7 Unique Ways to Combat Anxiety
By: Jenna Savage
Anxiety isn’t always harmful. In fact, for some people who have anxiety, it can serve as a motivating force for accomplishing tasks and doing one’s best, as we’ve reported in the past. Unfortunately, however, excessive anxiety can have the opposite effect, interfering with progress and causing problems like insomnia or trouble with public speaking. When anxiety reaches such high levels, it’s important to seek help from a doctor or counselor. However, talk therapy and medication aren’t the only ways to combat anxiety. There are a number of other methods for reducing stress and nervous feelings, some of which are listed below. If you’ve taken steps to decrease your anxiety but have found that you’re still suffering, consider the following suggestions.
- Try aromatherapy. Herbal aromas can have a relaxing effect on anxiety sufferers. In particular, odors emitted by jasmine, peppermint, and lavender have helped some patients feel less stressed. Some proponents of aromatherapy use oils and perfumes as well, and may choose to wear the scents throughout the day.
- Find a new hobby. Occupying your time with something that you enjoy doing, such as biking or painting, can help you keep stress at bay. Many people find that engaging in a hobby makes it easier for them to relax, as activities keep their focus away from the things that are causing them stress. Creative hobbies like writing or drawing can also serve as media through which you can vent how you feel.
- Quit smoking. A recent BBC News article reports that quitting smoking can have the long-term effect of reducing anxiety. In fact, researchers called the decrease in anxiety levels “significant” after the smokers had quit for six months. Unfortunately, smokers need to get through the symptoms of withdrawal once they quit, but if they can do that, the long-term mental and physical benefits can be worthwhile.
- Practice breathing. Everyone breathes automatically and without conscious effort. However, anxiety and stress can have an effect on breathing, causing suffers to take short breaths or even pant. Deep breathing exercises can therefore help you relax if you’re stressed or calm down if you’re panicked. Practicing breathing can also work as a preventative for extreme anxiety.
- Listen to music. Music therapy can help patients vent their emotions. Listening to music can also provide an enjoyable experience that decreases stress and aids relaxation. Music can therefore be a medium through which anxiety can be reduced.
- Exposure yourself to your stressors. Exposure therapy can be a strong tool for decreasing stress. The more a patient learns to adjust to stressful situations, the easier it will be to handle those situations in the future. Exposure therapy can therefore reduce anxiety. However, it is best sought with the help of a doctor or mental health professional.
- Indulge. Sometimes, the best way to reduce anxiety is to set aside a little time to indulge in what you love. Whether it’s a TV marathon or a tasty treat, consider allowing yourself some room to do what brings you pleasure. You may find that it helps you relax.