How to Deal with Anxiety: 12 Helpful Habits

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    When your brain’s alarm system becomes stuck, whether due to a transient event like the coronavirus or something more serious, here are some professional tips on how to reboot from anxiety.

    Consider a train speeding towards you, and you’re caught on the tracks, a human target. As anxiety dominates your head and manifests throughout your body, your heart rushes, your muscles strain, your body begins to shake, and your breathing becomes hard. Isn’t it intense? This is how worry might feel for almost 20% of people in the United States who suffer from an anxiety condition each year.

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    Anxiety, according to psychiatrist Grant H. Brenner M.D., is a terrible sensation of uneasiness and worry that is generally accompanied by persistent negative thoughts.

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    You may find it difficult to concentrate and make judgements when feeling it. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with an anxiety illness, you’ve probably felt your heart pound at some point and are aware that the struggle is genuine.

    Why Does Anxiety Keep Returning?

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    When the body exhibits anxiety symptoms, the brain interprets these signals as cause for concern, intensifying anxiety by forming a vicious cycle, according to Dr Brenner. “The more worried we get, the more nervous we become; the more nervous we become, the more anxious we become,” he explains.

    The crucial thing to understand is not why you have anxiety in the first place, but what keeps it going. “The underlying premise is that short-term anxiety avoidance leads to long-term anxiety maintenance,” Dr Stein explains. “When someone attempts to make oneself feel better in the present (by avoiding a dog), it assures that they will be more anxious the next time they are in a similar circumstance,” he explains.

    How to Deal with Anxiety When It Appears

    When you practise a few beneficial methods on a regular basis, you’ll be more likely to get into the habit of executing them automatically—and therefore reduce your worry.

    How to Deal with Anxiety: 12 Helpful Habits

    Consider a change of scenery

    Instead of sitting at home, go for a quick stroll. “Anxiety often generates a restrictive worldview in which nothing seems to change; doing something different can assist with cognitive flexibility to shift gears,” Dr Brenner explains. Consider it like stretching before a workout.

    Chew some gum

    Isn’t that insane? We all know that dentists advocate chewing sugarless gum after meals to minimise plaque, but a new study suggests that doing so may also help lower anxiety. Scientists aren’t sure why, but they think it’s because chewing boosts blood flow to the brain and may reduce cortisol levels.

    Accept the anxiety

    When you’re feeling worried, instead of engaging in avoidance actions (such as running away from the dog) or over-analyzing your anxiety (what if the dog attacks me?)

    “Exploring ambiguity exposes you to uncertainty without avoiding it, and the brain gradually learns that uncertainty isn’t truly hazardous.”

    Return to the current moment

    Assume you’re reading a book when your mind wanders and you begin to worry, “What if I don’t have enough money for retirement?” Here is when mindfulness comes into play. “Stop working on the notion and return to what you’re doing in the present—reading a book,” Dr Stein advises. It’s about letting the notion go, as opposed to avoiding it, so that you eventually get numb to it.


    It can do wonders for the mind, according to studies, from helping the brain cope with stress to producing endorphins, natural painkilling chemicals in the brain that enhance sleep and lower stress. Get moving; even a 15-minute home dancing session a day to your favourite songs might help you feel better.

    Participating in an exercise programme can:

    1. Boost your self-esteem
    2. Make people feel empowered.
    3. Improve your social ties and partnerships.

    All of these items are beneficial to a sad or anxious person.


    The brain is one of the most metabolically active organs in the body and requires a continual supply of nutrients to function properly. A poor diet may lack the nutrients required to generate neurotransmitters, resulting in anxiety or depression symptoms.

    Maintain a nutritious diet

    Fill your plate with fresh, complete foods; drink enough water; obtain adequate calcium; and limit your intake of trans fats in accordance with current dietary guidelines.

    Take care of your digestive system

    Taking probiotics containing two or more live cultures (for example, lactobacillus and bifidobacterium) and consuming fermented foods like yoghurt and miso might help promote a healthy digestive tract.

