Mastering anxiety might not seem like an easy task, but it is possible. Whether it’s a matter of eliminating anxiety or simply managing your stress, you have the opportunity to put in place a plan to deal with everyday anxiety, and you can learn how to overcome anxiety.
To do this, it’s essential to find out what works for you and persevere. The path will not be linear, and it may be a long one. Besides, you will need to be actively involved in your anxiety reduction plan, and not wait for the solution to come only from some medication or an outside person.
At the end of this process, you may still have a small amount of anxiety left over. However, you will be able to live with it! All of this opens up beautiful perspectives and lets you hope for a better life.
Eliminating your anxiety means making sure you get back to everyday life while saying goodbye to anxiety and feelings of uneasiness. The disappearance of the symptoms should not be your main objective, and it should be to eliminate it definitively. It is this difference that will keep you moving forward in the long term. Because yes, overcoming anxiety is a work that requires patience and rigor.
Here are the five steps that will lead you to your goal.
Step 1: Changing Habits
Adopting new habits is critical to start your journey to eliminating anxiety. You will find a few ideas here and feel free to add some of your own.
There’s nothing like a good night of sleep to regulate the mind and the body. Why is sleeping so important for managing anxiety? Because rest has the power to determine your mood. Deep sleep allows you to recover physically, while REM sleep will enable you to assimilate the events of the day and better manage your emotions. A sleep-deprived person tends to be more anxious, more emotional, to anticipate the worst, and to see everything in the dark. It’s a matter of common sense, and researchers have also proven it. Studies show that lack of sleep affects areas of the brain dedicated to the regulation of emotions and promotes anxiety. If you feel exhausted, don’t hesitate to go to bed very early for a few days. If anxiety makes you sleepless, adopt new habits to help you fall asleep. And get back to a good night’s sleep.
Keep a Journal
Even if your anxiety seems to have no particular cause, it often has a trigger. Try to find out what makes you anxious during the day. Get a nice notebook and keep a diary in which you write down your feelings experienced during the day. As the days go by, you will be able to make systematic comparisons between symptoms, intensity, and triggers. The trigger may not necessarily be the root cause of your anxiety, but identifying the trigger will help you trace back your discomfort and better understand your emotions. This diary is a good basis for establishing cause-and-effect relationships, and for starting to work on yourself.
Make Time for Relaxation
If you are feeling very anxious and distressed, do not hesitate to do a breathing exercise, a relaxation technique, or simple stretches. These exercises help you relieve your symptoms and manage your anxiety to the best of your ability! They force you to settle down, calm down, breathe, and oxygenate. Remember that it is important to allow yourself some time to relax during the day, even at work. Learning to breathe is one of the most important things you can do to overcome your anxiety symptoms.
Step 2: Reconnect With Nature
Nature is healing. Being in frequent contact with nature is beneficial in the fight against stress.
Create a Garden
Don’t hesitate to start gardening, whether you live in the country or the city. If you’re an urban dweller, shared urban gardens will allow you to enjoy the joys of nature. You can also create your vertical garden, along a wall, or your tiny garden, in planters, on your balcony or window sill. Some plants can even be grown indoors.
Go for a Walk in the Forest
If you have the opportunity to go for a walk in the woods, you should know that many studies show that walking in the woods has a positive effect on mood disorders. It not only reduces stress and anxiety but also reduces heart rate and systolic pressure. In short, effective anxiety treatment and very natural!
Open a Window
If you wake up feeling anxious, opening a window is your priority! Take the time to open a window as soon as you wake up (or better yet, go out into your garden) and breathe the fresh air, even in winter. Oxygen will help you dissipate your feeling of discomfort and make it easier to face the early morning.
Bring in Nature
Imagine a living environment where everything is “green, calm and pleasure,” a cocoon where you can relax and feel at peace. Your home is the place where you recharge your batteries and prepare to face the outside world.
Don’t hesitate to have plants or a green wall that will remind you of nature.
Step 3: Learn to Let Go
Accept what you can’t change. It’s so important to let things go. To get rid of them, to be free of them. You have to close doors, not out of pride, or inability, but simply because the above no longer has a place in your life.
A physical way to let go is to do a deep cleaning of your home, shake the dust off, and rid yourself of what is no longer serving you for the greater good. Stop being what you were and become what you are.
