Checklist to Reduce Anxiety
You know those many situations when you’re anxious for no reason, your mind races and you feel on edge? Yup. I know those occasions all too well!
Throughout these years, I’ve been learning that some of my anxieties are from ignoring my most basic needs. When I’m spiraling and feeling that my thoughts are out of control, I try to take a step back and ask myself three questions.
Am I Thirsty?
During a panic attack, I oftentimes have a dry mouth and feel parched. Anxiety and thirst go hand in hand as one symptom of anxiety is excessive sweating which leads to dehydration. If you don’t drink enough water regularly, dehydration can amplify the symptoms of anxiety. I carry around a reusable water bottle so when I feel anxious, I can quickly drink some water to ensure that my anxious thoughts aren’t present because I’m just thirsty.
Am I Hungry?
There’s a term called “hangry” to describe the feeling of stress, fear, and anger due to hunger. Low blood sugar due to hunger are known to activate the stress response. People who have anxiety and depression are susceptible to feeling “hangry”. To combat that emotion, I carry around protein bars or snacks when I’m not at the house so when I’m having irrational thoughts and feel stressed because I’m hungry, I can quickly eat on the go.
Am I Tired?
A lack of sleep can aggravate anxiety. Anxious thoughts can keep me from having a good night’s sleep, and not having a good night’s sleep can make me anxious. Even if I slept an adequate amount the night before, having general anxiety mean that I constantly have a lack of energy and am fatigued all the time. If I feel miserable like I can’t get through the day, I lie down and try to take a nap. If I’m working or in a situation where I can’t take a nap, I just sit down, put on an eyemask, take a 5 or 10 minute break and just breathe. Having a mental “time out” during the day helps give me a mental reboot and makes it possible to continue to have a productive day.
Recognizing that not enough water, food, and sleep can cause anxiety has been eye-opening to managing my anxious thoughts. If my body has those basic needs and still feels stressed out, I try to practice coping techniques to get me through the rest of the day.
Do you have any tips on managing your anxiety? Let me know!
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