It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious about an upcoming event like a public speaking engagement or your first day at a new job.
However, if you constantly feel anxious over trivial issues it can have a very serious impact on your quality of life.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps that you can take to reduce your anxiety levels.
This article will explain the causes of anxiety and share three simple tips that will reduce your anxiety levels significantly.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a very common problem that affects more than 6 million people in the United Kingdom.
It causes a variety of physiological and psychological symptoms, and can be quite debilitating if you suffer from it regularly.
No one is immune to anxiety.
People of any age, gender, or financial status can suffer from anxiety at any point in their lives.
While it is true that some people are more prone to being anxious, everyone is at risk.
Anxiety is a normal response that occurs when you are in a stressful or dangerous situation.
It causes your body to release hormones including adrenaline and cortisol to help you deal with the life-threatening situation in front of you.
The release of these hormones is useful because it improves your reaction speed and situational awareness — helping you get away from whatever threat you are facing.
While being anxious is a useful when confronted with imminent danger, it is not helpful when you are going about your daily activities or trying to relax.
If you are constantly in an anxious state, it can eventually have a significant impact on your physical and mental health.
Some of the physical symptoms of persistent anxiety include nausea, chest tightness, sweating, fast heart rate, dry mouth, urge to go to the toilet, and tremors.
The psychological symptoms include agitation, tension, fear of losing control, a sense of dread, and irritability.
The causes of anxiety can vary, but can include:
- Physical health problems that cause hormonal imbalances (for example, thyroid problems)
- High stress levels from work, school, personal relationship problems, financial problems and so on.
- Having a genetic predisposition to anxiety
- Side effects from certain medications
If your feelings of anxiety are strong enough to interfere with your normal daily activities, you may have generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
People with GAD may have panic attacks, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder in addition to their anxiety.
If you believe you have an anxiety disorder, you aren’t alone!
About 1 in 10 adults living in the UK have experienced severe episodes of anxiety at some point in their lives.
However, it is important to seek treatment for your anxiety as soon as possible.
Ways to reduce your anxiety
Take up hobbies that naturally reduce anxiety
There are many hobbies that can reduce your anxiety levels.
The most effective choices include:
Yoga is a popular activities amongst people interested in reducing their anxiety levels — and for good reason.
Researchers from Harvard University have confirmed that yoga can reduce the impact of stress responses, which alleviates the impact of anxiety and depression.
It is extremely effective because it attacks the anxiety problem from multiple angles.
For starters, you will be improving your fitness levels which reduces your resting heart rate and blood pressure — easing two of the main physical symptoms of anxiety.
Yoga is often performed with other people, which can also help you get “out of your head” for a while and help you enjoy some fun social interactions.
Finally, yoga is a meditative practice that promotes mindfulness.
Mindfulness is the process of bringing your attention to experiences occurring in the present moment.
Mindfulness also has been proven to reduce the frequency of anxious thoughts.
Any keen gardener can tell you how invigorating and enjoyable hardening is.
It has been shown to improve mood and reduce the stress hormone cortisol.
Gardening is also a rigorous physical activity that is often performed with other people, further reducing anxious thoughts.
Scientists have discovered that spending time in nature can reduce obsessive, negative thoughts. This makes it an excellent hobby for anxious people.
Hiking will also make you physically fitter, which can further reduce anxiety levels.
Arts and crafts
Getting in touch with your creative side has numerous benefits.
It gives you a way to express your inner emotions, improve your artistic skills, and share your creations with other people.
Research tells us that arts and crafts can also reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Other hobbies that can reduce anxiety include:
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Colouring books and painting
- Knitting and embroidery
Eat well, exercise, and sleep more
Taking good care of your body is a scientifically proven method for reducing anxiety.
Exercise is effective because it lowers the body’s levels of stress hormones, including the hormones primarily responsible for anxiety — adrenaline and cortisol.
There is also plenty of evidence to suggest that sleeping well is important for reducing anxiety.
One recent study found that sleeping less than 8 hours a day increases a person’s risk of having of anxiety and depression.
Sleep-deprived people were less able to tackle negative thoughts compared to people who slept well.
Finally, eating well can also help you relieve your anxiety levels.
Researchers have discovered that a balanced diet that includes fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, complex carbohydrates, and plenty of water will relieve anxiety.
You should avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary foods as they may worsen feelings of anxiety.
Talk to someone about your anxiety
It can be very hard to deal with persistent anxiety by yourself.
The best approach for beating this condition is to talk to friends, family, and health providers.
You will be able to find support and connect with other who have suffered from similar problems.
If you decide to talk to others keep the following in mind:
- Be easy on yourself and take things slowly
- Talk to someone who you know is supportive
- Only share what you feel comfortable talking about
- Be calm and express yourself clearly
- If someone does not react in a helpful way, this is a reflection on their lack of understand — find someone else to talk to
- Consider writing down some of your thoughts before talking to someone
- If you feel embarrassed about your anxiety, talk to a health professional