Keeping it real and using science to explain

Anxiety: 10 action steps that work

Posted in Mental Health Stress
at 2015.09.29
With 0 Comments

Anxiety cropped

Anxiety disorders are treatable. The sooner you get help, the faster your recovery. By taking ten small steps, you can change your reaction to stress and gain a greater sense of control.

Anxiety can often feel “paralyzing.” It’s not that you can’t move your muscle; instead, you mentally overthink things.  At work you worry obsessively about missing deadlines.  Socially you avoid situations that might make you feel embarrassed, judged or analyzed.  Sleepless nights, indigestion, and fatigue become part of your norm. Even your closest friends seem “different” to you.  And for some, anxiety doesn’t get any better rather, instead, it gets worse over time.

When should I get help?

Anxiety “once in a blue moon” is perfectly normal and can naturally be part of your everyday life.  We certainly expect it right before a big exam or when public speaking. But when anxiety is “on” more days than not and interfering with your daily life, it’s now time to do something about it.

Don’t let anxiety overpower you. Take the following ten steps:

1. Identify your fears. Knowing your fears gives you the power to diminish them. Anxiety results when you can’t identify what’s bothering you.

2.  Challenge your fear. For you are a decision maker. Only you can control it by the decisions you make. The decision to not let fear control you.

3. Turn your fear and anxiety into calming thoughts. Instead of racing thoughts that worsen your anxiety, take a slow breath in and then breath out and tell yourself the following:

  • “I can see the positive to this”
  • “This too shall pass”
  • “There is no harm that will come to me”
  • “I can do this” or “I’ve done it before”
  • “It’s not that bad” and ” I can do it again”
  • “I can feel myself calming and relaxing now”

4.  Work on your breathing and visualization. Clear anxious thoughts as soon as they begin. Take a deep breath in, close your eyes, and visualize you are somewhere pleasant.


5. When you are feeling tense, relax your muscles. Tense muscles tense your mind and will only make anxiety “feel” even worse. Progressively squeeze and contract the muscles in your feet all the way up to your shoulders. Relax your muscles in between each muscle group.


6. Visualize yourself as calm and relaxed.  Close your eyes. Use an off switch, a switch that you imagine right next to you, so that you only have to turn it off when you are feeling stressed.

7. Get enough sleep. A rested mind is more capable of handling the stressors of the day. Get a full 7-9 hours of sleep per day.

Take a daily 10-30 minute power nap. Power naps reduce information overload, boost your memory, and improve your performance during the day.

8. Get regular exercise. When your body feels strong and healthy, so does your mind. Exercise releases brain chemicals that can reduce stress and elevate your mood and spirits.

9. Eat healthy.  Increase foods high in omega 3 essential fatty acids such as fish. A myriad of studies have shown that Omega 3’s can reduce anxiety and stress. Decrease foods that can affect your energy and make you feel jittery such as sugar and caffeine.

10. Why not try acupuncture?  It’s an option worth looking into it.  This centuries- old  popular method of healing has demonstrated an ability to reduce anxiety and stress.

For more moderate to severe anxiety, seek out a practitioner who specializes in treating anxiety disorders. They may advise behavioral techniques, vitamins and herbs, or medications as the most effective treatment for you. 




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