A little bit of anxiety is good. If you’re nervous about an upcoming job interview, or a first date, anxiety can help you better prepare for what lies ahead. But, if you start to feel severely anxious over little activities you do routinely, or nothing at all, there may be a problem.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting more than 40 million children, teenagers, and adults. So what are a few ways you can reduce your anxiety? We’re glad you asked! Anxiety can be controlled by a number of small lifestyle changes and techniques. If you are suffering from anxiety, these are a few techniques that may help put your mind at ease.
1. Take a deep breath.
During an anxiety attack, your body physically reacts to the stress it’s under – making your heart race and your breathing increase. The next time you feel anxious, go to a quiet, calm room and breath in deeply. This will help slow your heart rate down to its resting point.
2. Grab a glass of water.
Dehydration can contribute to anxiety, so drinking plenty of water throughout the day can actually help prevent anxiety attacks. But if you do have one, a glass of water can also help slow your heart rate and calm you down.
3. Live by the motto, “less is more.”
One of the most common sources of stress is money. Thinking about debt and other expenses can make it difficult to sleep and elevate your stress levels. During the day, make a list of all of your expenses and try to cut back on unnecessary purchases.
4. Smell the roses.
Okay, maybe not roses, but try smelling the lavender. Lavender oil has been shown help with insomnia (which can be caused by anxiety) and is a muscle relaxant.
5. Get a good night’s sleep.
Poor sleep and anxiety are a vicious cycle. The more anxious you are, the more difficult it is to sleep, which makes you more anxious, and so on. On a less stressful or anxious night, make sure you head to bed early and get a quality night’s sleep.
6. Start meditating in the morning or at night.
Sure, everyone knows meditation is relaxing, but research shows that it actually increases the amount of grey matter in your brain – which contributes to decreased stress levels.
7. Plan for the future.
If you know why you are anxious (because you have a major assignment or project due, are going on an interview, or because you are meeting someone new), think about ways to better prepare yourself for the next time you’re in the same situation. If you waited too long to complete a big project, start it earlier next time. If you are nervous about meeting someone new, try thinking of a few topics of conversation, so you won’t feel as nervous.
Social anxiety is common among people on the autism spectrum. If you or someone you know is looking to find their path on the way to success while having Asperger’s, anxiety, or both, than call Debra Solomon of Spectrum Strategies. She helps young adults with autism, Asperger’s, and other disabilities identify their strengths and challenges to help find a job, vocational program, or school that best fits them!