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Do you ever notice that your heart starts beating faster in response to a stressful situation? Or that your palms get sweaty and you feel fearful when confronted with an overwhelming or important task? That’s anxiety—your body’s natural response to a perceived threat. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to manage these disruptive symptoms and prevent anxiety from negatively impacting your life. Before we get into those tips, let’s go over what exactly anxiety is.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can be beneficial in some situations. As humans, we often worry about things that are important to us, such as finances, health, work, and family. Anxiety in small doses can be helpful, as it can help you pay attention, make good decisions, and take action. However, sometimes anxiety can become excessive and start to get in the way of your everyday life.

Common signs and symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Intense feelings of apprehension, nervousness, worry, and fear

  • Having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom

  • Increased heart rate

  • Rapid breathing

  • Trembling

  • Feeling weak or tired

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Disrupted sleep

  • Digestive upset

Tips for managing your anxiety The severity of anxiety can vary greatly from person to person. Some only experience it sporadically, while others experience near-constant anxiety. Regardless of how you experience it, here are some tips to help you calm your body and soothe your worried mind.

1. Practice focused, deep breathing

When you experience anxiety, stop what you’re doing and take several long, deep breaths. Deep breathing has been shown to be a powerful relaxation technique that can help ease tension and bring your attention back to the present moment. When you’re anxious, your breathing naturally speeds up as a result of the fight-or-flight response. By consciously slowing down your breath, you’re sending a signal to your brain that you’re not in danger—that everything is A-OK. In turn, your anxiety symptoms will naturally decrease.

2. Determine what’s bothering you


In order to get to the root of your anxiety, you need to figure out what’s causing you to worry and feel unsafe. Is it your job? Spouse? Kids? Your health? To get to the bottom of your anxiety, spend some time exploring your thoughts and feelings. Some ways to do this include free writing in a journal, talking to a trusted friend or family member, or seeking therapy. As you uncover the issues that are causing you anxiety, you can work to change the things that you do have control over and accept the things that you don’t have control over. 3. Focus on something else

Sometimes, it can be most helpful to redirect your attention to things that are less anxiety-provoking. This could include doing chores around your house, watching a movie, doing a creative activity, writing out a gratitude list, engaging in physical exercise, meditating, or reading a good book, just to name a few options.

4. Keep your mind and body healthy Managing anxiety requires a holistic approach. That means that it’s important to take care of your whole self—mind, body, and soul. Prioritize self-care by exercising regularly, eating healthy, balanced meals, getting enough sleep, reducing or eliminating alcohol and caffeine, limiting time spent on social media or watching the news, staying connected to those you care about, and making time for relaxation. Collectively, these activities will support the health and balance of your body and mind, potentially leading to a reduction in anxiety.

The bottom line

Anxiety can be very overwhelming, but by implementing the above tips, your symptoms are likely to improve. As with any health issue, it’s best to work with a healthcare professional who can guide you on your journey back to balance.

The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics, including but not limited to the benefits of mental healthcare, wellness and nutrition. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional mental health advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is not a substitute for a relationship with a licensed mental health practitioner. Always seek the advice of your therapist, physician or other licensed mental health professional with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional mental health advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page.

References:




Setting and communicating boundaries is an essential component of your health, well-being, and sometimes even your safety. You’ve probably heard the importance of boundaries mentioned before, but do you actually know what boundaries are and how you can apply them to the major areas of your life? If not, this article can help! Today, we’re going to explore what exactly boundaries are and offer tips for enforcing them.

First things first, what are boundaries?

Boundaries are guidelines, rules, or limits that you create based on keeping yourself mentally and physically happy, healthy, and safe. You can create boundaries with anything in your life: people, activities, places, or things. They can be physical or emotional and can range from being loose to rigid, with healthy boundaries typically falling somewhere in between.

Setting healthy boundaries has many important benefits including:

  • Good mental, emotional, and physical health

  • Development of identity

  • Avoidance of burnout

  • Physical and mental safety

  • Conservation of mental and physical energy

  • Better self-esteem

  • More independence

How to set boundaries in your life

It’s important to have boundaries in just about every area of your life, but there are four major areas that people seem to struggle with the most: work, family, spouse/partner, and social media. Let’s break down how you can set boundaries in each of these areas.


Setting boundaries with work

Many studies show that work is the biggest source of stress and anxiety for Americans. A big part of that stress has to do with a lack of boundaries. Here are some ways to set healthy work boundaries so you can protect your well-being, gain respect, and increase your productivity:

  • Set limits: Create strict limits and stick to them. Some examples include stopping work every day at 5 p.m., not checking work emails on the weekends, not accepting projects when you already have too much work, or choosing to not work closely with a particular co-worker (when possible).

  • Prioritize and delegate: Prioritize your to-do list and ask for assistance if you have too much on your plate.

  • Communicate clearly: Once you have your limits in place, don’t be afraid to enforce them. Get comfortable saying no and making your co-workers aware of your limits.

Setting boundaries with family If you’re feeling overwhelmed by difficult family members, it’s time to create some boundaries. Here are some tips for doing exactly that:

  • Be honest with yourself about your needs: Be honest about how much time feels tolerable to you with difficult family members. You don’t have to cut people out completely, but neither should you spend more time with them than feels good to you. It’s important to note, however, that if you’re being abused in any way, very strict, no-contact boundaries should be set, ideally with the help of a professional.

  • Be firm, but kind: Setting boundaries doesn’t have to equate to being callous. In fact, approaching difficult family members with kindness is often the best approach.

