Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions around the world. Thankfully, it’s also one of the most manageable.
Mild anxiety can go away on its own, but chronic anxiety often requires a mental health professional to help you work through it. If you are experiencing anxiety, there are things you can do every day to ease your symptoms.
If you struggle with anxiety, you’re certainly not alone. Let’s cover some simple daily habits that can make a big difference in how you feel. Making these changes can help you gain more control over your symptoms and make forward progress in the treatment of your anxiety.
Wake Up at the Same Time Each Day
Changing your sleep habits can help combat insomnia, but also can reduce anxiety. Research shows that chronic insomnia is often linked to anxiety. Unfortunately, when it comes to sleep, people generally think more sleep is always better and sleep whenever they can. But doing things this way can perpetuate insomnia.
It is important to go to sleep at approximately the same time and make sure you wake up at the same time every day, no matter what time you went to sleep, even if you get less sleep that night. Resist the urge to go to bed early or sleep late even if you are tired. When you have a predictable sleep schedule, it can help reduce anxiety.
Mindfulness can feel like a bit of a buzzword nowadays. It has become so popular because of its efficacy.
It’s not uncommon for people with anxiety to have a “busy brain” and thoughts that may seem to run wild. This can make you feel disconnected from your mind and body.
Mindfulness can help you regain your focus by redirecting your thoughts outside of what is going on in your brain. Mindfulness can allow you to focus on what is happening in the moment and you can stop negative thinking from taking over. You’ll also notice more readily if you’re focusing on a thought or sensation too much, and you can better assess if the thought is based in reality.
The best part about mindfulness is that it can be done multiple times a day. You can certainly schedule time each day to practice it. But, if there are moments when you’re feeling particularly overwhelmed with worry, spending some time practicing mindfulness can make a big difference. To do this, you can focus on something specific like your breath going in and out. Or you can focus on your feet on the floor or another sensory experience. Being mindful is just being completely focused on what is happening in the moment.
When it comes to a long-term solution, meditation is also another effective habit to get into. Meditation and mindfulness are focused on deep breathing, remaining in the present, and helping your brain recognize a more relaxed state. It’s important to view mindfulness and meditation as “training” for your brain and not a quick fix.
We live in a society where rushing around seems to be the norm. Unfortunately, rushing and multi-tasking can boost amygdala activity in the brain, which may increase anxiety.
Try to make it a habit of doing everything at a slower pace than you usually would. Think of this as turning down the volume to a lower level. Focus on one thing at a time instead of multi-tasking. When you’re feeling rushed or stressed, pause and take a few deep breaths to remind yourself to slow down. That doesn’t mean you need to be less productive or motivated. Chances are when you’re mindful of your pace, you’ll naturally fall into a rhythm that works for you without sacrificing the things you want to accomplish.
Working with a mental health professional can help you to work on habits that can reduce your anxiety.
In the meantime, try to put some of these daily habits into practice. You might be surprised by the difference the smallest changes in your routine can make.