Anxiety levels have risen dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, 1 in 10 adults in the United States reported having symptoms of anxiety depression disorder. This has increased to 4 in 10 adults in the United States during the pandemic. It is more important than ever to focus on taking time for mental wellbeing and dealing with anxiety in a healthy way. Here are some tips you can begin implementing today to reduce your stress.
Tip #1: Exercise
Exercise is very important for both your physical and mental wellbeing. Setting aside 30 minutes to exercise 3 to 5 days a week can be a great way to relieve stress and reduce anxiety. This could include resistance training, jogging, cycling, yoga or just taking a walk. It’s important to choose a type of exercise that you enjoy and will look forward to.
Tip #2: Reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption
Both caffeine and alcohol can exacerbate the effects of anxiety. While caffeine doesn’t generally cause anxiety, it can make the symptoms of anxiety worse. Studies have found that high levels of caffeine can increase the likelihood of a panic attack or induce similar symptoms. Meanwhile, many people will drink alcohol if they are feeling stressed as a way to take their mind of their anxiety. However, alcohol changes the levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in your brain. This can then cause people to feel more anxious after the alcohol has worn off. If you are struggling with anxiety, reducing intake of caffeine and alcohol may be beneficial in alleviating some of the symptoms.
Tip #3: Meditate
Another great way to reduce anxiety is by focusing on mindfulness. Research suggests that meditation can be very beneficial for relieving stress. A 2013 meta-analysis found that the anxiety reducing benefits of meditation are strongest with people who suffer from high anxiety levels. One of the most rapidly growing and effective meditation styles is transcendental meditation. Click here for more information about transcendental meditation.
Tip #4: Make sure you get enough sleep
This can be a tricky one, because people with anxiety may suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorders. However, getting enough sleep is very important to avoid exacerbating symptoms of anxiety. One way to help solve this issue is by practicing proper sleep hygiene. This includes sleeping in a comfortable bed, eliminating light and noise that make sleeping more difficult, or avoiding caffeine or alcohol before going to sleep.
Tip #5: Diet and supplementation
This one is a little more long-term, but can be very beneficial in reducing stress and relieving anxiety. Balanced diets that are rich in important nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, have been found to reduce anxiety. You can also consider trying different supplements, such as ashwagandha, that can reduce feelings of anxiety in many people. Be sure to consult your physician before beginning a significant dietary change or introducing supplements into your diet.