  • Remember that you’re in charge of your actions: While you can’t control other people’s behavior, you can control how you respond to them. Practice telling your family members how their actions make you feel and walking away in certain situations if needed.

Setting boundaries with your spouse/partner

All healthy romantic relationships have boundaries. They provide the freedom to express your needs and values while also honoring the needs and values of your partner. Setting boundaries within your relationship can transform it and elevate your own self-respect. Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Use clear communication: After identifying the things that are important to you in your relationship, use clear language to discuss them with your partner. For example, “I need a half-hour to myself when I get home from work to decompress” or “Please don’t raise your voice at me during conflict.”

  • Set clear consequences: Be clear about what the consequences are if your boundaries aren’t respected. What the consequences are depend on your unique values and needs.

  • Take responsibility: Setting boundaries goes two ways. Just as your partner needs to respect your boundaries, you must respect theirs, too. If you slip up, own it, apologize, and discuss how to move forward with your partner in a calm and productive way.

Setting boundaries with social media

This last section is a bit different from the others, but is no less important. Setting boundaries in relation to social media is crucial for protecting your mental health, staying productive, and maintaining healthy relationships. Here are some tips:

  • Turn off notifications: It’s nearly impossible to ignore social media if your phone is dinging every few minutes. Turn off your social media notifications and resolve to only check your accounts a couple of times a day.

  • Set time limits: Decide how much time you feel is reasonable to spend on social media every day. Once you choose your time limit, stick to it! Stay determined and don’t give in. If you slip up, start again the next day. With patience and repetition, you can create a new habit.

  • Unfollow people who bring you down: If interacting with or reading posts from a certain person or group makes you feel bad in any way, unfollow them! This connection is not worth sacrificing your mental health.

The bottom line

Creating healthy boundaries starts with knowing what your limits are. From there, it’s all about enforcing those boundaries with steadfast resolve. It’s important to note that it’s okay to reassess your boundaries from time to time and make them more or less strict depending on how you feel. You’re in control of what you do. Always remember that.


The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics, including but not limited to the benefits of mental healthcare, wellness and nutrition. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional mental health advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is not a substitute for a relationship with a licensed mental health practitioner. Always seek the advice of your therapist, physician or other licensed mental health professional with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional mental health advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page.

References:





Over the course of a day, adults juggle a wide range of demands, ranging from small tasks to big responsibilities. In order to meet all of these demands, we tend to put our mental health on the back burner. This is a common pattern that plays a role in one in four Americans being diagnosed with a mental health disorder—the highest rate in the world. The good news is, with conscious effort, reducing your risk of mental health issues is achievable with some daily lifestyle practices. The key to staying mentally healthy and strong is making the following wellness practices a priority in your life.


1. Identify your warning signs


When people are stressed or anxious, they can experience a number of symptoms such as trembling hands, racing thoughts, nausea, and chest tightness. Knowing your unique warning signs (or symptoms of stress) can help you recognize when you need to take a step back from the situation and care for yourself.

2. Get enough sleep and rest


Sleep can be the first thing we trade in when we’re busy or stressed. While a short night’s sleep here and there likely won’t have major consequences, a consistent lack of sleep can impair your ability to think rationally and regulate emotions, amplifying mental health issues. Research suggests that a good night’s sleep helps foster both mental and emotional resilience, while a chronic lack of sleep can set the stage for negative thinking and emotional vulnerability. Strive to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night. It’s also important to make time for rest during your days. Don’t work through meals or late into the night. Be conscious of taking breaks, whether that looks like going for a walk, watching a TV show, meditating, or taking a 20-minute nap.


3. Make time to do the things you enjoy

Balance in life is very important. When we work too much and neglect doing things we enjoy, our mental well-being can suffer. Even if you have to schedule in time for enjoyable activities, be sure you do something enjoyable every day, even if it’s something small. This can make a big difference in the way you think and feel.

4. Take care of your body


Your mental and physical health are connected and act as a two-way street. Due to this, taking care of your body can play an important role in supporting your mental health. Prioritize regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, and reducing or eliminating your alcohol intake.

5. Nurture relationships and connect with others

Studies show that loneliness can significantly affect our mental health. As such, try to regularly engage with your friends, family, community, and/or co-workers. Feeling connected to others can go a long way in helping you stay mentally well.

6. Learn to manage stress

More than six in ten Americans report that stress significantly impacts their mental health. If you feel the effects of stress creeping up on you, experiment with different techniques to manage it. You could try meditating, exercising, taking a bath, journaling, taking a walk, or talking to a supportive person.


7. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support

Mental health is just as important as physical health and should be treated as such. Don’t feel too proud or embarrassed to reach out to a therapist or another mental health professional. They are trained to help you find balance and prevent or address mental health concerns. Truly, anyone can benefit from talking to a therapist—not just those going through a hard time. The bottom line

There is an unfortunate, long-standing stigma that caring for your mental health is a sign of weakness, but this is certainly not true. In fact, prioritizing your mental health is crucial for your overall well-being, health, and happiness. Try to take a proactive approach by applying the above tips before you feel completely overwhelmed. Over time, these practices can make a huge difference in your mental well-being.


The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics, including but not limited to the benefits of mental healthcare, wellness and nutrition. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional mental health advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is not a substitute for a relationship with a licensed mental health practitioner. Always seek the advice of your therapist, physician or other licensed mental health professional with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional mental health advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page.



References:

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