According to World Health Organization, one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Between 1990 and 2013, the number of people suffering from and/or anxiety increased by nearly 50 percent. Nearly 10 percent of the world's population is affected by this mental health disorder and yet, nearly two-thirds of people will never seek professional help due to obstacles like stigma, discrimination and neglect.
Anxiety affects everyone differently, and so there is no easy fix for it. It's always best to contact a mental-health-provider for treatments. If you don't have access to a therapist, this list might come in handy. Five therapists have shared their top tips and techniques to manage anxiety and stress.
1) Make a (or multiple) gratitude list
Sanam Hafeez, PsyD, a neuropsychologist and faculty member at Columbia University in New York City recommends writing gratitude lists. It is merely another form of journaling that helps to cope with negative thoughts. You can write about a multitude of good things that happened to you in different time ranges. It can turn your mind from bad things to joy.
2) Consider meditation
Meditation is not just a practice for spiritual people, but rather a therapist-approved way to manage anxiety. Nastassja Marshall, PhD, LCP, and founder of Renewal Therapy recommends spending 20 minutes each day in meditation that will lower anxiety.
3) Learn breathing techniques
If you don't like meditation, try some kind of breathing exercise that can be done anywhere. "It's helpful for people to practice these techniques when they aren't feeling anxious so they are better equipped to implement these skills in an anxious state, when adrenaline and emotions are high," explained Lauren Mosback, MA, LPC, NCC, and founder of Lauren Mosback Counseling Services. Mosback recommends the 4-7-8 breathing technique, repeated for 4-5 minutes. To perform, slowly breathe in for four minutes, hold your breath for seven seconds, and then exhale for eight seconds.
4) Try a grounding technique
Mosback also suggested the 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique. Look around you and list five things you see, four things you feel (your clothes, the bedsheet), three things you hear (the traffic, your own breathing), two things you can smell (food, perfume), and one thing you can taste. This helps the individuals to feel more in control of their surroundings and helps to focus their mind on something other than their anxious thoughts.
5) Practice A-B-C-D method
This is a practice that you need to be aware of at all times.
A: Be aware of your anxiety
B: Be with your feelings of anxiety and be present in the moment
C: Check the message of your anxiety. What are you anxious about?
D: Decide what to do. What action do you need to take?
6) Take the time to worry
Schedule some time out of your day as 'Worry time'. It might sound it will cause more anxiety but according to Heather Z. Lyons, PhD, founder of Baltimore Therapy Group, it can be very helpful. Rather than worrying all day, you can tell yourself you can worry about it in your worry hour.
Aside from gratitude lists, you can also write journal the way you like. Keep record of your daily activities, thoughts and worries. This will help you observe your feelings and worries and pick out things that cause the most anxiety, explains Sanam Hafeez.
Source: Popsugar, WHO