Start the New Year With a Positive Attitude and Less Anxiety

Ringing in the new year brings a fresh start for us, but can also be a source of trepidation for those suffering with anxiety.  What problems will the new year bring?  Could things have been done differently last year?  Will goals be reached?  These are just some of the questions that roll in with the new year due to anxiety.

Making a plan to take care of yourself and having some specific techniques ready to handle anxiety can make a big impact on the year ahead.  You can’t always plan for everything, but you can take steps to keep anxiety even more in check than in the past.

New Year’s Resolutions?

New Year’s Resolutions are great but hardly ever lived up to.  Take a more realistic approach and tweak your lifestyle for the better.  A healthy body means a healthy mind.  Start the year with a visit to your doctor for a physical to make sure you handle any medical issues that could be contributing to your anxiety or symptoms.

Ditch frequent alcohol or caffeine, which can exacerbate anxiety symptoms, and drink more water.  Avoid junk food and try to eat more fruits and vegetables.  When your body is getting better nutrition, your mental status will also improve.

Exercise more.  Regular exercise not only makes you stronger, but helps improve your mood, reduces stress, and has a calming effect.  It is especially great for those suffering from anxiety because it gives a positive sense of accomplishment and power over their own body.

Sleep is also a very important component to a healthy body and mind.  Mood, short-term memory, and energy levels can be affected by poor sleep habits.  Make sure your mattress and pillow are comfortable and you room is cool and comfortable.  Try to set a calming routine for bed and avoid tv, phones, or computers.  They tend to overstimulate your brain and make it harder to get a good night’s sleep.  If you are thinking about things that need to be done, write them down as a way to let your mind be free of them for the night.

When Anxiety Arises

There are several different ways to deal with anxiety, and depending on your level of symptoms, you can choose what might work for you or use these ideas to modify and make your own.  Music is one tool to use when stress and anxiety arise.  Making a CD or playlist of happy, upbeat songs to turn on whenever needed can be a great mood changer.  If you are musically inclined, you could also sing or make your own music to relieve stress.

Diving into a hobby when you start overthinking decisions or worrying too much is another way to refocus your mind on the present.  Find something that you enjoy doing, like cooking, yoga, working on a car, painting, etc.  You will feel happy doing something you like and keep anxiety at bay.

Avoid running worst-case scenarios through your mind.  It is definitely a constant struggle for those with anxiety to not go down that path when dealing with problems.  You can practice recognizing that line of thought and taking a moment to tell yourself that there are also many possible better outcomes.  Remind yourself that a positive solution is always within reach and strive to find it.

Let things that happened in the past stay in the past.  Forgive yourself for past mistakes as you would a loved one, and tell yourself that it’s okay to mess up sometimes.  Second-guessing yourself will only hold you back.  Everyone is flawed and we just have to try to take something positive from past mistakes and move forward.  Take it one day at a time and be grateful for the good things.

Know that you are stronger than you think and trust that you can make smart decisions that can enhance your life.  Always list the positives to prove that they are there, and you can have a happy, healthy new year!

And if you need some extra help sometimes, here are websites you can use to find support groups in your area:

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Anxiety and Depression Association of America


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