We all feel anxious at times. That’s normal. However, if you have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) you can experience worry to an extreme degree. Your symptoms can include insomnia, irritability, excessive worrying, fatigue, and an inability to concentrate.
GAD is common enough that it’s estimated to affect as many as 6.8 million people in the US alone. If you feel uncommonly anxious for the most part, you can always go to a psychologist to have yourself checked.
Whether or not you have GAD, you can reduce stress in various ways. Here are simple coping techniques you can try out when you’re in a stressful situation and you want to manage your anxiety:
1. Call a Friend (or Your Psychologist)
If you’re stressed, you may want to take a break and call a friend. That you can do so, so easily these days is one of the benefits of the ubiquity of smartphones. Everyone has a phone, including you and your friends.
So talk to one friend who you know is patient, understanding, and always ready with kind and supportive words. If you find yourself calling your friends too often and they’re starting to avoid you call, you may want to contact your psychologist and get recommendations on what other things you can do instead.
2. Talk to Yourself
You may want to do this in private, because other people may think you’ve gone crazy. But in the end, talking to yourself is your next best option if you can’t talk to anyone else. Talk to yourself and tell yourself why you’re stressed. Say what you need to do to complete the task you have to do. Reassure yourself that everything will be okay.
3. Listen to Music
Music is in many ways almost magical in its ability to affect your emotions. Just as some music can rile you up or make you want to dance, other types of music can be soothing and relaxing.
This is all about personal preferences, however. Some prefer piano music, others like flutes, and there are those who go for cello music. You can also try Gregorian chants. Some online websites offer calming sounds like nature sound effects, with the sounds of birds chirping and the rain falling.
4. Keep to a Healthy and Nutritious Diet
A healthy and nutritious diet helps with anxiety. You also need to avoid unhealthy sugary and fatty snack foods that you may crave when you’re stressed. Plan ahead, and if you start feeling stressed try to munch on veggies and fruits. You can also prepare tuna sandwiches, and eat those when you’re feeling anxious at work or at home.
5. Drink Green Tea
Energy drinks and coffee aren’t exactly the best drinks for your anxiety. They will just make you feel more nervous. But you can try to drink green tea, which contains only half the caffeine found in coffee. It also contains antioxidants, and what’s more it has the amino acid theanine that can help calm down your nervous system.
6. Laughter is the Best Medicine
Are you feeling stressed? Whip out your phone and watch something amusing on YouTube. When you laugh, you release endorphins that reduce stress levels and enhance your mood. That’s because the endorphins counter hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol that both cause stress.
So to be ready for stressful events, bookmark your favorite comedy sketches and movie scenes on your smartphone. Each person’s sense of humor is of course unique, so your choices are up to you.
7. Exercise for a Minute
Stand up to stretch or go for a short walk around your office. These seemingly minor breaks can release endorphins that boost your mood right away.