Anxiety in young adults is not one size fits all. Some suffering from anxiety may find themselves in a fight or flight mode as seemingly small things start to make them feel uneasy. Anxiety can feel like a room is closing in, bit by bit, creating an impending doom of being crushed with no resolution. Others may feel the symptoms of anxiety physically such as a pounding in their chest, shaking, or sweating. It can also be a feeling of worry or even racing thoughts.
No matter how anxiety presents itself, it is always an unpleasant experience. Anxiety can be painful, frustrating, and scary. Anxiety can make it seem like there is no way out, but there is. We have a few tips to reduce anxiety naturally when it starts taking hold. These tips can be used in the moment of an anxiety attack, or as an ongoing practice to help keep anxiety to a reasonable and manageable level.
Ten Effective Tips for Managing Anxiety For Young Adults
1. Go Outside
Nature is healing. Find a way to take yourself into nature. This can be in a big way, or as simple as stepping into your backyard. Go on a hike. Have a snowball fight. Jump in a pile of leaves. Even if you don’t have a lot of time, take your books outside and study under a tree. Contact with nature and natural light is proven to significantly reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.
2. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness meditation can significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety and panic in patients diagnosed with anxiety disorders. Find a guided mindfulness meditation on YouTube and sit in a comfortable position focusing on your breath. If that is too difficult, do an active meditation while jogging, swimming laps, or any other repetitive, low-impact exercise. Even 10 minutes of mindfulness exercises per day can make a difference in overall anxiety levels.
If you are new to meditation or need a little guidance, check out the free app headspace. You can get guided meditation assistance through their app and on Netflix! Learn to manage feelings and thoughts, create a comfortable environment for restful sleep, learn to move and be mindful at the same time, boost your ability to focus, and more.
Concentrating on one’s breath by counting how long it takes to inhale and exhale distracts the mind and calms emotions. Breathe slowly. Count to five as you inhale. Hold for five. And exhale for five. Exhalation forces the body to relax and releases muscle tension. Scientific studies have actually shown that deep breaths and breathing exercises are one of the best anxiety management tools for college students.
For other tips and guided breathing exercises, download an app called “Breathing Zone”. Try this easy-to-use app to analyze your breathing rates, which in turn will guide you to set target breathing to calm down and lower your blood pressure.
4. Connect To Your Senses
Grounding exercises that focus on the five senses can stop a panic attack in its tracks. If you feel an overwhelming sense of anxiety, sit down (preferably outside) and out loud name five things you see, five things you feel, five things you hear, and five things you taste or smell. (i.e. I see my feet. I see a maple tree. etc.) Then move on to four, then three, then two, then one. Notice how your emotions have shifted once you get yourself into the present moment.
Even if it’s 20 minutes every few days, exercise is a great tool for managing anxiety. Exercising releases natural chemicals into your brain that make you happier, more alert and energetic, and increase cognitive processing. Not only is this great for your mood, but that cognitive boost helps you focus in order to check more things off of your stressful to-do list.
6. Build Daily Routine
Chaos is a well-known trigger for anxiety and stress. Building a daily routine is a great way to prevent those triggers by limiting the chaos that causes them. Develop a morning and evening routine that includes self-care and hygiene, exercise, and proper nutrition. Give yourself enough time for all of your responsibilities and also structure in your free time. Unplug from technology at least one hour before bedtime in order to ensure that you have a proper sleep cycle and are getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
7. Reduce Clutter
Just like controlling chaos with a daily routine, you can prevent triggering an anxiety attack by watching the level of clutter around you. Excessive clutter overloads our minds with stimuli and signals to our brains that there is work to be done, making it hard to relax. Clutter-free environments lead to an organized and focused mind.
8. Reach Out To Friends And Family
Don’t be afraid to reach out to the people closest to you for help. Friends and family are great outlets for venting stress and for giving advice. And they are equally great sources of laughter and fun. The Mayo Clinic calls laughter one of the best stress-busters around.
9. Avoid Caffeine, Alcohol, And Other Drugs
Caffeine might seem like the answer to getting through college or a double shift at work, but it can also make you jittery, increasing the feeling of anxiety or panic. Try a caffeine-free tea instead to boost metabolism and calm the nerves.
Alcohol and other drugs may numb anxiety momentarily but keep in mind that over time they can make anxiety worse.
10. Seek Professional Help
If you continue to have anxiety, it could be time to seek professional help. Take a trip to your college mental health clinic, or find a therapist in your area. If you are struggling to call, ask a friend or family member to set up an appointment for you. There are many options for treating anxiety from talk therapy, to experience-based programs, to medications for severe cases. A professional can help identify the best combination of treatment for you.
Why Pure Life Adventure Wilderness Therapy
While practicing these tips for anxiety strategies on your own will be beneficial, you or your loved one may find that more drastic measures may need to be taken.
Pure Life Adventure’s wilderness therapy intertwines many of the techniques mentioned, but on a grander scale with licensed therapists guiding the way. Our holistic outdoor adventure therapy will bring you into the healing outdoors and teach coping mechanisms when anxiety starts to pull you in. We will practice mediation, cooking therapy, engage in self-confidence-boosting activities while actively removing the clutter that is life. Clutter isn’t always about things, but it can be the daily pressures of school, family life, guilt from failed expectations or simply being overwhelmed with which life step to take next. Pure Life will give you or your loved one the opportunity to step outside their noisy world into the healing nature of Costa Rica.
If you are a young adult that is experiencing anxiety and debilitating stress in life, consider joining Pure Life Adventures as an anxiety treatment right now. You will also learn tools that will benefit you for years to come. Reach out to Pure Life today to find out how to be a part of our adventure program.
If you are a parent or loved one of a young adult who needs anxiety treatment, please contact Pure Life today. We would love to chat with you about your young adult’s needs and how Pure Life can help. Our program for young adults with anxiety will teach them coping skills, build self-esteem, and teach them how to navigate the pressures of adulthood.
If you want more information on anxiety and anxiety disorders and how to manage them, download our free white paper “Young Adult Anxiety”.
This white paper was sponsored by Pure Life Aspiro, a research-based Wilderness Adventure Therapy program for young adults, located in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. Pure Life by Aspiro offers safe, effective, and clinically-sophisticated treatment options for young adults.