I’ll never forget the time I took acting lessons and froze with fear during my first public
I was so blinded by anxiety that I could barely move or recite my lines.
Of course, I was mortified.
And, not surprisingly, that was the end of my brief flirtation with acting.
For most of my life I have been plagued by overpowering feelings of dread at the
prospect of speaking or performing before a large audience.
I would become extremely nervous and agitated.
Sometimes I’d break out in a sweat and my heart would pound loudly in my chest.
But worst of all, I would draw a blank and forget what I wanted to say.
Have you ever been in a situation that brought on sweats, rapid heartbeat and shortness
(This actually happened to me and I ended up in the emergency room!)
You probably weren’t having a heart attack but an anxiety attack.
(That’s what I discovered once I was in the ambulance and on my way to a hospital.)
What is Anxiety?
If you suffer from anxiety disorders, learning to manage it is the first step to overcoming it.
Anxiety is characterized as extreme reactions to fearful situations.
When someone follows you into a dark alley, those anxious feelings of a racing heartbeat
and sweaty palms gives way to heightened senses and a rush of adrenalin that can save your life.
This is the fight or flight syndrome.
In the case of frequent anxiety, the fearful feelings are dread of a particular situation and not
the situation itself.
Getting caught in traffic can cause an anxiety attack over what might happen when you get to
Starting a new job can bring on anxiety attacks.
You don’t know anyone and fear of that unknown can send you into a panic.
Everyone experiences panic or anxiety in small ways.
Like the fight or flight example, it can save your life.
In new situations, we get panicky but when the outcome we fear fails to materialize, the
For someone with chronic anxiety, this is not the case.
Every situation that brings anxiety is not life-threatening.
More than likely it is an extremely stressful situation that has brought on the anxiety as
a way of dealing with it.
Unchecked anxiety of this type can lead to depression.
If you suffer from anxiety attacks on occasion or a more frequent anxiety disorder, there
are steps you can take to keep your anxiety under control.
7 Ways to Help Manage Your Anxiety
1. Manage the Worry
When you feel your pulse start to quicken, count backwards from ten.
As you count, focus on the situation.
What has actually happened?
Resist the urge to read anything more into the situation.
2. Exercise on a Consistent Basis
Exercise helps you to use oxygen more efficiently.
It helps to get more oxygen to the brain. It also increases focus which may help
you see solutions to problems rather than simply worrying about them.
3. Follow a Healthy Diet
Although tension and daily stresses are unavoidable, one can relieve tension and manage
stress and anxiety better by watching out for what one eats and what one does not eat.
Studies have shown that having a healthy diet may reduce signs and symptoms of anxiety.
Although food can’t cure an anxiety disorder, consider some diet changes and that would
benefit a severely anxious person.
Remember that a healthy body and a healthy mind are often one and the same thing.
4. Eat Complex Carbs
Eat complex carbohydrates, also known as carbs.
During anxious times, turn to comforting carbs.
These foods act as a mild tranquilizer by increasing the amount of serotonin, a calming
neurotransmitter in the brain.
Complex carbs such as organic potatoes and whole grains take longer to digest than sugary
simple carbs like white bread.
That way, one can stay fuller longer and blood sugar is likely to stay steady, eliminating
stress and anxiety.
5. Drink Lots of Water
Be sure to drink eight or more glasses of water a day.
Dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches and stress.
One should be well-hydrated and drinking lots of water a day can decrease symptoms of
6. Avoid Caffeine
Avoid or limit caffeine intake as much as possible.
Caffeine is present in many soft drinks, not just in tea and coffee and it can set up its own
It can speed up heart rate and disrupt sleep — which later on become prevailing signs of
Trying to overcome tiredness by drinking more caffeine only makes the long-term problem worse.
7. Supplement Wisely
B vitamins, whose role is to unlock the energy in food, are crucial.
Vitamin B-6 helps manufacture serotonin in the brain.
Choose a natural daily supplement that supplies 100 per cent of the daily recommendation
of all vitamins and minerals.
Relaxing and supportive herbal teas, essential oils and herbal supplements can be helpful as well.
8. Avoid Alcohol
You might think that the glass of wine is relaxing your tension but alcohol is a depressant.
In anxious situations you could rely too heavily on it and gain another problem in the process.
9. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
During the sleep cycle, your body repairs itself.
You feel more rested after several hours of restorative sleep, reaching the REM stage.
Most people need eight hours a night which varies within an hour or two each way.
Meditation is more than chanting mantras.
Yoga is an exercise that involves quieting the mind and controlling your breathing.
Simple mediation such as taking 5 minutes to clear your mind everyday can work wonders
in the fight against anxiety
11. Find Some Relaxing Activities
Stress can rob you of your energy.
On a regular basis, do something you like such as gardening, painting, reading or listening to
12. See a Professional
This is often a helpful step to take.
A professional psychologist can help you understand your anxiety and prescribe medication or
other effective techniques.
Anxiety can come into your life at any time.
When the anxiety becomes frequent you could be at risk for more serious conditions.
If you feel your anxiety is starting to take over your life or increasingly causing you problems,
put these tips to work for you and seek professional help if you need it.
There is no need to suffer this terrible condition in silence.