Managing Anxiety: Essential Tips to Keep in Mind
Did you know that psychological well-being among adolescents suddenly decreased after 2012?
The American Psychological Association of over 1 million adolescents reports that ever since 2012, adolescents have had less self-esteem, life satisfaction, and happiness.
Because since 2012, the use of screens and technology has increased exponentially.
According to the APA report, adolescents who spend more time on screens than doing non-screen activities often struggle with stress and anxiety.
That isn’t just a problem for teens and adolescents. Technology has made it far more likely for the average adult to suffer from anxiety.
What can you do to combat the effects of stress and anxiety? Read on to learn more about managing anxiety in an age of technology.
Why Technology Causes Anxiety
But why does technology cause anxiety in the first place?
Technology makes it easy to be fake. When you post a picture on Instagram, you’re posting the best and most beautiful moments of your life. You don’t post pictures of your hardest struggles.
When you’re scrolling through Instagram and you see how great the lives of your friends look, it’s easy to think that you’re doing badly in life. You’re falling behind.
But even more than that, technology can make you afraid of being judged.
Before social media, only a few people knew about the details of your life. You could control who knew how you looked, how you dressed, and how you thought about the world.
Now, thousands of people you barely know see everything about you. They read stories about you. They see how much you do (or don’t) post.
On social media, we silently judge everyone we see. We know that everyone we see is silently judging us.
When we’re not judging others or worrying about how much others judge us, we’re comparing ourselves to others.
How many times have you looked at a friend’s Instagram and thought your friend seemed thinner or happier or more successful than you?
That constant comparison game is exhausting, and it’s a breeding ground for stress and anxiety.
Technology means that we’re more connected than ever before, and that can be a good thing. But it also means that we constantly have to perform, and performance leads to stress.
In the digital age, we need to learn how to cope with anxiety.
Tips for Managing Anxiety
Here are some simple tips for dealing with anxiety that you can start implementing today.
Getting daily exercise is one of the easiest ways that you can start managing anxiety.
That’s because stress increases cortisol in your body and interrupts homeostasis. It’s a physical problem that disrupts the nervous system.
But luckily, exercise treats stress and anxiety. This report looked at multiple studies and found that the pattern of evidence shows that exercise reduces stress.
There are a couple of reasons why exercise is so helpful when it comes to managing stress and anxiety.
First, exercise is basically just controlled stress. When you run or lift weights, you’re putting physical stress on your body—but you get to control that stress.
Because you’re controlling the physical stress on your body, your body learns how to manage that stress.
Second, anxiety creates some physical symptoms in your body. For example, it causes your heart rate to increase and your breathing to get faster.
Because of these symptoms, your body tells your brain that you’re in danger, even though you’re not actually in any physical danger.
When you exercise, your body experiences these exact symptoms. Your heart rate goes up and your breathing gets faster, but it’s clear that you’re not in danger.
This teaches your body to recognize that it doesn’t need to fear the symptoms of anxiety. That helps you to cope with the effects and symptoms of anxiety.
Drink Lots of Water
This study looked at the water consumption of 3327 people to see whether drinking water had any effect on anxiety and depression.
It turns out that those who drank more water had lower levels of anxiety depression.
Drinking water has all sorts of health benefits. It helps your organs to function properly, regulates your temperature, boosts your energy levels, and does many other important things.
Besides directly reducing your anxiety, drinking water will make you feel physically better in other ways. That will help you manage your stress.
Eat the Right Foods
Did you know that the mineral magnesium can help calm you down?
Green vegetables like spinach contain magnesium and can help to reduce anxiety. You can also find magnesium in foods like beans, nuts, and whole grains.
Zinc, another mineral, can lower levels of stress and anxiety. Foods like red meat, eggs, and shellfish contain zinc and may help to reduce anxiety levels.
You should also eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Eating lots of fish can help you get the omega-3 acids that your body needs.
Antioxidants have also been linked to lowering anxiety levels. That means you should eat vegetables, berries, nuts, fruit, and beans.
The bottom line is that as long as you’re eating real food with nutritional value, you’re helping your body to combat anxiety.
Sometimes eating good food can’t give you all the vitamins and minerals that you need. You may need to take some supplements in order to beat anxiety.
You can start by taking vitamins every day. Vitamin B is especially important for managing stress.
If you’re on a diet where you don’t get enough iron, make sure you’re taking iron supplements.
You may also want to take gamma-aminobutyric acid, licorice root, probiotics, and Vitamin A.
You could also try Delta 8, which has a relaxing effect that can help to reduce anxiety symptoms. Check out Delta 8 here.
