How to Overcome Anxiety

If you suffer from anxiety, know that you are not alone and it is estimated that around 10 percent of the population will suffer from anxiety at some time in their life. The good news is that anxiety is not something that you simply have to learn to live with, but it is treatable and can be overcome. If your anxiety is severe, you may need guidance from a health professional, however, there are also small things which you can do to overcome anxiety.

Learning some relaxation techniques can be very helpful for stopping an anxiety attack dead in its tracks and for lowering general anxiety levels. Slow, controlled breathing is a simple relaxation technique. Simply sit down comfortably and inhale slowly through your nose, visualizing the air moving in and to your lungs. Feel you chest expand and relax all your muscles. Next, exhale through your mouth, visualizing the air coming out. Doing some breathing exercises for a few minutes every day can go a long way for controlling your anxiety.

Another technique is the use of imagery. Simply close your eyes and think about a place or situation that you feel is very calming. You may imagine sitting on the grass near a river, hearing the splashes of the water and feeling the breeze on your skin. Or you may imagine being at the beach watching the sunset. Whatever the scenario, make it as detailed as possible. Use imagery whenever you feel anxious about something or simply schedule some time each day to visualize calming scenarios.

It is equally important to avoid doing things that increase your anxiety levels. Limit caffeine, alcohol and nicotine as much as possible, as these worsen anxiety. If possible, avoid situations which cause you to feel stressed and do not accept more work/responsibilities than you can handle. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to do activities that you like and get at least seven or eight hours of sleep every night.

Try to get some exercise on most days of the week as physical activity is a powerful tool for overcoming anxiety. It will help to relax your muscles, burn off mental and physical tension, and it will release hormones (endorphins) that naturally calm you down and make you feel good. This effect is often called ‘the runner’s high’.

There is also some evidence than alternative treatments such as hypnosis and herbal supplements containing kava, valerian and passionflower, can be helpful for overcoming anxiety.