10 simple ways to help you cope with anxiety

Anxiety is a normal human emotion and response to stressful situations. Have you experienced anxiety?
Three in ten people are affected by anxiety during their lifetime. If you are always anxious and stress interferes with your daily life and relationships, it’s time to take notice and seek help.

Anxiety can sometimes take over your life, and despite your best efforts, you are unable to find a solution. Try these steps, and it may be so that some or many of these may improve your anxiety.

Here are some simple ways to get started:

  • Keep a diary
Writing down when and what causes anxiety can help you identify the triggers for your anxiety. You could then recognize these situations and be able to develop strategies to cope better.

  • Face the situation
You may find that facing the cause of your anxiety can help in overcoming your anxiety. You may come out stronger, facing your fears head-on. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family or friends the first time you decide to do this.

If you are scared of dogs, try standing far away from a dog on a leash, then within a few feet of one, before you pet a puppy.

  • Problem-solving methods
If you know a particular issue is bothering you, use an approach to write down your worries.

Define the problem, write down possible solutions, and focus on each solution’s pros and cons. Pick a solution, try it out, and see the outcome. If it works, that’s brilliant. If not, look at the reasons why it didn’t work and consider how to fix it.

  • Deep focussed breathing
Anxiety causes your breathing to become faster, and your heart starts racing. Breathe in for a count of four and out for a count of four. Do this for five minutes. This should help you calm down.

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is inspired by yoga, again focusing on your breathing.

Close your eyes and imagine that you are seeing and hearing things that relax you. This may be a garden, a beach, or a mountain. To each their own. Transport yourself mentally to a place where you find bliss.

A gym workout or even a walk can release the “feel good” hormone endorphins from the brain. You can feel the anxiety easing away. This can have a long-term effect and may last for hours after the exercise.

  • Set a time for worries
If anxious thoughts consume you throughout the day, try this. Set a time during the day, for say 15 minutes, where you think about whatever is worrying you. If the thought comes to you during the day, make an effort to postpone it to the “worry period.” This may help you focus on the present instead of getting lost with your anxious thoughts.

Confiding in someone you trust, be it a friend or family, can help you think clearly. Even if you use somebody only as a sounding board, you may develop a way to deal with the issue. You can discuss options that you were afraid to consider in the comfort of a trusted one.

Your friend or family member may remind you to breathe deeply, talk calmly to you or talk about something which may lighten your mood.

  • Reduce caffeine intake
Caffeine is a brain stimulant and can make your anxiety worse. It would be sensible to reduce caffeine intake gradually, as caffeine can be addictive.

Remember that caffeine is present in coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, and even in chocolate.

  • Supplements
Are supplements beneficial?

 A systematic review looked at 24 studies in which nutritional and herbal supplements were used to treat anxiety. The researchers found that some supplements like L-lysine and L-arginine were helpful, as was magnesium.

You must take any supplements only under the supervision of your doctor. Remember that supplements can interfere with your other medication.

If you have tried the above measures and are still feeling anxious, you must see your GP. There are helplines available that you may contact. Remember that there is no need to suffer alone. You can contact helplines by phone, email, or text.

You may want to find a support group where you can meet people who experience anxiety. Hearing other people’s experiences may be helpful, especially learning how they coped. You may be feeling isolated. These groups may help you express yourself and feel understood.

Faith solutions

Our prophet Muhammad taught us a dua to be recited when we feel anxious or stressed.