Anxiety is intrinsically entwined to everyone’s life and it is difficult to envisage somebody without any anxiety. While it is normal to experience anxiety to some extent in our daily lives, it becomes a problem when it comes in the way of executing quotidian chores. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive and unrealistic worry about everyday tasks or events, or may be specific to certain objects or rituals.”
As per the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) statistics, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting nearly 40 million adults, or 18 percent of the population. When it amounts to a disorder, early intervention is required from experts. A normal anxiety disorder can be staved off with a little effort by the people concerned. One of the initial steps is to increase the knowledge base and incorporate lifestyle changes.
Here, we look at some of the self-help steps to counter the progression of anxiety disorder, which can be tried at home without an expert’s advice:
- Making oneself comfortable: Making oneself comfortable is important when anxious. It is better to remind oneself that anxiety will soon pass and more focus should be laid on being physically and emotionally calm. Stretching, deep breathing, and other such techniques help build the necessary calm within. The very realization that it will soon pass away puts one into a relaxed mode.
- Indulging in calming self-talk: Even if there is no pep talk coming in from others in such moments of distraught, the positive and assuring self-talk can come to one’s succor. When one is anxious, the self-aversive inner dialogues create problems. Certain thoughts and self-talk, like “I am going to be fine in a short while,” “it will soon pass away,” “I am gradually relaxing and becoming calmer,” etc. will do a lot of good in calming down a person till the anxiety symptoms wither.
- Acknowledging the anxiety: Trying too hard to fight the anxiety only strengthens it, while accepting it dissipates the severity until gradually it fully subsides. Accepting that it is there makes one strong and at the same time also relaxes the turmoil within, leading to the waning of the symptoms.
- Distraction techniques: This is one of the most potent techniques to deal with anxiety disorder. Even psychotherapy for anxiety disorder treatment is loosely based on such premises. It is usually difficult for the mind to focus on more than one thing at a time. Hence, by focusing on something else intently for some time, the anxiety will not hold good for long. Focusing the mind on something else will immediately take it off the anxiety driving thoughts, bringing in instant respite.
- Relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques reverse the effects of anxiety disorder as it is the body’s natural anxiety cure process. One should employ one of the numerous relaxation techniques to calm the nerves. Deep breathing, tensing and relaxing muscles and other similar techniques can come in handy during the moments of anxiety. The very act of indulging in steps of relaxation brings in the desired outcome.
These are some of the self-help steps to initiate during anxiety attacks at home. However, in severe cases, when it qualifies as a major anxiety disorder problem, one should always see the psychiatrist.