Reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
If you experience anxiety in your daily life, it’s important to know you are not alone. Far from it, in fact. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that more than 40 million American adults are affected by some form of anxiety disorder.
Equally important to know: There are treatment options available for anxiety disorders — some of which can even be done at home.
The best way to determine how to address your anxiety so you can improve your quality of life is to speak with a healthcare professional.
In the meantime, if you’re curious about what kind of things you can do at home, keep reading. To start, learn a bit more about anxiety in general.
At some point, everyone experiences anxiety. For example, you may worry about having to have a tough conversation with a family member or get nervous about a big meeting at work.
In these situations, it is completely appropriate to feel some anxiety.
However, if you struggle to control your anxiety more often than not over the course of six months, it’s possible that you are dealing with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which is one of the most common anxiety disorders.
People with GAD may worry or experience more anxiety than a situation calls for.
Symptoms of GAD manifest both physically and psychologically. (Read more in our guide to how anxiety disorders get diagnosed.)
Physical symptoms include dry mouth, heart palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath, nausea and chest pain.
Psychological symptoms of anxiety may include obsessive thoughts, nightmares, excessive worry, flashbacks of trauma and trouble sleeping.
From medication to in-person therapy, there are a number of ways to approach treatment for anxiety. There are also some natural remedies and alternative treatments you can try from home. Here are some ways to help:
Sleep is important — like, really important. And some research has shown that less-than-stellar sleep can lead to anxiety. So, how much sleep should you shoot for? Ideally, seven hours or more per night. If you want to get better sleep there are some habits you can start, including:
Avoiding caffeine before bed
Exercising during the day
Falling asleep and waking up at relatively the same time each day
A nutritious, balanced diet may assist in easing anxiety. Ideally, you want to consume plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins (think chicken and fish).It’s also good to avoid loading up on simple carbs (like pasta) because they can make blood sugar levels spike and then plummet, which can lead to the jitters. The same goes for skipping meals or binging.
Speaking of jitters, cup after cup of coffee is not a great idea. If you’re a regular coffee drinker, try reducing your caffeine consumption. Lots of caffeine seems to worsen some anxiety symptoms. Um, no thanks. Finally, limit your alcohol intake and cut cigarettes out of your routine completely. Both can worsen anxiety.
More evidence: John Hopkins reviewed 47 randomized clinical trials. Their conclusion after looking at all of these was that meditation assists people in navigating stress and anxiety.
An easy way to meditate at home? Download an app that can guide you through meditation sessions.
Exercise can be a strong tool in staying mentally healthy. After just five minutes of getting your heart rate up, you may start to notice benefits. And regularly working out can reduce anxiety.But this doesn’t mean you have to go hard — unless you want to. A nice walk around your neighborhood or a pleasant bike ride can benefit your mood.
Talk therapy can give you the tools you need to help manage anxiety as it comes up. And while in-office sessions are always an option, online therapy can be nice for those who want to try something from the comfort of their own home.
Online mental health services can assist you in figuring out which type of therapy you’d benefit from most.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to treat anxiety. In this type of therapy, a therapist will assist you in identifying patterns that may be increasing your anxiety. Then, they’ll work with you to come up with ways to break those habits.
Generalized anxiety disorder (or any type of anxiety, really) can impact your life in a not-so-great way. If you live with it, that constant feeling of worry and stress can be debilitating.
This is why it is so important to treat your feelings of anxiety. Options that will require consulting with a professional include anti-anxiety medications and therapy.
But there are also several ways to help manage your anxiety on your own, from home. From eating well to working out to meditation, certain lifestyle changes can improve your mood and lower your level of anxiety.
As mentioned above, you can also consult with a mental health provider from home. They can look at your anxiety symptoms and guide you toward finding an effective treatment plan, so that you can live a fuller, happier life.
Kate Hagerty is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over a decade of healthcare experience. She has worked in critical care, community health, and as a retail health provider.
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