Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates.
How to deal with anxiety attacks:
The association describes a panic attack as the abrupt onset of intense fear or discomfort. It can happen out of the blue and for no obvious reason when a person is calm, or strike when he or she is feeling anxious. The body responds as if it’s in danger, even though there's no threat.
Know that the worst of it should be brief: The height of a panic attack lasts a few minutes because the body can’t sustain that level of fight-or-flight arousal for very long.
Just understanding what a panic attack is, how it manifests and how long it’ll last can be valuable for dealing with it, experts say. Try to think differently about your response by being more open, accepting and compassionate about your symptoms. Tell yourself, “It’s OK, there’s nothing wrong with me, it doesn’t mean there’s anything dangerous here.”
How to deal with anxiety at work:
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers these tips:
- Practice time management to avoid being overwhelmed. Make to-do lists, set mini-deadlines and give yourself enough time to finish a project.
- Don’t over-commit: Be realistic about how much work you can take on and ask for help if you need it.
- Take breaks. Make time for a brief walk or a few minutes of deep breathing.
- Avoid toxic coworkers.
How to deal with anxiety at school:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises the basics for children with anxiety: eating a healthy diet, getting at least 60 minutes of exercise a day and getting the proper amount of sleep.
Having a hard time focusing in school could be a sign of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which may require medication. Parents should also consider whether bullying is fueling the anxiety.
A child who is overly anxious at school could benefit from therapy. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America also advises helping the child establish a support system at school.
How to deal with anxiety naturally:
Being mindful about what you eat can help ease anxiety symptoms. Experts advise avoiding sugar. Instead, go for complex carbohydrates found in foods like oatmeal, quinoa and sweet potatoes. You feel fuller longer and experience calmer feelings psychologically as well.
Foods rich in magnesium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B may help ease anxiety.