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6 Tips to Take Control of Your Anxiety

By | source:Here Feb 4th, 2024

Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. However, for some people, anxiety becomes so frequent, intense, and overwhelming that it interferes with daily activities. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting over 40 million adults each year. Nearly one-third of people will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Anxiety disorders include conditions like generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, panic disorder, and phobias. People with anxiety may constantly worry and ruminate over small or large concerns, feel tense or jumpy, experience irrational fears, or have panic attacks that produce physical symptoms like a racing heart, dizziness, trembling, and shortness of breath. Anxiety can seriously impact people’s quality of life by disrupting sleep, work, school, and relationships. Sufferers may avoid certain situations, activities, or places due to overwhelming fear and dread.

While anxiety can be challenging, the good news is that it is very treatable. Therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications can help people better manage symptoms. With some lifestyle adjustments and coping strategies, many people with anxiety are able to take control of their condition and improve their health and wellbeing. This article provides some helpful tips on how to gain control over anxiety in daily life.

Limit Alcohol and Caffeine

Alcohol and caffeine are stimulants that can increase feelings of anxiety and nervousness. Both substances raise heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, soda, energy drinks, and some medications. High caffeine intake can make people feel jittery and shaky. It’s best to limit caffeine to no more than 400mg per day, or around 4 cups of coffee. Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee or soda, try herbal teas, decaf coffee, water, or fruit infused water. Alcohol is a depressant that actually increases anxiety symptoms as it wears off. Alcohol disrupts sleep and leads to dehydration – two things that can significantly worsen anxiety. It’s recommended that women limit alcohol to 1 drink per day and men to 2 drinks per day. Instead of drinking, engage in relaxing hobbies like reading, yoga, meditation, taking a bath, or listening to music.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Having a positive attitude can go a long way in helping to manage anxiety. Research shows that optimistic thinking patterns can reduce anxiety symptoms and boost overall mental health. There are several benefits of maintaining positivity when dealing with anxiety:

  • It creates a sense of empowerment and control over your thoughts and emotions. Focusing on the positive helps break cycles of negative rumination.

  • Optimism can improve resilience. Viewing setbacks as temporary and focusing on strengths makes it easier to bounce back from challenges.

  • Positivity buffers against stress. Looking on the bright side acts as a coping mechanism that can lower anxiety responses to difficult situations.

  • It boosts motivation. A positive attitude helps give you the drive to take steps to overcome anxiety, like making healthy lifestyle changes.

There are techniques you can use to cultivate a more positive mindset:

  • Start a daily gratitude journal to focus your mind on what is going right. List 3-5 things you are grateful for.

  • Surround yourself with positive people who will uplift you rather than dragging you down. Limit time with those who increase anxious thoughts.

  • Reframe negative thoughts when they arise. Ask yourself: is this thought helpful? What’s another way I could see this situation?

  • Visualize success. Picture yourself accomplishing a task or goal. Envision handling a worry situation calmly.

  • Celebrate small wins. Recognize any progress made, even if they are small steps. This boosts confidence.

  • Speak words of affirmation to yourself. Be your own cheerleader with positive self-talk.

It also helps to catch and challenge anxious thoughts. Counter negative self-talk with realistic assessments. Ask yourself if a worry is truly likely to happen, or if it’s an exaggerated worst-case scenario. Replace “what if” statements with positive mantras like “I’ve got this.” Maintaining positivity takes practice, but can make a big difference in controlling anxiety. Focus on the good and give yourself daily positive affirmations to quiet inner critics. With an optimistic outlook, you’ll feel empowered to take on any challenge.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce anxiety symptoms. Physical activity helps manage anxiety in several key ways:

  • Aerobic exercise like walking, running, cycling, or swimming stimulates the release of endorphins which are “feel good” brain chemicals that act as natural mood boosters. Exercise also increases body temperature which has a calming effect.

  • Resistance training and muscle-building exercises can help reduce anxiety by boosting self-confidence and improving self-image. Focusing on gaining strength can also provide a constructive way to displace anxious thoughts.

