Handling Anxiety as a Young Adult

by Guest Blogger – Noah Smith

Photo Credit: Wokandapix, Pixabay
Even though anxiety disorders are typically highly treatable and are the most common mental illness in the U.S. (affecting 18 percent of the population), only one-third of sufferers receive treatment. In addition to seeking professional care, there are things you can do as a young adult with anxiety to help get your symptoms under control. Doing so will help you to live a more comfortable and enjoyable life.
Risks of Untreated Anxiety
Anxiety is commonly associated with agitation, insomnia, and the inability to concentrate. It’s also associated with an increased risk of heart disease and respiratory problems, as well as irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal disorders. Headaches, both tension and migraine, are common in people with anxiety, as are allergies, sleep disturbances, and teeth grinding. Obesity has also been linked to anxiety.
Anxiety causes chronic stress, which can compromise your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections. If left untreated, anxiety can lead to a dual diagnosis with another mental health disorder or a substance use disorder. The negative effects of anxiety disorders can interfere with your life, creating issues at work, school, and in relationships. As you age, you have even more responsibilities, which will only add to your stress and exacerbate your anxiety. The earlier you can get a handle on your anxiety, the better.
Healthy Ways to Cope
Keeping your health in order is one of the most important ways to help you have a handle on your anxiety. Maintain a well-balanced diet and do not skip meals and snacks. This will worsen anxiety symptoms. Also, try to avoid caffeine and alcohol. You should also ensure you’re getting adequate sleep and establish a regular bedtime and wake-up time. Anywhere from seven to eight hours a night qualifies as adequate sleep.
According to GoodTherapy.org, “Daily exercise is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress and anxiety.” Aim to exercise four or more days a week. In addition, many anxiety sufferers find relief from practicing deep breathing, meditation, or other relaxation exercises. Try to schedule rest breaks throughout the day, even if you have to set an alarm on your phone to remind you. Whether you take a short walk, meditate, practice mindful breathing, or another relaxation technique, be sure to take a few minutes several times a day for a timeout.
Find a hobby or passion and incorporate time to engage in that activity on a daily basis or as often as possible. Some people enjoy playing instruments, while others enjoy writing. A hike is therapeutic for certain individuals, and others find great joy in a game of disc golf. It doesn’t matter which interest you prefer, as long as it’s a healthy way to have fun and let loose.
Maintaining supportive relationships is an important part of successfully functioning with anxiety. Try to build loving and warm relationships with trusted individuals. This support system is an invaluable resource on your high-anxiety days and during hard times.
Dogs are good for anxiety because they provide structure and make people feel connected. They also boost your mood and reduce stress. Dogs can help you feel a sense of purpose and help you meet new people. If you don’t own a dog and don’t have the time or resources to care for one 24/7, take advantage of the sharing economy (today’s economic system in which individuals are able to share, borrow, or rent services or assets from another private individual). For example, if you’re 18 or older, you can take on dog walking as a side gig to take advantage of the health benefits of quality time with dogs while also earning extra money.
Anxiety disorder is a chronic condition, so there is no cure. It’s a lifelong disease with many ups and downs. However, living a successful and comfortable life with an anxiety disorder is possible. By maintaining a healthy lifestyle and incorporating some coping techniques, you can have better control of your symptoms.

Author: Noah Smith

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