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This blog was featured on 04/24/2020
4 Healthy Ways To Manage Your Anxiety During Uncertain Times
Written by
She Writes
April 2020
Written by
She Writes
April 2020

This post was contributed by writer and editor Laura May.

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders in the world. At best, it can make social situations and work tasks difficult. At worst, anxiety is debilitating, mentally crippling you and preventing you from leading a happy life.

Thankfully, there are several things you can do to manage your anxiety at home. Read on for four healthy ways you can take control of your anxiety and start leading life on your own terms, not that of your mental health.

Articulate your anxious thoughts and feelings

Anxiety sufferers rarely discuss their thoughts with other people. Most people suffer in silence, dealing with the thoughts themselves as they swirl around their heads.

As a result, it’s often difficult to challenge these thoughts. But articulating them and getting them out of your head and into the real world makes them easier to deal with.

Ideally, this would mean talking to someone — a friend, a family member, or a trusted colleague. No matter how silly you think your thoughts are, getting them out of your head and articulated verbally makes them less intense and much more manageable.

Failing that, consider writing your thoughts and feelings down in a journal instead. Seeing them written out on the page detracts from their weight and helps you understand why you’re feeling that way in the first place — a CBT diary app is useful for if you’re on the move and want to record your thoughts.

Make exercise part of your lifestyle

Perhaps the single best way to manage your anxiety is through good old-fashioned exercise. Working out releases endorphins, chemicals that reduce your perception of pain and reduce stress into the bargain.

Indeed, it is so effective at helping reduce and manage anxiety levels that some doctors have begun prescribing exercise to their patients.

Of course, exercising doesn’t necessarily come as easy for many of us. Just the thought of going for a run is enough to make many of us break out in a sweat.

Start simple. Go for a gentle, five-minute jog in the morning before work, or cycle to the shops instead of driving. As you get fitter, increase this to regular runs or cycles, or sign up to a gym once the lockdown lifts.

Until then, try a home workout video from YouTube. Blogilates is a good starting point for beginners, and it’s entirely free too. You don’t need to do it every day either. Every other day or longer is fine — it’s all about gradual progress.

Crucially, don’t beat yourself up. It’s a marathon, not a sprint — go at your own pace and don’t compare yourself to others.

Understand your disorder to understand yourself

Anxiety is a broad condition, comprising many different varieties of the disorder. Further to that, everyone has their own unique triggers or situations that can cause or exacerbate their anxiety.

But knowledge is power, and by understanding your anxiety, you can manage and mitigate it as a result.

As this guide on understanding anxiety from The Independent Pharmacy outlines, there are several different types of anxiety disorder:

  • General anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Phobias

Understanding the kind of anxiety disorder you have helps you better manage it. This may take some delving into your past and personal self, but it is well worth the investment.

In the same vein, understanding your anxiety means identifying triggers for it too. You might have a panic attack at the sight of your ex-partner, for instance, or you may discover that performing a certain task is responsible for particularly bad anxiety.

Keep a diary and track your anxiety, intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, and so on. Forewarned is forearmed, and a diary will help you identify problem areas and prepare accordingly.

Make healthy swaps for bad habits

When you’re feeling tense or stressed, many of us think nothing of reaching for a cigarette or glass of wine to quell our nerves. A five-minute smoke break or a post-work beer is often our first thought when we’re dealing with anxiety.

But these are just that — distractions, and short-term ones at that. Over the long-term, these can actually increase your anxiety and make it harder to control.

Instead, switch to healthier alternatives. Rather than smoking, try taking a five-minute walk around the block. And instead of opening a bottle of wine, opt for a soothing herbal tea.

The same principle applies to self-harm too. Many anxiety sufferers harm themselves in a bid to distract from the mental pain they are experiencing.

However, this is not a sustainable habit. Instead of cutting, for instance, flick an elastic band around your wrist instead. This still offers a distraction without the health risks associated with more severe forms of self-harm.

Understanding your anxiety and making small, simple changes are the first steps towards managing your mental health. Follow the tips above and, with time, your anxiety will be more easily managed as a result.

Laura May is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine. We write about beauty, fashion, lifestyle, relationships, travel, trends and anything else that matters to you. Name throwing you off? Don’t take it too seriously – we intend to stand out from the crowd.

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