Get Enough Sleep
Anxiety is related to insufficient sleep. When you’re feeling worried or anxious, those fears can keep you up at night and make it harder to fall asleep.
But when you don’t get enough sleep, that makes the anxiety symptoms worse. It’s a vicious cycle—anxiety makes it harder to sleep, but not sleeping makes you more anxious.
You can get more sleep by making sure that you have a consistent bedtime and that you get up at the same time every day. By going to sleep at the same time every day, you train your body to get tired at the right time.
Getting quality sleep is another area where technology can become a problem. Screens emit blue light, which makes it much harder to fall asleep.
To fix this problem, get a pair of glasses that block blue light. You could also download an app that will block blue light on your phone or computer. If all else fails, just stop looking at screens an hour or two before going to bed.
You should also stop drinking caffeine late in the day. There’s nothing wrong with caffeine in general, but it will make it much harder to sleep.
Melatonin can help too. Melatonin is the hormone that your body produces when it’s time to sleep. Taking a melatonin supplement will help to make you feel tired instead of worrying at night.
Start a Journaling Habit
When you’re suffering from anxiety, it can feel like your thoughts are constantly spiraling. If you start a journaling habit, you can make sense out of those thoughts by writing them down.
You don’t need to solve any problems when you journal. Instead, you may find that you start feeling better just by voicing your fears and worries.
Try setting a timer for five minutes. Spend that time freewriting about your day, your fears, and your anxious thoughts. Don’t try to judge or edit what you write. You’re not writing for an audience, just yourself.
If you want, you can close the journal and never look at your entries again. Writing down your thoughts may be all you need to feel less anxious.
But if it helps, you could also take a few minutes to re-read what you wrote and think about it. Are your fears rational or irrational?
If they’re irrational, try making a list of the reasons why your fears are unlikely to happen. For example, if you’re afraid that your friends secretly hate you, make a list of the ways that your friends have shown you love.
If they seem like rational fears, is there anything you can do to prevent them from happening? Intentionally changing your circumstances may help you feel more in control of your life, and less anxious.
Talk to a Friend
When you’re feeling anxious, it can be easy to shut down.
When someone asks you how you’re doing, the simplest response is to say, “I’m fine.” It’s much harder to open up about how you’re actually feeling.
But talking to a friend can be one of the best ways to cope with stress and anxiety. Sometimes friends can see solutions you can’t see, or just provide a shoulder to cry on. Either way, you just might feel better after a long talk.
When you decide to have a deep conversation with a friend, make sure it’s someone you trust. If you don’t normally trust this friend’s advice, you probably don’t want to open up all your feelings to them.
Talking to a friend is like journaling, but with a partner. It’s especially helpful for external processors, who do their best thinking out loud.
The nice thing is that a friend can respond, while a journal can’t. If you don’t have any reason to be anxious, your friend can probably tell you that your fears are unfounded and you don’t need to worry.
Do Something That Makes You Laugh
Never underestimate the power of laughter.
You’re probably familiar with the pit of dread that sits in your stomach when you’re handling a lot of stress. Replace that pit of dread with a good belly laugh.
Laughter is good for your mental health. Research says that laughter can actually reduce your anxiety symptoms and even treat depression.
That’s because laughter does the same things that exercise does. It makes your heart rate increase and your breathing get faster, which relieves anxiety symptoms and leaves you with a content, relaxed feeling.
It sounds crazy, but some studies even seem to indicate that laughter can relieve physical pain.
So spend some time watching funny videos on YouTube. Enjoy some stand-up comedy. Read your favorite humorous novel. You’ll be surprised how better you feel after spending some time laughing.
Humans are made for physical contact.
Babies who aren’t held enough at a young age develop serious psychological problems later in life. That’s how important touch is.
When you’re physically close to someone you love, oxytocin is released in your body. Oxytocin is a hormone that directly reduces anxiety, lowers blood pressure, and makes your heart healthier. It’s basically magic.
Sometimes you really do just need a hug. Go hug your parents, your siblings, and your friends. Hugs will go a long way toward reducing anxiety symptoms.
Take a Break if You Need To
The age of technology is stressful. You have to perform all the time, and it feels like you can never shut it off.
The secret is that you actually can.
If technology is making you overly anxious, try taking a break for a week or two. Your friends will be there when you come back, and they’ll appreciate that you’re taking steps to protect your mental health.
With these helpful tips, managing anxiety will become easier and easier. Start by challenging yourself to try every single one of these tips. You’ll feel better soon!