Unfortunately, there is no specific method that can completely stop anxiety from affecting you or someone you know. However, this doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do about it, as there are preventive measures that may alleviate these negative feelings and prevent them from interfering with your life.
Make It a Point to Help Your Mind
Given that anxiety disorders are considered mental illnesses, it’s important to practice techniques that target the brain and release pent-up feelings of anxiety. Notable examples include:1,2,3
• Taking a deep breath: Proper, deep and diaphragmatic breathing may assist in reducing feelings of anxiety. According to Marla W. Deibler, a clinical psychologist and director of the Center for Emotional Health of Greater Philadelphia, this type of breathing activates your body’s relaxation response, and assists the body in shifting from the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system, toward the relaxed feedback of the parasympathetic nervous system.
• Affirming yourself with positive self-talk: An effective way to counteract the negative thoughts that manifest when you’re anxious would be through reciting positive statements, such as:
◦ “I’m OK. This is just anxiety and I will get over it.”
◦ “I have a great life and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
◦ “My anxiety won’t control me.”
◦ “I am calm.”
• Talking to a close friend or a person whom you trust about your situation: If you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, do not hesitate to communicate your feelings to another person. Talking or confiding in someone you know takes your mind off the symptoms you’re experiencing and allows you to focus more on the person you’re talking to.
• Focusing on the “Now”: According to Tom Corboy, a therapist and founder and executive director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles, “When people are anxious, they are usually obsessing about something that might occur in the future.”
This may sound cliché, but pausing, breathing and paying attention to what is happening at the moment is key in alleviating anxiety. People with anxiety disorders should focus on trying to live a fruitful life on a daily basis, as opposed to having a train of thought that stresses on the elimination of anxious feelings as a whole. The more effort you exert in completely eliminating the negative feelings, the less relaxed you may be.
Your Lifestyle Plays a Role in Preventing Anxiety Too
Aside from helping your mind curb feelings of anxiety, make sure to incorporate changes to your lifestyle too. These little tweaks may prove to be the difference in the long run:4
Getting regular exercise
Maintaining a regular sleep pattern
Following a healthy diet of fresh and organically grown fruits and vegetables, with moderate portions of high-quality, grass fed meats and substantial amounts of healthy fats
Enlisting the help of a professional for counseling and support after a traumatic experience
Talking to your physician or pharmacist if you spot anxiety-inducing substances in over-the-counter medicines or herbal remedies, so the risk of complications may be reduced