How to Take Control of Anxiety

Overview

If you’re one of the nearly 40 million Americans suffering from anxiety disorders, you’ve probably tried many different approaches to get your anxiety levels under control. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that if you think you have an anxiety problem, you should seek help right away. The NIMH also reports that medication will not cure anxiety, although many medications can bring about temporary relief. However, with new forms of research, different methods of dealing with anxiety are being uncovered, and you’re no longer limited to psychopharmacological solutions.

Step 1

Develop a relaxation routine. Relaxation techniques such as guided meditation, yoga and other forms of meditation can be very useful in lessening the symptoms of anxiety. The Mayo Clinic’s article “Meditation: Take a stress reduction break wherever you are,” reports that meditation might decrease anxiety by helping you increase self-awareness, reduce negative emotions and focus on the present. Many people who suffer from anxiety disorders focus too much attention on the past or the future and tend to be hyper-critical of themselves. Placing the focus on something else, at least temporarily, can help to decrease feelings of panic and create a more calm and centered feeling.

Step 2

Join a support group. Anxiety sufferers tend to socially isolate themselves, especially if they suffer from specific anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia or social phobia. A support group can provide a safe forum for sharing experiences and obtaining advice from others who experience similar symptoms. The National Institute of Mental Health suggests that many people with anxiety can benefit from sharing their problems with others in the form of either an in-person or online support group. The Anxiety Disorders Association of American also has a listing for a telephone support group on its website.

Step 3

Take care of your body. The National Institute of Mental Health suggests avoiding caffeine, illicit drugs and even certain over-the-counter cold medications, since these things can exacerbate the symptoms of anxiety. Nearly everyone who specializes in the treatment of anxiety disorders will recommend maintaining or developing healthy eating patterns. In his article “Generalized Anxiety Disorder,” medical expert and health adviser Dr. Andrew Weil emphasizes the importance of eating well and getting regular exercise for those dealing with panic and anxiety disorders.

About this Author

Stacy Mosel is a licensed social worker specializing in child and adolescent therapy. She holds a master’s degree in social work and a B.A. in music, and writes for several online publications, including eHow, Suite101, and Associated Content. She is a certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast, and makes her own bath and body products.