Anxiety can be a scary thing to deal with. Maybe you have anxiety and are looking for ways to self-soothe when an anxiety attack sets in. Perhaps your child has had separation anxiety since they started going to school. People of all ages can benefit from different anxiety and stress relievers such as routine journaling and cuddling with stuffed animals. Whatever the situation may be, read on to learn 10 tips for coping with anxiety.
1. Practice Deep Breathing — According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults. While anxiety affects everyone differently, there are things that anyone who copes with anxiety can do to better cope with their anxiety. One of the most popular ways to cope with anxiety is to practice deep breathing. You can do so through meditative practice. You can do it during your morning yoga workout. Try it when you’re struggling with a stressful situation at work.
2. Cuddle with a Stuffed Animal — Embrace your inner child and cuddle with a stuffed animal. There’s something truly comforting about looking at and holding some cute stuffed animals. Try and remember what stuffed animal you really enjoyed holding when you were younger. Were you particularly attached to a teddy bear? Maybe it was an elephant stuffed animal you had for years. Having a stuffed animal at any age can help someone cope with anxiety as they cuddle with a well-loved comfort object.
3. Go for a Walk — Sometimes you just need to get some fresh air and go for a walk. The reality is that not all of us have time to work out at the gym every day or go for a brisk walk after work. That means fitting in time for a long walk can be challenging for most of us. It doesn’t have to be a long walk. It can be a quick five- or 10-minute walk during your lunch break. Try to make it a daily habit.
4. Try Journaling — Sometimes, our head is overwhelmed with thoughts and ideas. It’s helpful to gather all of these thoughts running through your mind. Try journaling and writing down your thoughts. Journal on a regular basis, whether it’s daily or weekly. You can see how your thoughts grow or change over time. You can also track your thoughts and see if there are any particular triggers or patterns for you.
5. Understand Your Triggers — There are certain triggers that may be more upsetting than others. Maybe it’s a certain phrase that upsets you. Perhaps it’s a smell that takes you back to a painful memory. Whatever that trigger is, it’s helpful to know what your triggers are to take a step back and understand why that trigger is a trigger in the first place.
6. Stay Healthy — Take care of yourself by staying healthy all around. That means working out and eating well. Get plenty of sleep. If you have a spiritual practice, engage in that. Do things that are good for your mental health, like practicing mindfulness, showing gratitude or volunteering to help others.
7. Cut Back on Alcohol, Smoking and Drugs — Even if you’re not a heavy drinker, it’s a good practice to cut back on alcohol every now and then. If you smoke or partake in illicit drugs, cut back on these things as well, which can also be triggers for anxiety. Even when you feel out of control, deciding to be sober — even if temporarily, like during Dry January — can help you take back control.
8. Laugh When You Can — Don’t forget to laugh when you can. Life is stressful enough as it is. It’s important to take advantage of the good and happy moments. Maybe it’s watching a funny show or going to see your favorite comedian. Play with your pet and watch them do something funny when you go on a walk together. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter has both short-term and long-term benefits. Laughing stimulates the organs, activates and relieves your stress response and soothes tension. Long-term, you’ll see laughter improve your mood and your immune system, relieve pain and increase personal satisfaction.