Kick off the new year by learning how to conquer anxiety disorder symptoms. Anxiety, stress or panic are all too common in the daily lives of New Yorkers.

Anxiety is the holiday gift that nobody asked for. The reality is that the end of the year, or the beginning of a new one, can be an especially difficult time for people who live with anxiety. If you have an anxiety disorder, the end of the year, or the beginning of a new one, can make us extremely reflective upon how strongly we feel we are meeting, or failing to meet, goals we have set for ourselves which can result in rumination, worry or dread. Want to know what helps with anxiety? There are steps that we can take and focus on to manage the severity of anxious symptoms.

It’s really important to focus on the concept of management instead of “finding a cure” when it comes to anxiety. It is possible to enjoy new experiences, thrive at work, enjoy time with loved ones and live with a feeling of fearlessness when you have anxiety. Take a look at five coping strategies for anxiety you can use in the new year.

Get Moving

Strapping on some sneakers to go for a jog may be the last thing on your mind when anxiety strikes. However, exercise is very effective when it comes to keeping anxiety and depression at bay. Exercise is so effective because it triggers mood-helping hormones in your body. Research has found that regular exercise can produce the same long-term benefits as some medications when it comes to anxiety.  In fact, this information is verified by the American Psychological Association (APA).  

Don’t wait until you feel anxiety coming on to start exercising. To get the most from exercise, it’s important to include movement and workouts as part of your daily lifestyle. You can also be creative with how you are active. You don’t have to commit to a 45 minute intense workout. Finding and choosing any activity that you enjoy that gets you up and moving for 10 minutes or more is worth pursuing as a method to reduce anxiety.

Meditate

There’s nothing hokey about meditation. A meditation session provides a wonderful opportunity to shut out the world to focus on breathing and internal balance. Our overstimulated, a-million-messages-a-minute world makes meditation essential for people with busy, overworked minds. Your meditation practice doesn’t have to be anything fancy! You can simply download a meditation app to start. Just make sure you can find a quiet, undisturbed place to do your daily meditation! You can mold a calmer, happier year by making a commitment to download one meditation app such as headspace or insight timer. This gives you complete control over how and when you meditate which can make engaging in the activity all the more likely.

Keep a Journal

There is something very therapeutic about literally “releasing” your thoughts. You may want to consider jotting down your thoughts through journaling if you’re struggling with anxious thoughts. Dedicate a quiet time each day for connecting with your thoughts. Journaling can help you to feel lighter, gain a new perspective and walk away without feelings of stress hanging over your head.

Have a Coping-Skills Toolkit for When Anxiety Creeps Up

One of the things that can make anxiety worse is the anxiety that comes from worrying about your anxiety. You may sometimes feel worried that you’ll be left unprepared to cope when anxiety sneaks up to hit you at home or work. Many people with anxiety are finding comfort by creating coping-skills toolkits. A toolkit should be stocked with soothing, comforting items. Here’s a quick checklist for how to make a good kit:

  • Something amusing to read or view
  • Something to listen to that offers soothing sounds or music.
  • A happy picture or image.
  • Essential oils or scented items to smell.
  • Tea or mints that can be calming.
  • Something that you know will distract or engage your mind.
  • Objects that aid with meditation or mindfulness.
  • A favorite piece of art.
  • A favorite book of poems.
  • Fabrics or soft textures that feel nice against the skin.

You probably have some idea of what helps you to regulate your emotions on a sensory level. Your specific kit can be tailored based on what you find soothing and comforting. Just knowing that you have a “bag of tricks” to lean on if your symptoms become overwhelming can help you manage an anxiety disorder. 

Treat Anxiety With Help From a Therapist

Nearly 18 percent of adults and 25 percent of adolescents will experience anxiety. Make this the year that you finally declare that anxiety is real. An anxiety disorder is a very real condition that can be helped with robust treatment options. A therapist can help you live life to the fullest when you have anxiety. Therapy can help you learn how to be gentler on yourself, and cope in anxiety-provoking situations. 

It’s important to understand the type of anxiety disorder that you have. There are various forms of anxiety and they are sometimes treated differently. A therapist will collaborate with you to identify the type of anxiety you’re living with. You can then move forward with tailored, targeted strategies that will keep worry from getting the best of you.