iQuanti: Anxiety is an evolved response to danger that can have us reacting in ways that feel out of place with everyday life. Anxiety can be a normal, everyday response to stressful situations. However, if your anxiety is getting in the way of you living a happy, fulfilled life, there are ways to manage the condition and mitigate its effects. Whether it’s video chatting with a San Antonio psychiatrist or learning breathing techniques and coping strategies, anxiety can be a manageable condition.
There are some lifestyle changes that can lessen your anxiety. While these changes may not get rid of anxiety altogether, they may help improve things. You might start by getting enough rest, exercising regularly, eating healthily, and limiting your caffeine and alcohol intake. These are good habits in general, sure, but keep in mind that anxiety can worsen if you’re not feeling your best. Similarly, keeping to a set daily schedule and eating and sleeping at consistent times every day can benefit anxiety levels.
Lifestyle changes are great, but it may take time to see the effects, and sometimes you need to deal with anxiety immediately. You can try coping strategies, like breathwork and mindfulness techniques, to help focus your attention and keep your thoughts from spiraling. By doing a simple breathing exercise several times—in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, out for four seconds, hold for four seconds—your body can get your brain to relax. Similarly, something as easy as counting to 10 or focusing on objects around you can help create distance between your thoughts and immediate feelings.
Our minds, backgrounds, and brain chemistry are all unique, and there’s no one solution for everybody. If anxiety is impacting your life, consider speaking to a therapist about what you’re going through. In addition to helping you talk through fears and issues, a therapist can teach you more specialized techniques and exercises. Therapy can also help you recognize and manage your thought patterns.
Some anxiety—often the more acute types—requires medication, often in conjunction with therapy. While primary care physicians can prescribe medications, it is typically best to work with a psychiatrist as they specialize in medications that support mental wellness and are often more up-to-date on current recommendations.
Many therapists will refer you to a psychiatrist if they feel medication would be appropriate for your treatment plan. The psychiatrist will evaluate you for potential health concerns and work with you to find a medication. After an initial prescription, a psychiatrist will likely schedule further sessions to check in with patients and see how they are responding to medication. Once you are stable, you might meet with a psychiatrist less frequently.
Whatever tools you need to manage your anxiety, don’t forget to reserve a healthy dose of compassion for yourself. It can take time to learn coping skills, change thought patterns, and adapt to medications. As you learn and adapt, treat yourself with kindness and understanding and don’t forget to celebrate progress.