this is true after meditating only one time.
Anecdotally, I have worked with many clients who I have suggested meditation to. In some cases I encourage them to try meditation groups. For others I give them resources to find guided meditations online. One site I really like is One Mind Dharma, they have great resources for meditators of all levels. I particularly like their 5 minute meditation practices for people who are new to meditation.
2. Sleep Hygiene
For many of my clients poor sleep hygiene can be both the cause of and a symptom of anxiety. One way to deal with these feelings of stress is to practice good sleep hygiene. Much like you care for yourself by taking regular showers and putting on new clothes you need to take care of your sleep routine. Harvard has a great list of tips for better sleep hygiene.
Some of the things you might try are:
- Go to sleep at the same time every night
- Wake up without an alarm clock
- Get enough sleep
- Avoid caffeine or other stimulants close to bedtime
- Give yourself time to wind down before going to sleep
3.Deep Breathing Exercises
Many people think that breathing exercises and meditation are the same thing. However, breathing can be a part of meditation but meditation encompasses a lot more. Rather, deep breathing exercises are ways of specifically using the breath to slow down. There are many different breathing exercises you can use in order to cope with anxiety. Some include diaphragmatic breathing, yogic breathing, and counting your breaths. All of these techniques help you engage your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps you calm feelings of anxiety.
4. Healthy Eating
In my experience people tend to do one of two things when they are suffering from anxiety. They either overeat as a way to cope with the stress or they stop eating because the anxiety kills their appetite. The result of both of these things is that people usually feel even more stressed. In some cases they start to compound the feeling of anxiety because they are gaining weight from the food they are eating. In the case of the other the body starts to feel more uncomfortable because they don’t have enough fuel to keep them going throughout the day.
In either case, one way to help deal with anxiety is to practice healthy and mindful eating. You should try eating a balanced diet with fruits, veggies, and protein that will give you the proper nutrition to feel energized throughout the day. If you are interested in learning more about how foods affect anxiety I recommend reading this post.
5. Get Organized
Many people deal with anxiety that is related to school or work. In these cases one thing that I always recommend to clients is that they spend a little time getting organized. The place I always start is by telling people to make a calendar. You can do this whatever way feels best to you but I prefer google calendar because it is easy to use, can be color coded, and accessed on your phone. Whatever format you chose, take some time to actually put things in the calendar. Include important deadlines, events, and daily tasks.
Another recommendation that I often make is for people to make lists of daily goals and tasks. For some people this brings on more anxiety and for others it really helps with overwhelm. Sometimes seeing a physical list and being able to cross things off helps you feel like you are getting things done!
When you decide is best for you, try picking one or two ways of coping with anxiety from this list. If you need extra help with stress remember that you can always reach out for life coaching, therapy, or psychiatric help. There is no need to deal with anxiety on your own.