Everyone — literally everyone — deals with anxiety at some point. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness among American adults, so if you're suffering from one, you're definitely not alone. Anxiety can take the form of a mild case of nerves that goes away on its own, or worry and fear so severe it interrupts your life. Luckily, there are tons of weird but awesome life hacks anyone with anxiety should know that could make a big difference to your mental health.
Anxiety can effect way more than just your mood. According to Health, anxiety can also lead to sleepless nights, digestion issues, and physical aches and pains. With so many unpleasant side effects, you definitely don't want to suffer any more than you need to. Fortunately, anxiety is a very treatable issue, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), it is a matter of recognizing it — the ADAA noted that the majority of people who deal with it aren't getting any help for it — and finding a treatment that works.
Anxiety attacks, big and small, can be debilitating so the next time you feel one coming on, try one of these 11 hacks to calm yourself down. They might work a little better than you think.
1. Delve Into It
If you feel anxiety creeping up on you, it's important to figure out what exactly is making you anxious, Robert Leahy, Ph.D., director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy and author of The Worry Cure tells HuffPost. It may seem like a no brainer, but you won't be able to address and resolve the issue until you've identified it — so don't just try to ignore your feelings and hope the problem goes away.
2. Grab A Distraction
Once anxiety sets in, it can be tempting to just give yourself over to it. But distracting yourself might be a better way to head off an anxiety attack altogether. One person told The Mighty that holding onto an ice cube forces their attention to the cold and away from their panic.
3. Repeat Your Mantra
Giving yourself a little pep talk can be a great way to overcome your anxiety. According to Healthline, repeating a mantra can focus your mind away from the negative and back on to the positive.
4. Get Some Sleep
It might seem strange to try and sleep your problems away, but getting good rest is an important way to beat to anxiety according to Life Hack. Sleep deprivation only makes you feel worse.
5. Give Yourself An Unpleasant Reminder
If you're doing something that causes you anxiety, you'll need to train yourself not to engage in that behavior. C-Net suggested snapping a rubber band against your wrist as a form of aversion therapy, because you'll begin to associate the anxiety inducing behavior with physical pain and learn to avoid it.
6. Get Your Finances In Order
Money is one very common source of anxiety. Psychology Today noted that managing your money properly is a great way to make your life easier and reduce your stress levels.
7. Cut Back On The Caffeine
A cup of coffee may help you focus on your mind, but it could be doing you more harm than good if you deal with anxiety. Everyday Health noted that too much caffeine can actually trigger an anxiety attack.
8. Give In To Your Fear
Your anxiety tends to have a lot of unpleasant answers to the question, "What's the worst thing that could possibly happen?" According to Leahy via Real Simple, letting one of those answers play out in reality might show you that your anxiety is overblown — taking an awkward pause during a conversation or in the middle of a presentation isn't going to cause people to get up and walk out, for example.
9. Laugh It Off
Laughter really is the best medicine, even when it comes to anxiety. Daniel Smith, author of the memoir A Monkey Mind who suffers from anxiety tells Men's Fitness that laughing off an awkward situation is much better for your anxiety levels than taking it too seriously.
10. Indulge In Some Aromatherapy
There's a reason half your Facebook feed is filled with people selling essential oils — some people really do find that they have great benefits. The American College of Healthcare Sciences noted that the scents of lavender, clary sage and bergamot can help those with anxiety by lifting mood as well as relaxing the mind.
11. Get Crafty
Your anxious energy may just need a creative outlet. According to Her Campus, some people find that working on a project can help reduce anxiety. It could be drawing, painting, finally teaching yourself how to crochet, or tackling any number of the Pinterest projects you've saved over the years.
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