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Overcoming Anxiety

Overcoming anxiety is manageable. Take baby steps and confront it bit by bit. There are many easy things you can start doing right now to control anxiety symptoms and reduce the frequency and severity of panic attacks.

Each of these things will help you overcome anxiety. There are many of them, but don't feel overwhelmed. Just take things at your own pace.

Avoid Unnecessary Stress


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  • Avoid needless stressors.

    If the TV news is stressing you out, turn it off. If you know you'll be miserable at an event, don't go. Really evaluate the necessity of what you put yourself through.

  • Don't over-extend yourself.

    This will help you from feeling overwhelmed and keep your pace less frantic.

  • Plan ahead.

    Spare yourself the anxiety of unplanned reactions.

  • Limit your worrying.

    The less something is on your mind, the less it consumes you.


Stay Positive


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  • Find reasons to laugh.

    Consume funny media or spend time with people you can goof off with.

  • Set and achieve small goals.

    Achievement empowers you and wards off anxiety's helplessness.

  • Think about positive things when going to bed and waking up.

    Good tone for the day keeps the PsyD away.

  • Use self-talk.

    Talking yourself through a panic attack is your most valuable tool. Remind yourself it's temporary and that it will end like all the other attacks before it did. Also remind yourself that you are safe, and that you have an 'exit' strategy for whatever situation you feel trapped in.

  • Use positive language.

    Own yourself by owning your interior dialog.

  • Visualize positive situations.

    Visualization helps build a path to desired destinations. By having forced yourself to think through what you'll do, in advance, you reduce the amount of reactive thinking you must do, and thus its related anxiety.


Stay Occupied: Keep Your Mind Off of Anxiety


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  • Practice controlling your thoughts.

    Breaking the anticipatory anxiety loop will reduces anxiety's control on your life.

  • Learn to detach and develop self-control over feelings.

    The further your anxiety is from you, the less it impacts you.

  • Keep busy.

    There is only so much mental real estate to go around. If some of your mind is elsewhere, that much less of it dwells on your anxiety and its causes.

  • Maintain a daily routine.

    A daily routine cuts down on unexpected reactions.


Stay Healthy by Controlling Physical Causes


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  • Exercise regularly.

    Walking, dancing, yoga, and swimming are some forms of mild exercise that can release endorphins, which will help you overcome anxiety.

  • Eat healthily.

    Avoid vitamin deficiency causing or exacerbating depression and anxiety.

  • Get enough sleep.

    Lack of sleep can worsen anxiety symptoms and make them more likely to appear.

  • Limit caffeine and drug intake.

    Caffeine and other stimulants (e.g., adderall, nicotine) can trigger panic attacks. Even depressants (e.g., alcohol, marijuana) can trigger anxiety in some people.


Avoid Isolation


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  • Find a safe, trusted person with whom to share your problems.

    Venting can help some. Having someone safe who can pick you up, if you're unfit to drive, also lessens your worries about becoming stranded.

  • Socialize.

    Spending time with friends will help keep your mind off of your anxiety. Also, it's harder to call in favors without first investing some social currency.

  • Try helping others.

    Helping others is empowering and will make you feel more in control.


Relax


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  • Practice breathing exercises.

    Not only will these calm you while you do them, but getting good at this will help you regain control when wracked by a panic attack.

  • Meditate.

    Mindfulness will help you detach and relax in a deep way. Mindfulness in Plain English is a great guide and free.

  • Create a peaceful environment.

    Find or create a soothing environment. When creating one, consider calming music, a water fountain, and decor with soothing colors.