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Five ways to reduce anxiety

Sarah Wassner Flynn is a New York City-based writer. She's contributed to magazines such as CosmoGIRL!, National Geographic Kids, Runner's World, Women's Health, Prevention and MetroSports New York. She is also the author of The Book of ...

Stop anxiety and stress less

A study released in mid-March says that higher anxiety levels may lead women to live longer. But it is never good to be consumed with concerns, particularly if they cause severe anxiety. Here are some steps you can take to reduce your anxiety and stress levels. No lady needs to live longer riddled with anxiety.

Woman looking anxious
Constantly plagued with anxiety? Don't worry — you just may live longer. So says a team of researchers from the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University, who studied 1,000 elderly women over the course of 15 years. Their results conclude that women who were more anxiety-ridden at the start of the study outlived those with less stress. The team deduced that higher anxiety may have led the participants to be more active and health-conscious.

That may be anxiety relieving news for the long haul, but you should still take steps to reduce your anxiety to avoid consequences like depression or stress-induced sicknesses later. So to live your life with less anxiety and stress, try these tips, as recommended by The American Academy of Family Physicians.

CONFRONT YOUR FEARS

The best way to ease your anxiety? Face your fears. Begin by just picturing yourself going face-to-face with the very things that worry you and cause anxiety. By getting used to the idea of confronting your anxiety-causing concerns before you actually do it, you will actually feel more comfortable the time comes to face them.

LIMIT YOUR WORRY TIME

To keep worries from weighing you down with anxiety, try to limit the time you spend mulling over your anxiety-inducing concerns to just 30 minutes a day. And instead of dwelling on what may happen, focus more what is actually happening. Then let go of the worry and go on with your day — with less anxiety. Woman doing yoga

REDUCE ANXIETY WITH A DEEP BREATH AND A GOOD SWEAT

Rid yourself of stress through deep breathing exercises, yoga and exercise. When you are feeling particularly anxiety-panged with doubt and concerns, hit the yoga studio or go for a power walk. Or, try this simple progressive muscle relaxation technique: Choose a muscle, tense it for a few seconds, then relax. Do this with all of your muscles, starting with your feet and working your way up your body. Breathe deeply and imagine your exhalations are releasing your anxiety every time you relax a muscle or muscle group.

REDUCE YOUR CAFFEINE INTAKE

Caffeine may be great for keeping you energized, but it can also intensify your sense of anxiety as it stimulates your nervous system. Same goes for over-the-counter diet pills, and cough and cold medicines that contain a decongestant. Limit your intake of any stimulant-containing substance to reduce the gripping symptoms of anxiety.

CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR

Do not be afraid to discuss your anxiety with your doctor, especially if you are feeling totally consumed by constant anxiety-causing concerns. Your doctor may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication, suggest counseling or help you form a personal anxiety reduction plan.

To read more about getting a handle on your stress and anxiety, check out these links:

Turn your stress "issues" into "non-issues"

10 tips to stress less on your daily commute

52 relaxing, stress-free ideas

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