    Reduce your intake of sugary beverages

    Sweetened tea, soda, and fruit punch all have the potential to contribute to depression. According to a recent study, those who use four or more cups or cans of soda per day are 30% more likely to be depressed than those who do not consume soda. According to the same study, individuals who drank unsweetened coffee every day (regular or decaf) reported less sadness than non-coffee drinkers.

    Consider switching to decaf

    Because previous research has connected long-term caffeine usage to anxiety, decaffeinated coffee may be the best option for some. If you are a habitual caffeine user, it is better to taper back gradually.


    Even though alcohol is a depressant, depressed people have greater issues with alcohol. Individuals may use alcohol to self-medicate,’ attempting to dull the agony of despair.

    People who are depressed should abstain from alcohol. If alcohol misuse is the cause of depression, it must be treated immediately.


    Poor sleep has a substantial impact on mood, in part because sleep replenishes the neurotransmitters required to maintain the mood. Restorative sleep is thus required to maintain a healthy brain and to decrease melancholy and anxiety.

    People who do not get enough sleep each night, either in length or quality, are more prone to develop serious depression than those who sleep through the night. Furthermore, sleep-deprived persons have a significantly larger tendency to identify neutral sights as “negative,” so even ordinary objects might appear scarier and lead to worry.

    Make obtaining enough excellent quality sleep a top priority.

    Emotions and thoughts

    Negative attitudes and thoughts of helplessness and hopelessness can disrupt the body’s hormone balance and deplete the brain chemicals needed for sensations of happiness or peace, as well as harm the immune system and other sections of the body.

    Meditation and positive thinking, for example, can alter our perceptions of the environment and help us feel calmer, more resilient, and happier.

    Additional research has discovered a variety of other beneficial attitudes, such as forgiveness, appreciation, and compassion, that can aid in the treatment of depression and anxiety. These may be honed via practice.

    Alter your emotional reaction

    We have a tendency to feel that our emotions are intrinsic to who we are and cannot be changed. This has been proven false through research. 

    1. Changing the situation can influence emotions (e.g., leaving a depleting job)
    2. Changing our focus (e.g., noticing the beauty of the day instead of the traffic)
    3. Changing our perspective (for example, “that guy is stressed,” rather than “he doesn’t like me”)

    Stress Management


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    Excessive stress aggravates sadness and anxiety. Even in the face of stress, learning ways to assist decrease the negative impact of stress may bring about a sense of control and serenity.

    Three methods for dealing with stress

    1. Determine what causes you stress and see if you can make adjustments in your life to decrease these pressures.
    2. Learn relaxing strategies to help you lower your stress response and create conscious, beneficial reactions.
    3. Develop resilience so that you can deal with unavoidable life pressures.

    Social Assistance

    Isolation and loneliness, both of which are risk factors for depression, are reduced by strong connections and social support networks. While anxiety can drive us to avoid others and become alone, reaching out to friends and family can actually help us deal with anxiety by providing support and assisting us in making accurate evaluations of risks. Here are some suggestions for staying connected:

    1. Keep in touch with friends and family on a regular basis.
    2. Consider taking a class or joining a group.
    3. Volunteering provides social support (as well as the joy of helping others!)
    4. Make a connection with a pet. Physically, having a loved one (two or four-legged) around soothes us and decreases the chance of fighting or fleeing.


    Extensive study has indicated that those who have a strong sense of purpose are better equipped to deal with life’s ups and downs. The purpose may provide a psychological buffer against problems, so a person with a strong sense of purpose can be content with life even on a bad day. According to Barbara Fredrickson, a researcher, this type of long-term resilience can lead to less concern and higher enjoyment over time.

    Spirituality also enables individuals to persevere in the face of adversity. A strong spiritual attitude can assist you in finding significance in life’s challenging circumstances.

    Invest in a Cause

    1. Spend time each day focusing on your values and acting on them.
    2. Use your unique skills and abilities to help others (e.g., make your niece laugh with your unique sense of humour).
    3. Pay attention to what causes a sensation of “flow,” or a happy and healthy immersion that causes you to lose all sense of time—it is most likely connected to your life’s calling.
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