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Self Calming Techniques for Anxiety

By Kat Long

Forty million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders, according to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. While many take prescription anti-anxiety medications, sufferers can also adopt a daily routine of self-calming techniques that lessen the everyday stressors that trigger anxiety attacks. Talk to your doctor before beginning any at-home anxiety treatment or therapy; he may suggest personalized techniques for relaxation.

Take a deep breath and count to 10. Anxiety can make you want to take immediate, impulsive action to solve a problem, but taking a 10-second time-out when you're feeling overwhelmed will help you make better decisions.

Ask yourself if a problem is really as bad as it seems. Are you overreacting to a person or situation that seems to bring about your anxiety attacks? Is there a better way to handle the issue? Anxiety can be a cause of or reaction to feelings of powerlessness and loss of control, so try to put things in perspective and realize that you can't regulate all the forces around you.

Eliminate your triggers as much as possible. Triggers are people, situations or thoughts that send anxiety sufferers into panic mode. Working through problems or dilemmas in a logical, productive way can reduce the triggers' effect.

Exercise regularly. The Mayo Clinic suggests exercising on most days of the week to get your mind off the anxiety circuit. Walking, jogging, lifting weights, dancing or taking a fitness class will both ease your mind and improve your health. Meditation, yoga or tai chi will also focus the mind away from anxious feelings.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet. Proper nutrition is key to warding off anxiety and potential related problems, such as heart palpitations, hyperventilation, insomnia and other mental health disorders. Quit smoking and avoid drinking alcohol, a depressant that may contribute to anxiety.

Listen to a CD of calming music to relax and recenter yourself when the going gets tough. Load your iPod with relaxing soundscapes or uplifting tunes to accompany your exercise sessions.

Get plenty of sound sleep. The effects of restless nights and insomnia can compound over time, leaving you feeling unable to cope with anxiety. Good sleep refreshes your faculties.

Warnings

If your anxiety worsens or continues to disrupt your daily life in significant ways, talk to a doctor or therapist. She may prescribe antianxiety medication to complement your at-home relaxation techniques.

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