Anxiety can be crippling. You might have a generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, or you might simply have anxiety that stems from your job. Many people who suffer from anxiety don’t even know when someone they’re acquainted with has anxiety because many people are quiet about it. Some people with anxiety feel shame about their condition, but in order to get better, you need to realize that there are many people who feel exactly the same way that you do. You’re not alone, and others with a similar problem have tips that they share to help alleviate their symptoms. Here are a few things that you can try to cope with your mild anxiety.
1. Yoga, Meditation, and Exercise
One great way to alleviate anxiety is to do things that encourage you to focus on your body instead of your mind or society. Yoga and meditation ask you to focus on your body, allowing you to feel calmer. Mental abstraction pulls people away from the here and now, and by connecting with your body, you’ll be more present. Other forms of exercise can also reduce anxiety, including running, swimming, or team sports. The social engagement can also be beneficial.
2. Make Space For Your Anxiety
Anxiety occurs when you hold your emotions inside. You might even try to suppress your feelings by telling yourself that they’re silly. But trying to suppress these feelings will only make your symptoms worse. Instead, you should make space for your anxiety by accepting it and avoiding self-chastizement. This will also help you acknowledge that the negative feelings will pass.
3. Give Yourself Positive Affirmations
When you’re feeling anxious, instead of telling yourself that your feelings are unwarranted, give yourself positive affirmations. Talk to yourself the way that you would talk to a friend if they were going through something difficult. You wouldn’t try to minimize their experience; you’d acknowledge their feelings but also tell them that things will get better. This is different than simply having a positive attitude for other’s sake. It’s giving yourself love and compassion that can help you feel more normal.
4. Gain Realistic Expectations
Anxiety often arises when you have expectations that are unrealistic. When you don’t know what to expect, your mind has the tendency to embellish. One of the first things that you can do to gain realistic expectations is to take stock of what you already know. For instance, if you’re anxious about a job interview, you’re not alone. Many people get butterflies in their stomachs because the stakes are high, but you might not know exactly what kind of company you’re interviewing with. Find out information on the company so that you’re a little more familiar with it. Find out what the company values and what they will expect from you in the role that you will be playing. But put a limit on it. Endlessly obsessing about what you can find on the company website will only further your anxiety. When you know more about the company, give yourself some time away from thinking about it. Then, understand that if the job isn’t a good fit, you’re better off finding something that works better for you anyways.
5. Stay Away From Food and External Stimulation That Inhibits Sleep and Increases Anxiety
Some over-the-counter drugs and even stimulants in food can heighten anxiety and make it more difficult for you to sleep. Caffeine is one of the most common stimulants around, and it can show up in a whole host of everyday foods. Coffee, tea, and soda are some of the most common sources, but it’s also in chocolate, diet pills, and some headache medicines. First of all, if you’re someone who gets jittery after consuming too much caffeine, that jittery feeling will only increase your anxiety. Secondly, caffeine keeps people awake, and you need adequate sleep to keep anxiety at bay. To keep your nerves calm and promote proper sleeping habits, you should also maintain a regular sleeping schedule, avoid light from computer and cell phone screens a half an hour before going to