  • Yoga, tai chi, and other mind-body exercises combine physical activity with meditation and focused breathing. This helps lower the body’s stress response and relieve tension. The mindfulness aspect also helps calm racing thoughts that contribute to anxiety.

To reduce anxiety, aim for 30-60 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Aerobic exercise and resistance training can be done on alternate days. Yoga and other mind-body exercises can be done daily. Any amount of exercise is better than none. Try going for a 15-20 minute walk on busy days. Just be consistent and make physical activity a regular habit, not just another task on your to-do list. The key is finding exercises you enjoy and that fit your lifestyle. Experiment with different activities until you find those you look forward to doing. Making exercise a fun social activity by exercising with friends can also help motivation. Just be sure to check with your healthcare provider before significantly increasing your physical activity, especially if managing other medical conditions. But for most people, making exercise a habit is one of the healthiest steps you can take to ease anxiety.

Take Time To Relax

Taking time to relax and unwind is an important way to help manage anxiety. Relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing can activate the body’s relaxation response and lower stress hormones. Setting aside dedicated relaxation breaks can provide a brief mental reset when feeling overwhelmed. Relaxation is beneficial for both the mind and body. It can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension caused by anxiety. Deep breathing triggers the parasympathetic nervous system to calm the mind and body. Relaxation also allows your mind to refocus away from anxious thoughts.

There are many ways to build relaxation into your daily routine:

  • Take 5-10 minutes in the morning and evening to meditate, stretch, or do deep breathing exercises. Use phone apps with reminders to develop consistency.

  • Try a gentle yoga or tai chi routine to relax both the mind and body. YouTube has many free follow-along videos.

  • Take regular screen breaks if working on the computer all day. Even 2 minutes of closing your eyes or looking outside can reset mental focus.

  • Batch chores/tasks to allow short breaks in between. For example, do a chore for 10 minutes, relax for 5, then start again.

  • Listen to calming music or nature sounds during activities like cooking, cleaning, or before bedtime.

  • Treat yourself to relaxing activities that you enjoy, like taking a hot bath, reading, or sipping tea.

Relaxation is a skill that takes practice, but the benefits are well worth it. Taking small breaks to unwind and recharge will equip you to manage anxiety and stress.

Get Adequate Sleep

Sleep is vitally important for both your physical and mental health. Most adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation is very common, with 35% of adults in the US not getting enough sleep on a regular basis. When you don’t get adequate, quality sleep, it can significantly worsen anxiety. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels and impairs the prefrontal cortex, making it harder to regulate emotions and anxiety. Chronic sleep loss is linked to an increased risk of mood disorders like depression and anxiety. Getting enough high-quality sleep every night goes a long way in controlling anxiety levels and improving mental health. Focus on developing strong sleep habits for a calmer mind and reduced anxiety.

Professional Help

Seeking professional help can be an effective way to manage anxiety for some people. Counseling, therapy, and medication may provide relief when anxiety begins impacting your ability to function and enjoy life. Consider reaching out to a mental health professional if anxiety causes intense fear, panic, or discomfort With professional help and consistent effort, anxiety can be overcome.


Managing anxiety often requires a multi-faceted approach for the best results. As we’ve discussed, limiting alcohol and caffeine, maintaining a positive attitude, exercising regularly, taking time to relax, getting adequate sleep, eating a healthy diet, and having a strong social support system are all important lifestyle factors that can help keep anxiety under control. While lifestyle changes are essential, seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor is also highly recommended for developing healthy coping strategies and making progress in overcoming anxiety. The techniques covered in this article can work together synergistically to help reduce anxiety symptoms and improve your mental health and wellbeing. Finding the right combination that works for your individual needs is key. Be patient with yourself and understand that controlling anxiety is an ongoing process. Over time, with consistency and self-care, anxiety becomes much more manageable.  to mental health professionals if you feel you need extra help. The important thing is not trying to go it alone. Seeking support and being proactive are essential to gaining control over anxiety.