Anxiety is behind many of the unpleasant experiences we live with on a daily basis. Fear of speaking in public, fear of failing an exam, the desire to return home after spending a lot of time in a place we don’t know… The number of contexts in which this psychological phenomenon is stalking us is very large.
Therefore, knowing how to control anxiety is something that can be very useful , since there are some strategies to achieve it that can be applied in practically any situation, and in a relatively simple way.
How to control anxiety?
Anxiety is a state of nervous system activation that is oriented towards the anticipation of danger, whether real or imagined. As it is something so general, it has a physiological and a psychological aspect: in the first one appear phenomena such as tremors, sweating and acceleration of the pulse, and in the second one there are phenomena such as the emotion of fear, the desire to avoid an aversive stimulus, and the difficulties to control the emotional responses to a situation .
Now… how can we control anxiety and make its effects lessened or even disappear? Let’s look at it.
1. Eliminate anxiety eating
Many people fall into the trap of going to the refrigerator to gorge themselves on food every time they notice that anxiety is becoming excessive.
This may be a very short-term solution, but it has a very harmful effect in the medium and long term. Why? Because it enters into a dynamic of rewarding the appearance of anxiety episodes. The body gets used to this busy emotional life and that, of course, is anything but healthy.
So, something as simple as setting clear limits on meal times can go a long way toward stopping the onset of anxiety.
2. Take care of yourself and do moderate sport
We often forget that anxiety is also connected to our self-esteem and self-concept. If we believe that we are insignificant beings and whenever we think about ourselves we concentrate only on our imperfections, obviously we will come to the conclusion that the day to day is full of dangers for us, and that therefore we must always be alert.
Something as simple as playing sports regularly, trying to eat healthy and maintaining good personal hygiene will make us feel better about ourselves . The results of this are surprising, and they usually make themselves felt within a few days. If the way we think about ourselves changes, so does the way we see the world.
3. Practice breathing techniques
In many ways, our mood and emotions depend largely on the degree of activation of the nervous system. If there is a lack of oxygen, we will experience more stress, as our body will enter an alarm phase to find a solution to the situation. The problem is that part of this oxygen deficit may be due to the way we breathe.
Breathing techniques help us to get the most out of our lungs, and this allows us to gain a significant advantage in those specific moments when we feel too active. Moreover, the fact of offering us a simple exercise in which to focus our attention helps us to lose sight of that unpleasant feeling of being overwhelmed by the need to do several tasks at once, something very typical of anxious contexts.
4. Stop what you are doing and go for a walk
Many times, anxiety is due to being surrounded by elements that remind us of something that worries us. That is why it is useful to disconnect, even for a few moments, and then return with renewed strength.
When we go for a walk, we have the possibility to find new stimuli that demand our attention and that allow us to “refresh” our mind. Specifically, if we go out to totally unknown places, the references that evoke memories linked to what concerns us will be much less abundant. In this sense, environments in which nature prevails , such as fields or large parks, have proved particularly effective against anxiety.
These phases in which distraction prevails help to rest , and in this way we gain power to change what worries us once we have returned to the routine.
5. Avoid caffeine
If you consume products with caffeine, such as coffee or certain cola drinks, you will be cheating. Remember that the distinction between body and mind is only a mirage, and many of the substances we habitually consume affect how we feel. Caffeine makes us prone to become activated by stimuli that we wouldn’t normally give much thought to. Anxiety control is also achieved through diet.
6. Sleep well
This condition is indispensable, since in a sleepy state it is very easy for everyday situations to overtake us . Sleeping well makes us much more prepared to face the day-to-day.