Anxiety is something that most people experience from time to time during their lifetime. Depending on the level of its severity, anxiety can become overwhelming and disruptive to one’s life. From the outside looking in, it can be difficult to distinguish the differences between stress and anxiety. Both share many of the same emotional and physical symptoms – uneasiness, tension, headaches, high blood pressure and loss of sleep. Getting the proper diagnoses becomes very important in order to combat your anxiety.

The mental health disorder anxiety,  goes beyond everyday worries. People with anxiety experience feelings of dread or extreme distress, which can affect their daily lives. The defining feature of an anxiety disorder is excessive anxiety and worry occurring more days than not for at least six months. The intensity of the anxiety or worry is usually out of proportion to the actual impact of an anticipated event or events.

When it comes to combatting anxiety, there are many simple techniques that have proven effective in reducing symptoms.

Here are five ways to quickly reduce your anxiety and help you relax:

    • Diaphragmatic breathing – consciously controlling this automatic process
    • Stretching or yoga – releasing tension with movement that can be done almost anywhere
    • Imagery – using your imagination to bring you to a place where you feel joy or safe
    • Use music – listening to music provides a distraction and gives your brain a reprieve
    • Laughter – the act of laughing increases oxygen levels and helps with muscle relaxation and shift our focus. This can be accomplished by looking into comedy shows

These techniques can be very useful but at the end of the day, an anxiety disorder needs to be diagnosed by a mental health professional. If symptoms are present, a healthcare professional will do an assessment about the frequency of feelings or worry and any other physical symptoms you many be experiencing. From here a treatment plan will be developed that typically would include talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication, or a combination of these.

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