Anxiety Disorder

Overcoming Anxiety: Practical Tips for a Calmer Mind

clock 6 Min Read

Nidhi Yenibilli

June 20,2023

Have you ever felt your heart race, your palms sweat, and your voice tremble when you are about to give your presentation, with a sea of faces staring back at you? Or did your heart ever pound in anticipation of needles, strange procedures, or potential bad news while you were waiting to see your doctor?

“Anxiety is an emotion characterized by apprehension and somatic symptoms of tension in which an individual anticipates impending danger, catastrophe, or misfortune.”

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Is Anxiety All Bad?

Anxiety is the body's natural reaction to stress; therefore, it can be beneficial at times, keeping you alert and prepared to act. However, when these feelings of anxiety become severe, difficult to manage, or interfere with daily life, an anxiety disorder may develop. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), anxiety disorder affects one in every 13 individuals worldwide, making it one of the most common mental health conditions.

How Do You Know You Have Anxiety?

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If you have anxiety, you might experience physical symptoms like- Rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweaty hands, muscle tension, fatigue, sleep difficulties, etc. It can also cause apprehension or worry, Irritability, Difficulty concentrating, Fear of losing control, Negative self-talk etc. All these feelings can make one avoid situations, make excuses, and isolate themselves.

How To Overcome Anxiety?

  1. Breathe and Relax: Take a deep breath for 4 seconds, swelling your belly like a balloon and extending your chest, then hold for 4 seconds before slowly releasing all worries with each exhale for 8 seconds. This simple technique, when done intentionally, sends a message to your body, saying, "It's okay, relax."

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    Deep, controlled breathing activates the parasympathetic nerve system, which reduces heart rate, releases stress chemicals, and relieves physical tension. It can relax your body and mind by directing your attention to your breathing.

  2. Meditation and Mindfulness: A crowded mind breeds worry, much like a cluttered space appears chaotic. By clearing your thoughts, mindfulness and meditation help you create a peaceful, cosy refuge where you can fully relax and rejuvenate!

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  3. To engage in mindful meditation:

    • Find a peaceful, distraction-free area, then take a seat comfortably.
    • Focus on the present moment and direct your focus on something, such as a thought, or object, or bodily sensations such as the flow of your breath.
    • Let any thoughts or emotions that come up pass without judgment. Gently return your focus to the here and now if you notice that your thoughts are straying.
  4. Self-care and Distraction: Imagine you're indulging in a bubble bath of relaxation, surrounded by candles and soft music, or diving into a book that you love.These activities trigger the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine associated with pleasure and relaxation which helps to counteract the physiological effects of anxiety by redirecting your focus onto something other than your anxiety.

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  5. To achieve this practice, follow these steps:

    • Take some time to reflect on activities that bring you joy and relaxation.(Jamming to your favourite music, eating delicious food etc)
    • Carve out dedicated time in your schedule to engage in them regularly.
    • When engaging in self-care activities, focus on being fully present in the moment.

    By incorporating such self-care practices into your routine, you create opportunities for mental rejuvenation and emotional resilience.

  6. Move Your Body and Spend Time in Nature: Nature's symphony soothes your mind: birdsong hushes worries, and fresh air washes away stress. Studies found that regular physical activity improves mood and can help clear your mind and reduce tension. Spending time in green spaces such as parks and forests are healthy ways to manage stress and anxiety.

  7. To reap the benefits of overcoming anxiety from this,you can and do the following:

    • Go for a quick walk or run.
    • Hiking
    • Camping
    • Trekking
    • Practice Yoga
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    This will not just enhance your physical well-being but it also puts your mind in a serene state which can assist you in overcoming anxiety.

  8. Get Good Sleep: Sleep can also have a powerful effect on your mental well-being and anxiety levels. Research has found that problems with sleep are one risk factor for developing anxiety disorders. Hence, it is very important to have good sleep which fosters a calmer mind and helps you overcome your anxiety.

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    For that,

    • Prioritize getting enough sleep by aiming for 7-8 hours per night, as a lack of sleep can worsen anxiety symptoms.
    • Avoid using devices before bedtime, as they can disrupt your sleep quality.
    • Establish a consistent sleep schedule to ensure you can recharge your body and mind with restful sleep.
  10. Write/Talk it Out: Expressing your thoughts and feelings can be therapeutic. Journal your thoughts and emotions which may provide a positive outlet for clearing your mind and help reduce stress and anxiety.

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    The oxytocin and natural opioids that we release when we connect with loved ones may exert a calming influence on our bodies. The realisation that we have somebody to talk to can soothe our minds and reduce anxiety. Spend time with friends and family and tell them when you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you.

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Reach Out For Help Today!

Remember that it's okay to seek help and take action to reduce your anxiety. You are not alone; there are services available to help you overcome anxiety. If your anxiety is interfering with your everyday functioning, you should get professional help right away. Mental health specialists are qualified to provide information, support, and therapeutic strategies to help you manage anxiety and improve your overall quality of life. If you need expert assistance, reach out to us at Heart It Out. We are here for you.

Written by Nidhi Yenibilli

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