Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the United States. They affect 40 million adults, or 18.1% of the population, every year. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment. When left untreated, anxiety disorders can lead to serious physical and psychological problems, and can decrease the quality of a person’s life.
While there are many effective treatments for anxiety disorders, including medication and therapy, there are also a number of ways to manage anxiety without medication. These self-care strategies can help to lessen the symptoms of anxiety, and can be used in conjunction with other treatments.
1. Get regular exercise
Exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. It releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects, and it also reduces the level of stress hormones in the body. A moderate amount of exercise is the key to anxiety relief, so aim for 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.
2. Get enough sleep
Sleep is essential for both physical and mental health. When you’re anxious, you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. This can lead to a vicious cycle of anxiety andSleep deprivation can make anxiety worse, so it’s important to get enough sleep. Make sure to establish a regular sleep schedule, and create a calming bedtime routine.
3. Eat a healthy diet
The foods you eat can impact your anxiety levels. Eating a diet that’s high in unhealthy fats and processed sugars can make anxiety worse. To help reduce anxiety, eat a healthy diet that’s rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
4. Limit alcohol and caffeine
While a glass of wine or a cup of coffee may seem to help reduce anxiety in the short-term, alcohol and caffeine are actually two of the biggest culprits when it comes to making anxiety worse. Both of these substances can lead to increased anxiety and make it more difficult to manage stress. If you’re struggling with anxiety, it’s best to avoid alcohol and caffeine altogether.
5. Practice relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques are a great way to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. There are a number of different techniques you can try, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization. Experiment with different techniques to see what works best for you.