Anxiety is a firm part of the modern world. Job stress, relational conflict, and global concerns are some of the worries that can assault us from the morning headlines or the evening news report.
If you feel that anxiety is keeping you from living a full-bodied, upbeat life each day, it may be time to take proactive steps to reduce its influence. Here are some ideas for bringing anxiety under control:
- Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen. Imagine the worst possible scenario in your mind can help you face your greatest fear and realize nothing is that bad. Granted, there may be some scary or difficult issues to confront, but 90% of what we fear doesn’t come to pass anyway, so you may be worrying for nothing. Realizing that there is some distance between the events of the present and your greatest worry can put your mind at ease.
- Get help. Set up a support network with a close family member or a few friends. Meet weekly over coffee or tea to share how things are going in your lives. When you see that everyone struggles with problems of one kind or another, you may relax, knowing that all of you are in the same boat to a greater or lesser degree. The old saying holds true, “Misery loves company.” Just knowing you’re not alone, that others struggle too, and that a few close friends really care about you can do wonders to enhance positive feelings.
- Live a healthy lifestyle. Eat nutritiously, following the pyramid diet advocated by many health organizations like the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association. Exercise frequently, if not daily, after getting your physician’s permission. Healthy food and regular exercise help to release the body’s endorphins, which can promote a sense of well-being. Some studies suggest that a little bit of daily sunlight, as little as ten minutes a day, can contribute to a healthy mindset. Ask your doctor is this is a sound plan for you to try.
- Write about your troubles. Keep a journal to record your fears, worries, and concerns. Studies show that writing about a negative experience for twenty minutes about three times a week can give you a sense of control over the problem and boost your body’s immune function. Handwrite your worries away in a notebook or type them into a computer file.
- Develop a spiritual side. Research suggests that people who attend worship services regularly, pray, and fellowship with like-minded believers are healthier, worry less, and live longer than those who do not cultivate a spiritual dimension.
You also should consult your doctor about getting an annual physical examination to be sure there are no underlying problems contributing to your stress. High blood pressure and thyroid problems can affect your heart rate and other body systems, while hormones can play havoc with emotions, so ask your doctor about tests that may be able to pinpoint possible contributing factors.
While everyone worries occasionally, there is no reason to be consumed by it. Try strategies like these or consult a counselor to discuss other options.