8 Ways to Reduce Anxiety

how to reduce anxiety

When it comes to anxiety, there is a normative level due to life events and then there is excessive anxiety indicative of an anxiety disorder.

When it comes to anxiety, there is a normative level due to life events and then there is excessive anxiety indicative of an anxiety disorder. Many people experience anxiety due to every day life events such as public speaking, meeting new people, taking a test, driving in heavy traffic or undergoing stressful medical treatment. As much as it is uncomfortable, this is normal if the anxiety reduces and does not interfere with daily life. It is when anxiety becomes excessive and persistent that can suggest an underlying anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is defined as extreme worry or unease, and persistent fears that may be irrational or disproportionate. If you have an anxiety disorder, you may experience increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating, and trouble sleeping. Depending on the type of anxiety you have, you may experience varying symptoms.

The five major types of anxiety are Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder.

At Elite DNA Therapy Services, many of our patients come to us for a comprehensive care plan to address their anxiety. While a formal evaluation and accurate diagnosis is certainly helpful for everyone, here are some ways that you may find effective to help reduce your anxiety.

1. Pause and Reflect  

Anxiety can feel overwhelming. Sometimes taking a step back can be hard to do, but if you feel your anxiety increasing throughout the day, it is worth it to take time. We recommend taking a 5-10 minute break for a relaxation practice. Doing a 16-count breathing exercise can help to counter the ripple effects of anxiety.  A few other examples could include yoga or light stretching, listening to soothing music, or taking a quiet walk.  

2. Optimize Your Lifestyle Choices  

The way we eat and move our bodies can impact our anxiety levels. Depending on your specific dietary and physical needs and limitations, we always try to help our patients build routines that allow them to enjoy well-balanced, regular meals; incorporate exercise and movement in their daily life; limit alcohol and caffeine; and enjoy regular sleep that is enhanced by good sleep hygiene.  

3. Build Awareness of Your Triggers 

It helps when our patients track their diet, lifestyle and experiences that can trace back to spikes in anxiety and other symptoms. There are typical types of triggers such as a specific life stressor, relationship trouble, work conflicts, etc. Some patients have their own individual triggers that relate to a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis and past trauma. You can start to build awareness of what increases your anxiety by keeping a mood log or journal. 

4. Ground Yourself  

When experiencing anxiety, physical grounding can be extremely helpful in bringing you back to the present moment. One way you can attempt to ground yourself is to find the nearest surface and find a way to notice what you are feeling in your hands. Some people find it helpful to hold an object such as a worry stone. Another technique involves placing both feet flat on the floor, moving your toes and noticing the sensations in your feet.  Focusing on a physical sensation by using grounding skills can bring you back to your body. 

5. Mindfulness 

Mindfulness is a practice which involves being actively attentive to the here and now, and using a non-judgmental approach to emotional states. Often times, anxiety leads us to become immersed in the past or run scenarios related to drastic future outcomes – both of which are counterproductive. Mindfulness practice gives people tools to redirect thoughts so that they are better able to connect with the present moment. It often involves using reassuring or positive self-talk in order to cope with strong emotions. Ultimately the goal of Mindfulness is to help increase personal awareness and work towards acceptance.  

6. Talk to a Therapist 

Psychotherapy, in combination with or without medication, is often considered a fundamental aspect of treatment for any anxiety disorder. Certain types of psychotherapy can be considered helpful for anxiety including, psychodynamic therapy, supportive-expressive therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. These types of therapy allow patients to express feelings, learn coping techniques and restructure patterns of thinking.  

7. Find the Right Medication  

Though some people may improve with various techniques and talk therapy, medication can be a helpful tool in assisting patients to reduce their symptoms. Medication Management is just one way our Psychiatry team helps our patients. It is important to note that consulting with a physician is necessary, as they can help provide medication that is right for your specific diagnosis and consider all other health factors. All medications come with the risk of side effects and it's important to understand the proper way to take medication.  

A few medications that can be helpful in treating symptoms of anxiety include:  

  • Hydroxyzine, an antihistamine that is most often for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), especially when it is associated with insomnia. 
  • SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) such as Prozac or Celexa may be relieve symptoms for patients with anxiety. SSRI’s can be helpful for patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

8. Group Therapy  

If individual therapy isn’t an option for you or if you’d like additional support, going to Group Therapy or finding community resources such as NAMI.org’s peer-run groups can be beneficial. At certain offices, Elite DNA Therapy Services offers in-person group therapy, such as our Guided Pathways Groups in Fort Myers, as well as virtual group therapy across Florida.  

With anxiety, or any mental health condition, please know that you are not alone. Our team will meet you where you are at and develop a care plan that is right for you. Elite DNA Therapy Services is the leader in Florida for providing affordable, accessible, and quality behavioral and mental health care services. We have 20+ offices and offer state-wide virtual care services as well.  We accept nearly every insurance plan, offer self-pay and sliding scale for established patients. For more information, click here to find your nearest location or contact us 

If you are experiencing a medical emergency please dial 911. If you are experiencing a mental health emergency or suicidal ideation after hours please immediately contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. 

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