12 Ways to Calm Your Anxiety

I wasn’t always an anxious person, but after a depression diagnosis six years ago, I was quickly overwhelmed with symptoms that became hard to ignore.

As if depression wasn’t enough, my doctor diagnosed me with generalized anxiety disorder. Soon, it seeped into every aspect of my life, making it impossible to function normally.I lived in fear of having to talk to strangers. I started to experience anxiety attacks, a racing heart, and feelings of nausea so intense that I avoided socializing in public places like bars and restaurants. For an entire year, I was unable to work at all.When I decided to try working again, I took on a part-time role with zero responsibility and as little stress as possible to accommodate my anxiety disorder.It took years of medication, therapy, and finding new healthy habits, but I can now say that I’m symptom-free almost every day.Now I run my own freelance writing business. After being so afraid of public spaces, I now have the confidence to network with complete strangers, interview others live on the internet, and share my own personal video content on a daily basis.

I regularly speak on podcasts and Instagram Live broadcasts, and attend events in places I’ve never been before because I’ve finally got my anxiety under control.

Being held back for so long has made me even more determined to test my boundaries and reach my goals in spite of my anxiety.

It wasn’t easy, but by working with my doctor and learning some tricks, I’ve been able to manage my anxiety. I still have feelings of anxiety, and I doubt they’ll ever leave me permanently — I’ve just honed my skills and learned how to react more positively.

Here are my tips for taking action when anxiety strikes.

1. Avoid caffeine

Caffeine is well-known as an anxiety inducer. But for me, drinking coffee has become such a habit that I often forget how sensitive I am to it.

When I’m feeling anxious or I’m anticipating those feelings — like before I use public transportation — I always make a conscious decision to stop drinking caffeine. This goes for caffeinated soft drinks too.

2. Avoid alcohol

Feelings of anxiety can be so overwhelming that you might feel the urge to have a cocktail to help you relax.

Although this may work in the short term, alcohol actually changes the levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, making your symptoms worse. In fact, you may feel more anxious after the alcohol wears off.

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