Statistics from 1990 to 2016 indicate that approximately 13% of total Philippine population have mental health or substance use disorders, including anxiety, depression, alcohol or drug use.
Anxiety-related disorders are conditions which may get worse over time. According to the introductory article on www.anxiety.org, “fear, stress, and anxiety are normal feelings and experiences, but are completely different…from any of the seven diagnosable disorders…” The difference is in the intensity of the feelings and the resultant action triggered by such feelings.
How then does one cope with such intense feelings and manage possible effects and triggered actions of anxiety and stress?
One of the most important preventive actions is leading a healthy lifestyle, with regular exercise, proper diet and enough rest.
- Exercise helps decrease the hormones that lead to anxiety, and lifts one’s mood. Light jogging or brisk walking should be incorporated as part of one’s daily habit.
- Eating properly, particularly food with omega-3 fatty acids also helps reduce anxiety. Food to be avoided includes processed food, high-fat, sugary and greasy food.
- Lack of sleep can also cause anxiety, so it is important that one learns how to wind down and relax before bedtime.
Anxiety.org also recommends the use of relaxation strategies, such as
- Diaphragmatic breathing—known as deep breathing, belly breathing or abdominal breathing—helps slow down the heartbeat and stabilizes blood pressure.
- Guided imagery, which involves mental visualization to relax, helps distract from the anxiousness, allowing the mind and body to focus on exercise.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has tips for the mind, body and action. For the mind to cope with anxiety or stress, these are recommended to soothe the mind:
- Accept that you cannot control everything.
- Do your best.
- Maintain a positive attitude.
- Learn what triggers the anxiety or stress attacks.