Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC
Executive Director: AllCEUs.com
Podcast Host: Counselor Toolbox and Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery
Become a member at DocSnipes.com to be able to chat with Doc Snipes via text or video chat.
- Get enough sleep. When your body is run down, it perceives a threat. It realizes that you’re not as able to escape from danger because you’re exhausted. Lack of sleep also makes it more difficult to concentrate and get through the activities of the day which can increase your stress levels and your anxiety. Getting enough sleep is essential to helping your body rebalance the brain chemicals and hormones needed to feel happy and relaxed.
- Know your triggers and address the threat. Anxiety is a response to a perceived threat. It doesn’t mean that there is a threat, it just means your brain thinks there might be a threat. If you identify the things that trigger your anxiety then you can reduce unnecessary upset. Figure out why your body thinks it’s a threat and address that.
- Manage your time. Poor time management can lead a long hours at work and poor sleep, or just an increase in stress and anxiety because you get too much to do. Effective time management requires that you identify what most important to get done and create a plan, and learn to say no when people ask you to do things if you do not have time to do them.
- Examine the evidence. Anxiety is half of the fight or flight response. When you feel anxiety one of the first things you can do is to examine the evidence. You may feel a certain way, but what is the objective evidence that there is a threat or that this is dangerous?
- Have a positive outlook. If you always see the glass is half empty, or are waiting for the other shoe to drop your anxiety will be a lot higher. Try to look for the silver lining, see the positives and enjoy life.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and stimulants. As alcohol leaves the body there is a rebound anxiety response. While some people trained in order to help calm their nerves, it actually often works against them and increases anxiety in the long run. Caffeine and stimulants also tend to cause your heart to be faster and you to feel symptoms of anxiety. Avoiding these things, or at least being aware that they may be causing your symptoms can be helpful in reducing anxiety.
- Manage blood sugar. Your body runs on sugars and fats. When your blood sugar gets low, your brain perceives this is a threat. It sends out adrenaline in order to keep you going and cause a surge of blood sugar. If your blood sugar is low you may start to feel irritable, anxious and shaky. Making sure to manage blood sugar can help minimize symptoms of anxiety.
- Get support. Sometimes life just sucks. You may have things to be anxious about. During these times it is important to get support from other people. They can help you deal with the threat and reduce your anxiety.
- Pet and animal. Research has repeatedly shown that petting an animal can help reduce blood pressure, calm anxiety and reduce depression.
- Get exercise. Exercise helps your body release serotonin which is one of your main anti anxiety brain chemicals. You don’t have to do intense exercise, any moderate exercise for about 30 minutes can help you improve your mood and reduce anxiety.
Like depression, there are many causes of anxiety. It is important to look at all causes and try to address one at a time.