Learning to manage your anxiety also means understanding that despite all your energy and good intentions. Know that you do not always control all the parameters of a situation. And that sometimes it is wiser to let go. That doesn’t mean you stop fighting and let go. First, it means that you accept that not everything depends on you. You know that some things are really beyond your intention. You don’t fight over a situation that you can’t do anything about.
Sometimes it takes a journey to accept your failure. But acceptance is the first step that allows you to mobilize your energy, and to open the field of possibilities without bitterness.
Step 4: Re-Invent Your Lifestyle
When you think of your lifestyle, one of the first things to assess is your nutrition. Since the body’s natural defenses are weakened by anxiety and stress, it is crucial to adopt a healthy diet that fortifies your body and mind.
A healthy and balanced diet is essential for optimal functioning of the body. To help boost your production of serotonin and endorphins, eat foods rich in magnesium. See in tryptophan, B-group vitamins, omega 3, and vitamin C.
Also, remember to prepare meals that are synonymous with pleasure and comfort. Enjoying a pastry or a hearty meal from time to time won’t make you gain weight. It is systematically using food to calm anxiety, which can lead to weight gain or eating disorders. So, as is often the case, moderation is the key!
However, no miracle food will make anxiety and depression disappear. Dietary measures must be implemented in addition to other anti-stress methods. But one thing is for sure, treating anxiety by eating properly is possible!
How can you avoid putting on weight when you are anxious?
Some people have their appetite cut off by stress and anxiety, while others find comfort in food. However, overindulging in fatty and sweet foods and eating large quantities has a significant drawback: weight gain.
Besides, the cortisol produced during periods of prolonged stress and anxiety can alter the metabolism, causing it to build up reserves and “store” when you don’t eat more than usual.
Here are some tips to avoid excess weight gain in times of stress:
- Get more exercise, and it will help you lower your cortisol levels, healthily relieve stress, and boost your basal metabolic rate.
- Establish a meal ritual that helps control food cravings. For example, prepare a nice plate and sit down at the table to eat or take a real balanced snack to work to avoid cracking on the chocolate bars in the vending machine.
- According to research, lack of sleep leads to poor food choices. It is, therefore, essential to get back to a good quality of sleep to manage better your mood, your dietary balance, and your emotions.
Step 5: Become Emotionally Aware
The “natural” way to free yourself from emotion is to express it fully, by welcoming it and by letting this energy discharge pass through you without holding on to the feeling. But you can only express something that you can recognize.
To succeed in being aware of our emotions, you will have to be mindful of what can prevent you from being connected to them. There are three techniques that we use more or less consciously so that we don’t have to experience feelings.
Avoidance consists of diverting one’s attention to immediately feel better: smoking a cigarette, drinking a drink, eating chocolate, plunging into social networks, etc. But in the long term, this diversion strategy will inevitably have negative consequences, as it creates bad habits and even addictions. Ask yourself now. Are you avoiding your feelings with a distraction?
When we react to our immediate emotion, we focus on what is outside of us. If we are angry, we shout, slam doors, in short, we engage in an activity that aims to let the pressure go. But often, when we react, the negative emotion of anger will turn into another negative emotion such as embarrassment, guilt, or shame for breaking something or getting carried away. Would you say that you are a reactive person?
When we resist an emotion, we silence it; we bury it deep down inside ourselves. We push it back like a balloon that we hold below the surface of the water by pressing on it. This requires concentration and considerable effort that makes us feel very bad. But, once again, this technique does not work in the long term. Little by little, you become a real pressure cooker that could explode at any moment or just fall apart.
The characteristic of these strategies for not connecting with your emotions is that they have no benefit other than the short-term advantage of escaping an unpleasant feeling. If it’s a question of avoiding anger, it will remain present, latent, and will regularly come back into our minds if not into your body as a physical illness.
But then, how do we embrace our emotions? The solution is straightforward: we must observe the physical change that is taking place in our bodies and let it happen.
The exercise to become more aware of your emotions consists of carrying out a kind of meditation during which you will let the feeling fully move through you. You will become an observer of what is happening in your body.
When you feel an emotion rising, ask yourself these questions:
- Where is the emotion located in my body?
- What exactly does it feel like?
- What things evoke this emotion in me?
Feel free to ask other questions. The purpose is to get to know the emotion, to experience it, and allow all the time that you need for that exercise. You must enable the space and time to experience it personally.
As you have seen from this guide, it is possible to master anxiety. By demonstrating an effort to heal and move forward, you can eliminate anxiety from your life.