Everyone wants to cure their anxiety. There is no one in the world that wants to live with anxiety each and every day. But what can you do for your anxiety? What can you do right now to decrease the symptoms?
It's a big question, and one that doesn't have a simple answer. You can't claim that there is any one thing that you can do to stop your anxiety. But the following are five simple strategies that you can do right now that may decrease your anxiety symptoms.
How to CURE Your Anxiety
The truth is that there isn't a single technique that can stop your anxiety all at once. You need to make sure that you use a comprehensive strategy that is based on symptoms. Find out this strategy by taking my free 7 minute anxiety test now.
7 Ways to Reduce Your Anxiety
It needs to be stated that anxiety disorders are often very different, and there isn't necessarily a single tool that you can use to stop it. Anxiety is a very treatable condition, but it's only treatable with the right choices and time. Make sure to take my anxiety test to find a comprehensive treatment for you.
But what about the little things that you can do now? The following are a few brief ideas that can give you a head start at combatting your anxiety.
Tip 1: Stay Busy
Stress makes you want to be alone with your thoughts. That's a bad idea. Anxiety controls thoughts, so when people are alone with their thoughts they tend to simply have more stressful ones. Even if you feel better when you're alone with your own thoughts you're also not doing something important for reducing anxiety - creating memories.
That's why you need to stay busy. From morning to night, give yourself things to do. Try to stay around people, do things that use your brain, make phone calls, and find ways to avoid silence with your own thoughts. During this time your mind learns how to cope with stress better.
Now, you do need to avoid activities that promote anxiety, because the point is to stay busy enough that you're not creating more of it. But as long as they're emotionally healthy activities, try to stay as busy as possible.
Tip 2: Exercise
Exercise is the only thing you can start today that is as powerful as anxiety medications. It has been studied extensively, and there is a lot of evidence that those that exercise regularly actually get as much relief as those that take prescription anxiety medicine.
That's because intense, long term exercise releases endorphins - a neurotransmitter in the brain that is released in order to reduce pain, but has the secondary benefits of reducing anxiety as well. In addition, exercise reduces muscle tension, promotes sleep, and improves self-confidence. There is simply no better way to reduce anxiety than to start exercising, and if you truly want to reduce your anxiety you need to start exercising today.
Tip 3: Start Journaling
Writing in a diary was something that you were told to do as a child, and it may seem silly to do it as an adult. But there is a lot of evidence that it is incredibly therapeutic.
This is especially true before bed. Those with anxiety tend to have very active minds, even though they aren't necessarily thinking about anything anxiety related. It's simply a natural issue that affects those with anxiety.
When you write out those thoughts (anxiety producing or not) onto a permanent piece of paper, your mind takes note of this and knows that it doesn't have to focus on it as much, and eventually you'll stop thinking about it and it will stop keeping you awake.
Journaling is easy to do, and has a lot of benefits for reducing your anxiety levels. Even if all you have is a piece of paper around you, consider using it.
Tip 4: Slowly Desensitize Fears
There is a belief that anxiety is simply fear, and that's not true. But that doesn't mean that fear can't play a role in anxiety. For example, those that have social phobia often have a fear of being out in public and talking to others. Those with obsessive compulsive disorder often fear their own thoughts. Fears can be a big part of anxiety.
So if you can parcel out those fears and figure out what they are specifically, you can address them directly and try to get used to the specific fear. Here are two examples:
Fear of Embarrassment
Say you have a fear of embarrassment. Try to get used to embarrassing yourself on purpose. Find a place you feel safe (bring a friend if you like) and do something or wear something embarrassing. Do it non-stop, for hours on end, until you're not afraid of it anymore. Try this multiple times in multiple places and you'll find that the fear decreases.
Fear of Spiders
What about a specific fear, like spiders? Well, you can expose yourself to spiders over time until it stops causing you fear. First, think about spiders until you stop being scared. Then, look at photos of spiders until the photos stop scaring you. Then, watch YouTube videos about spiders until they don't cause fear anymore. Finally, try to be in the same area as a spider.
These types of activities take time, and you need to commit to them for them to work. You absolutely can't do it quickly, and it can take hours or days or more before you feel comfortable. But if you do these activities over time, you'll see a big improvement.
Tip 5: Dedicate Yourself to Treatments
Finally, the last tip is more of a broad strategy, but one that is no less important. You need to make sure that you're as dedicated as possible to treating your anxiety. You need to make sure that you never give up, no matter what works for you or what doesn't.
The dedication and desire to cure your anxiety no matter how long it takes can play a role in how easily you can treat your anxiety. Anxiety is very treatable - one of the most successfully treatable mental health disorders - but finding the perfect treatment for you isn't something that happens overnight.
If you want to learn more about anxiety and how to treat it successfully, make sure that you take my free 7 minute anxiety test now. The test is an important tool for learning more about how to cure your anxiety and what to do next.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.