Anxiety disorders are a set of mental illnesses that can cause major adverse effects in individuals’ lives. There are many different potential symptoms of anxiety disorders. Some common signs are including but not limited to:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Experiencing the urge to avoid potential anxiety triggers
- A heightened heart rate
- Hyperventilation, or rapid breathing
- Experience sensations of impending doom, danger, or panic
- Having a hard time controlling feelings of worry
- Difficulty concentrating
Healthline suggests a series of different activities that may abate feelings of anxiety:
- Muscle relaxation: anxiety can manifest in tension or strain in different muscles, which can, in turn, make the anxiety itself more difficult to manage. You can rapidly decrease muscle tension by sitting in a comfortable and quiet location and closing your eyes. Then, breathe slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. Make a tight fist and squeeze it tightly, holding it for a few seconds and noticing the tension in your hand. Slowly open your fingers, while remaining aware of what you are feeling. Your hand will, with time, feel more relaxed and lighter overall. Continue tensing and releasing other muscles, such as your shoulders, feet and legs, but make sure to avoid any areas you are injured.
- Remaining present: mindfulness is a practice that hinges on staying present in the moment; it can encourage a reduction in anxious feelings, particularly when one’s thoughts are racing. To practice mindfulness, you should again sit quietly in a comfortable location and close your eyes. Pay attention to your body and breathing, then shift your focus on to your surroundings: what is happening around you? What do you hear, feel, or smell? Continue altering your focus until your anxiety begins to take the back seat.
- Breathing exercises: anxiety can lead to an increase in breathing and heart rates; this can escalate into feelings of dizziness. To conduct a breathing exercise, sit again in a comfortable and quiet location with one hand on your stomach and one on your chest. Make sure that your stomach moves more than your chest as you take deep breaths. Through your nose, take in a regular and slow breath, focusing on your hands as you breathe in. The hand that is placed on your chest should stay still, and the hand on your stomach should move a little bit. Slowly breathe out through your mouth and repeat at least 10 times, or until you feel your anxiety easing up.
- Visualization exercises: Painting a mental picture that brings you joy and relaxation can lead to calmness in your body and mind, particularly when you are experiencing anxiety. Sit down in a comfortable, quiet place when you feel anxiety coming on, imagining your favorite or ideal place to relax. It can be anywhere as long as the image you conjure makes you feel safe, peaceful, and happy. Consider the fine details you would come across if you were physically there: the feels, sounds, and smells. Imagine yourself in that location. Once your “happy place” is visualized, take in slow, regular breaths through your nose and out through your mouth, staying alert to your breathing while focusing on your happy place. Revisit this location anytime you feel anxious.
- Interrupt your anxious thinking: when you are experiencing anxiety, you may have a difficult time thinking clearly; you may even start to believe harmful, untrue thoughts that can build upon the anxiety you are already experiencing. You may be able to break your anxious thought cycle by reading a book, listening to music, focusing on a nice thought (such as something you are looking forward to), or singing a silly song to an upbeat tempo about your anxiety.
Another highly effective form of combating anxiety is group therapy. And here at Grouport, we offer online group therapy. You may find answers to Grouport related FAQs here.