If you're a highly anxious person, it's probably not all that comforting to hear that anxiety will always be around in some capacity. The truth is, anxiety is within the range of human emotions, and almost all of us experience it to a certain extent.
Anxiety is rooted in fear, and from an evolutionary perspective, fear and anxiety serve a real purpose: By staying aware of our surroundings and looking out for potential threats to ourselves and the people we love, we keep ourselves safe. Anxiety only becomes a real problem when we start to apply it to things that don't serve us, or when it begins to take up way too much space in our brains and bodies.
People who deal with anxiety on a regular basis likely know the standard advice around it: Talk to a mental health professional, write in your journal, meditate, exercise regularly, the list goes on and on. While all of these things are great and proven to help with anxiety, there are some lesser-known tactics that can really help, too.
Here are five of them.
Unique Ways to Help With Anxiety
1. Work on noticing when you're not anxious
If you experience anxiety, you're probably familiar with certain thoughts or feelings bubbling up in your body at which point you say to yourself, "there it is! There's my anxiety." It's great to be aware that the knot in your stomach is anxiety. It's also great to connect with the fact that the feeling that all your friends are made at you is probably rooted in anxiety rather than reality. But it's equally important not pay attention to when you feel calm.
Many of us hold an idea that we're anxious all the time, but if we really stop to pay attention, we'll notice that this isn't the case. There are times when we're not worried; times when we feel very free. Understanding that we're not always anxious can be incredibly liberating, and start us on a path toward more non-anxious moments.
2. Lean in to supplements and other anxiety-related products
Over 40 million adults in the United States experience anxiety, so it makes sense that there's quite a large market for products that help with anxiety. Will they all help? No, but it may be worth dabbling in some of them. Magnesium, for example is a supplement with proven anti-anxiety benefits, as is CBD. Weighted blankets are also known to help provide some immediate relief. So if you find that no matter how hard you try you're constantly in a frazzled, anxious state, try some of the products that promise to help. It can't hurt.
3. Stop saying 'my' anxiety
One thing the popular meditation app Headspace emphasizes is that referring to anxiety as "my" anxiety can actually be a really toxic habit. You may not think you do this, but if you really stop to consider it, you may realize you're wrong: Think about the last time you felt nervous, whether it was before a big presentation at work or just in general, and comforted yourself by saying, "Oh, that's just my anxiety."
When we use the word "my"or "mine" in reference to something, we're identifying with it. When we identify with something, it's harder to shake it. So the next time you notice an anxious thought or feeling bubble up, simply say to yourself, "That's anxiety" instead of "That's my anxiety."
4. Cut out sugar—or at least eat less of it
When we think about eating less sugar, we often think about doing it for health-related reasons. Yes, eating less sugar will benefit your health and maybe help you lose weight, but sugar is actually famous for stoking anxiety, and there's plenty of research to support the idea that sugar can worsen it.
5. Stop resisting anxiety
Some people really resist anxiety. And this makes sense—anxiety is not a comfortable emotion, so we want to get away from it as quickly as possible. While the intention may be good, the actual act of resisting it is not. As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, anxiety is in the range of human emotions, so it will probably always be around somewhere. So the next time it pops up, try acknowledging it, and being OK with the fact that it's there. By greeting it with less resistance and more acceptance, you may find that the thought or feeling simply floats by, and you get less absorbed in it.
Anxiety isn't fun, and dealing with it gets incredibly frustrating when we feel like we're doing absolutely everything we can to treat or even get rid of it, and don't see a change. So try these tips, and if you're not yet talking to a mental health professional, seek one out—that can really help.
Want more great blog posts? Give these ones a read: