Anxiety is the most common mental illness, with 18% of Americans struggling with anxiety disorders each year. Factor in the fact that our lives are increasingly stressful and chaotic, and you've got a recipe for chronic stress, whether or not you have an anxiety disorder. If you're ready to move past constant anxiety, these simple lifestyle remedies can help get you there.
Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your physical and mental health. Not only can it give you temporary relief from stress by burning off anxious energy; it also helps calm your mind over time. Some people even report that exercise is more effective than medication!
Meditation fundamentally alters the way your brain functions, offering rapid relief from even the most intense anxiety. Over time, meditation can help “train” your brain to process stressful events differently, offering both short and long-term relief from chronic stress.
The Right Diet
Some people with anxiety find that specific diets help them, but research on this issue is mixed. What is clear, though, is that unhealthy foods and stimulants will absolutely increase your anxiety. Reduce or eliminate caffeine and refined sugars from your diet, and consider whether other foods—such as trans fats or prepackaged snacks—worsen your anxiety. You may have to do a little experimenting to find the right diet, but what you put into your body affects what you get out, so don't discount the importance of what you eat.
Change Your Reactions
You can't control the stress of everyday life, but you can change the way you react to challenges both large and small. It's tempting to react to a snarky Facebook post with more nastiness, escalating the dispute and leading to more anxiety. Likewise, if your spouse says something ugly, responding with kindness can help you avoid the wash of anxiety that often coincides with these fights. It's not always easy to change the way you react, but therapy can help you understand where your reactions are problematic while giving you the skills to change those reactions.