It is common to experience anxiety occasionally. Anything from job interviews, social gatherings and other personal vulnerabilities tend to evoke anxiety at times that vanishes on its own. However, for some people these experiences can be more than a momentary restlessness. Individuals with persistent restlessness or fear are likely to suffer from anxiety disorders.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), almost one in five American adults reports anxiety each year. An individual with anxiety disorders experiences increased feelings of fear and uncertainty, affecting his/her ability to perform everyday activities. Moreover, the mental condition may also raise one’s risk of developing other problems like depression and substance abuse. However, most anxiety disorders are treatable. “It’s important to be aware that many different kinds of treatments are available, and people with anxiety disorders tend to have very good responses to those treatments,” says Dr. James Gross, a clinical psychologist at Stanford University.
It’s always better to keep mental disorders like anxiety at bay by making some changes in one’s lifestyle. Here are some suggestions that people battling anxiety can adopt to enjoy a better quality of life:
- Staying physically active: Indulging in 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week can help boost mental health. Exercise helps in minimizing stress by improving mood and maintaining physical health. People with mental illnesses should start out slowly, and then gradually increase the intensity and amount of physical activity.
- Eat healthy: Good nutrition is key to sound mental health. Healthy food has a positive impact on the management and prevention of mental health problems like anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, among others. Food items rich in essential fats, complex carbohydrates, amino acids, and vitamins and minerals can help improve our overall health. Moreover, drinking enough water is also essential to maintaining optimum mental as well as physical health.
- Avoiding alcohol and recreational drugs: According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), around 20 percent of Americans with an anxiety or mood disorder have an alcohol or other substance use disorder. Experts say that individuals battling anxiety or showing the signs of anxiety and other mood disorders should quit alcohol and drugs as soon as possible. In case they find it difficult to get over the addiction on their own, they can contact a reputed rehab center.
- Quitting nicotine and caffeine: Some people resort to smoking for its calming effect. However, it is a false perception as nicotine tends to increase blood pressure and heart rate, the physical symptoms associated with anxiety. Similarly, anxious people should also avoid caffeinated beverages as they can aggravate the symptoms.
- Practicing relaxation techniques: Stress management and relaxation techniques, including meditation and yoga, can help ease anxiety. While it may take a while to develop a routine for these techniques, these are beneficial in the long run.
- Getting ample sleep: As per the ADAA, 54 percent people with stress or anxiety experienced increased anxiety about falling asleep at night. Anxiety patients also complained of disturbed sleep at night, called as midnight anxiety.
- Socializing: Some people get anxious at a mere thought of socializing. However, studies show that socializing can be an effective technique to overcome anxiety. Meeting like-minded people, sharing thoughts and seeking emotional support can go a long way in helping people recover from social anxiety. It can be difficult in the beginning, but is possible with continuous support from family and friends.
- Seeking and sticking to treatment: Sometimes, anxiety becomes so severe that it begins to impair one’s quality of life. In such a case, it is time to seek professional help. It is important to follow the instructions of a medical professional and stick to the treatment plan.
Seeking professional treatment
If you are suffering from severe anxiety or any other mental disorder, it’s always advisable to seek professional treatment. Call the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline at 855-653-8178 to help your loved ones recover from anxiety. Our 247 mental health helpline provides reliable information about the best 247 mental health treatment center near you. You can even chat online with one of our representatives for more information.