The world we live in today is super charged. We are in a constant state of doing and thinking so much that even when we have some down time, we still feel the need to be productive.
Just to think 20 years ago, people then thought life was busy and yet nothing compares to today’s world.
In our push for convenience, life has become simplified to a point where we have all the information we need at our fingertips.
Necessitated by the rise of technology and innovation, the world today is interconnected with ideas, information and people moving freely across.
This has also changed the way we communicate, conduct business, and even find love.
However, the advent of technology hasn’t single handedly contributed to the fast-paced world we live in today, other factors such as changing social values, global economic competition, an enhanced pursuit of creative projects and living in the information age have been a catalyst for the world’s conversion into haste.
The American Psychiatric Association defines anxiety as the anticipation of a future concern.
Some of the common symptoms of anxiety disorders include feeling nervous, a sense of impending panic, danger or doom, an increased heart rate and obsessively thinking about the panic trigger.
In our daily lives, it manifests as work stress; the constant pressure to meet deadlines, social media; the need to compare oneself and other kinds of stress which can take a toll on our well-being.
Techniques to Managing Anxiety
Because the world is becoming increasingly complex with all these advancements, individuals and organizations are finding it hard to keep up. Many are faced with new risks and uncertainties. The fast-paced nature of the world means that more people are overwhelmed leading to stress and anxiety.
But as with anything, there’s always a solution. Here are 6 practical techniques one can use to limit the effects of today’s world on their mind, body and soul.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind.
Dr. Zev Schuman-Olivier of Harvard University says that focusing on the present can have a positive impact on one’s health and well-being.
“For many chronic illnesses, mindfulness meditation seems to improve quality of life and reduce mental health symptoms,” notes Dr. Schuman.
Mindfulness-based treatments such as therapy have been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, lower blood pressure, improve sleep and help people cope with pain.
Establish a Daily Routine
Creating a structured daily routine can provide a sense of stability and predictability. A well-organized day helps you manage your time efficiently and reduces the stress of uncertainty.
Cheryl Beutell, APRN, a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Northwestern Medicine explains; “As clinicians, we want you to find ways to make routines that support better health, if you eat healthy and take care of yourself, you may find some peace of mind.”
It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t try to change your entire lifestyle all at once but instead try one thing at a time.
This will help you be consistent and hold yourself accountable.
Seek Support and Connection
Leaning on trusted friends and family or seeking professional help can provide valuable emotional support since you are able to engage in open conversations, hence reducing the emotional burden.
What counseling offers is the space to work through your problems and gain a unique perspective in a respectful and non-judgmental environment.
Adopt Good Sleep Habits
Quality sleep is essential for one’s mental health. You achieve this by establishing a calm bedtime routine and a sleep conducive environment.
This will improve your brain performance, mood, and health.
Studies show that improved sleep can significantly reduce anxiety and boost one’s ability to cope with daily challenges.
Dr. Marishka Brown, a sleep expert at NIH says; “There’s more to good sleep than just the hours spent in bed, healthy sleep encompasses three major things,” she explains.
“One is how much sleep you get, another one is having quality sleep, ensuring that you get uninterrupted and refreshing sleep, and the last is a consistent sleep schedule,” she adds.
Also Read: WHO, ILO Release Mental Health Guidelines
Eat healthy foods
According to Harvard health journal, a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is a healthier option than eating a lot of simple carbohydrates found in processed foods.
In addition to healthy eating, avoiding alcohol, drugs and caffeine will also go along away in relieving anxiety.
It is also good to note that skipping meals makes blood sugar levels drop resulting in a jittery, irritable feeling most likely to worsen anxiety.
Therefore, having regular meals is advised.
Triggers are people, places, things, or situations that elicit an intense or unexpected emotional response prompting an involuntary recall of a previous traumatic experience.
Knowing what your triggers are and understanding how to handle them can help you create a strategy for coping with them.
John McGeehan, a licensed clinical social worker recommends grounding techniques including finger breathing, to help people return to the present moment when a trigger strikes them.
“Empower yourself by preparing to cope with triggers, learn to recognize physical signs of reacting to a trigger.
Your goal should be to detach yourself from the trigger, re-center, and focus on your coping strategy,” he states.
In the end, you are responsible for your own well-being.
In as much as it is good to seek professional help, managing your eating and sleeping habits, spending time to understand your triggers and establishing a daily routine, will go a long way in minimizing the effects anxiety disorders can have on your life.