Anxiety takes many, many forms. For example, with social anxiety, the focus may be primarily on meeting new people. With general anxiety—as the name suggests—things are harder to pin down. Trouble can really start, however, if you don’t pin it down. If general anxiety is not managed, the inevitable result is more general anxiety.
Symptoms of general anxiety:
- Excessive, intrusive, persistent, or disruptive worry
- A feeling of being out of control or at the mercy of your anxiety
- Low or zero tolerance for uncertainty
- Chronic procrastination and over-thinking
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
- Avoidance of situations or people you believe may cause more anxiety
- A looming sense of dread
- Physical symptoms like tension headaches, body aches, difficulty sleeping, edginess, diarrhea, nausea, and more
Obviously, this condition is both common and serious. But, fortunately, you have more power than you might imagine. Taking steps to manage general anxiety at home can often be the foundation of your recovery. It’s also where the important carry-over work is done between your therapy sessions.
7 Things You Can Do at Home to Manage General Anxiety and Relax
1. Basic self-care
You may find yourself wondering: Where do I even begin? Basic self-care is the ideal starting point. Here are the fundamentals:
- Healthy eating habits
- Steady sleeping pattern
- Regular exercise and activity
2. Relaxation techniques
Learning how to calm yourself is an incredibly useful skill. Some popular and effective stress management methods include:
- Tai Chi
- Breathing exercises
But, for you, it might be reading or dancing or exercise. As long as the activity is not creating new sources of stress, do what works for you.
3. Learn to recognize your triggers
The better you know what sets off your anxiety, the better you can respond when it occurs. More than prepare for it, it allows you shut off a potential anxiety explosion. It may seem to “come out of nowhere” but there’s a rhythm to be found. Find it. Learn from it. Re-imagine it.
4. Keep a journal
Anxiety can be overwhelming. Looking back later, it’s a lot easier to dissect. Keeping a journal empowers you with a sense of understanding. The patterns become more clear. Your triggers grow more transparent. Your journal will also come in handy during therapy sessions.
5. Practice mindfulness
Staying present is always a good idea. Mindfulness teaches us to be in the moment. That’s where anxiety is a lot more manageable. Many of our concerns relate to the past or the future. In the present, we can and will remain calmer and more confident.
6. Do volunteer work
Giving is living. Doing work to help others is great for those being helped. It will also do wonders for you. It gives you a routine and something very important to focus on. This helps takes the spotlight off whatever triggers your anxiety.
7. Develop an understanding support system
Do you have anyone in your life you can contact when you need support? Whether it’s friends or family, we all need a shoulder to lean on at times. We need a compassionate ear. It’s as important a component as the self-management described above.
The third pillar of general anxiety defense is described below.
A big step to take outside the home
As discussed above, it’s important that we empower ourselves to deal with general anxiety. However, there’s nothing like working with an experienced psychologist. There may be patterns to your situation. A psychologist is skilled at recognizing such patterns. They’ll also work with you to develop a plan for change.