Anxiety is a troubling condition and one that rarely goes away on its own. Anxiety is too complicated to simply wish away, and in some cases, you may find that your anxiety fuels itself. The more you have anxiety, the more you fear the anxiety symptoms, and the more anxiety you have later. Recovering from that anxiety is the only way to provide yourself a better quality of life.
Anxiety recovery is a two-step process. The first step is learning what to do to overcome your anxiety. The second step is what to do to keep your anxiety from coming back.
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Anxiety Recovery Starts with Your Symptoms
There are many different types of anxiety, and anxiety can affect people in very different ways. While there are several specific, practical approaches to reducing anxiety, your symptoms play a very important role in what works and what doesn't. Take my anxiety test now to get a complete anxiety profile and learn more about recommended anxiety treatments.
Because anxiety is such a broad area, and because no two people's anxiety manifests itself in the same way, there are many different approaches that need to be taken to overcome it. But the following are some of the options that can help you recover from your anxiety:
- Talk Therapy While most people prefer not to be told to seek therapy, the truth is that therapy is the most natural, effective option to help cure anxiety. It's not always affordable, and there are some at-home methods of reducing anxiety that is considered as effective, but if you're not considering psychotherapy for your anxiety, then you're not putting yourself in the best chance for a complete recovery.
- Acceptance Another very important part of recovery is acceptance (and by association, a commitment to treatment). You need to be willing to be okay with the fact that you have anxiety. You need to recognize that your symptoms are anxiety symptoms and not blame yourself or try to fight your anxiety away. Anxiety recovery is a process, and not something that is cured overnight. Until then, don’t make your anxiety worse by getting upset over your anxiety illness.
- Support System You should also develop a strong social support system. Spending time with others is a powerful tool for confidence and commitment to an anxiety recovery method. Find people that you're comfortable talking to about your anxiety problems openly, as they occur. If you can call your friends when you are suffering from anxiety or tell your friends when you're having an anxiety attack, you'll find that your anxiety becomes less severe.
- Exercise Studies have shown that exercise is as powerful for controlling anxiety as some of the most commonly prescribed anxiety medications. Exercise improves neurotransmitter production and synthesis in the brain, especially if the exercise is fairly intense – like jogging for 30 minutes. Exercising is a profound and effective way to make an immediate change in your anxiety levels.
- Stay Busy Those with anxiety tend to do less because their anxiety makes it hard for them to enjoy activities. But anxiety is a strange condition, and it's one where when you're not using your brain, it tends to get worse. So you should actually try to stay busy with healthy distractions as much as possible. When you're home alone, watch funny shows (not dramas or horrors) on TV, listen to upbeat music, play games or puzzles, talk on the phone, and make sure that you're keeping your mind occupied so that you focus on your anxiety less. Giving yourself a break from anxious thoughts can reduce anxiety in the future.
There are also many relaxation strategies that you can try, along with behavioral training and coping mechanisms. You can find out more information about some of these recovery tools with my anxiety test.
What to Do After You Recover
Of course, once you've reduced your anxiety you're going to have to maintain it. That is a part of recovery as well – the ability to control future anxiety and ensure that you're preventing it from coming back.
A large part of maintaining your anxiety gains is about realistic expectations, using what you've learned, and the mindset you have after you recover. Consider the following:
- Don't Be Disappointed Once in a while, your anxiety may come back. It's natural, and it happens to almost everyone with anxiety. If your anxiety comes back, don't get upset with yourself. Expect that it may come back once in a while and take what you've learned to help keep it away.
- Don't Take it For Granted You're also going to need to consider your mental health a priority in your life. That doesn't mean that you need to be in a stress-free bubble, but it does mean that you need to make sure that you don't get too wild or do anything that can bring your anxiety back. Continue your relaxation strategies and always do activities (like exercise) that improve mental health.
- Be Proud You should also be proud and accountable for overcoming your anxiety. Consider helping others. Find your own innovative techniques. Write about it. You need to have a mindset that recognizes that you overcame these obstacles. It'll keep you focused on maintaining the improvements you've made.
Exercise, healthy eating, avoiding stressful activities – these are all parts of continuing a mentally healthy lifestyle. Recovery doesn't just end when you cure your anxiety. You also need to make sure that you continue those gains as long as possible.
Anxiety recovery starts with your symptoms. Before you go, make sure you take my free 7-minute anxiety test now. Get your free anxiety profile and learn more about what it takes to completely recover from anxiety.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Dec 05, 2017.