Do you struggle with anxiety? Probably. Most people do. Anxiety, if left unchecked, can develop into a chronic problem that has serious health consequences long-term. Thankfully, there are lifestyle interventions you can make with relative ease that will bite a big chunk out of your anxiety level. These are five of them.
1. Don’t Ruminate
“Rumination” refers to when you mentally fixate on a problem in your life instead of acting to resolve it. Rumination goes hand-in-hand with anxiety, and has been shown to increase your risk of developing depression.
Instead of mulling over a problem in your mind, try to come up with action items that might have something to do with a fix. If you can’t think of any concrete steps you can take to make the problem better, work on coping with uncertainty.
2. Limit the time you spend on email
Our jobs often require us to check our email constantly. If you can’t cut down on email time without jeopardizing your career, then that’s one thing. But if you’re compulsively checking your inbox when you don’t need to, it’s probably a good idea to consciously stop.
If you’re always checking your email, even if it’s work email, the mental state of constantly worried you’re not going to be on the ball will take a toll on your health.
3. Dump social media
Social media has been shown, by study after study, to increase symptoms of depression and anxiety. The more time you spend on it, the worse it becomes for you. Facebook is the major culprit, but Twitter, Instagram and other platforms have the same effect.
Spending a lot of time on social media can also lead to guilt for wasting time, which makes anxiety worse. Setting a limit on how much time you spend on social media is a great idea for your health.
Big shocker, right? Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet has a major positive impact on anxiety level. Exercising releases mood regulating and analgesic neurochemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, which cut down on anxiety.
Sleep is also instrumental in good health. Most Americans don’t get enough – 8 hours is minimum. Any less and you expose yourself to serious physical and mental health risks.
5. Spend more time around others
If you suffer from anxiety, or even if you don’t, you may find yourself spending long periods of time in social isolation. Communicating with other people is important to keeping yourself mentally healthy.
If you don’t have a strong social network, building one isn’t just a luxury. It will help you feel better.
Anxiety and other mood disorders are very complicated. This list is, obviously, not a comprehensive one. If you are having a major problem coping with anxiety, seeking professional help is an important first step in beating it.