For people with an anxiety disorder, managing anxiety symptoms is a lifelong process that requires work and mindfulness. Below are some tips for managing anxiety and staying healthy.
Tip #1: Keep up with Treatment
Once a treatment plan has been set up and symptoms start to improve, keep up with that treatment plan. This may include attending therapy sessions as scheduled and taking medications as prescribed. Too often, people with anxiety disorders start to feel better after the treatment is working, and then they neglect that treatment regimen. The result can be a return of the anxiety disorder symptoms.
Tip #2: Watch for Worsening Symptoms
People living with an anxiety disorder need to be vigilant about keeping their symptoms under control. If symptoms seem to getting worse, ask for help from your doctor or therapist.
Tip #3: Get Regular Exercise
Exercise is an important part of managing stress and anxiety. It stimulates the brain’s production of endorphins and other “feel good” brain chemicals. It also increases self-esteem and encourages people to maintain other aspects of their health. The recommended minimum amount of exercise is 30 minutes per day, three to five days per week. If one 30-minute session is hard to manage, you can break it up into two 15-minutes sessions or three 10-minute sessions. The main idea is to get moving.
Tip #4: Find a Support Group
Anxiety disorders are a common condition, and support groups help the sufferers of anxiety disorders feel less isolated. A variety of support groups are available to those with anxiety disorders, and many of them are specific to particular anxiety disorders.
Tip #5: Manage Stress Healthfully
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but for someone living with an anxiety disorder, stress can trigger anxiety symptoms more profoundly than for others. Managing stress healthfully means using positive coping techniques and keeping the stress from becoming overwhelming. Staying on top of deadlines, making priority lists and breaking large tasks into smaller ones are all ways of keeping stress levels low. Some people with anxiety disorders find it helpful to count slowly to ten when they feel particularly stressed to help keep feelings of anxiety from becoming overwhelming.
Tip #6: Get the Right Amount of Sleep
Like exercise, sleep has all kinds of health benefits and is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for everyone. For managing anxiety, getting proper sleep is essential.
Tip #7: Think Positively
Focusing on the negatives only increases anxiety. Try to avoid dwelling on negative events that occurred in the past or fretting over future problems that are uncontrollable. Stay focused on the present and on the positive.
Tip #8: Spend Time with Friends and Loved Ones
Socializing with friends promotes good feelings and helps build up a support system.
Anxiety Disorders Association of America. (n.d.). Tips to manage anxiety and stress. Retrieved July 31, 2010, from http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/tips.
Mayo Clinic. (2009). Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms. Retrieved July 31, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression-and-exercise/MH00043.
Mayo Clinic. (2009). Anxiety: Coping and support. Retrieved July 31, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/anxiety/DS01187/DSECTION=coping-and-support.