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13 Apr 2024, Edition - 3196, Saturday

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Health & Lifestyle

An Expert’s Advice On How To Tackle Anxious And Stressful Thoughts



People who suffer from anxiety know how hard it is to deal with. Anxiety disorders bring with them a lot scary and worrying thoughts, which may or may not have any basis in truth. Sometimes these thoughts get too intense to handle and can hamper your everyday life. Although anxiety is a mental health concern and may require treatment, there are some things you can do to calm yourself down when you face an anxiety attack. We asked Dr Akshata Bhat, psychiatrist at Lybrate, on what steps you can take to fight anxiety. Lybrate is an online medical consultation portal where you can connect with a wide range of doctors and take medical advice from them.

Take deep breaths

“Deep breathing helps you relax when you are feeling stressed or anxious. It instantly helps you feel less overwhelmed and more in control,” says Dr Bhat. “It increases the oxygen supply to your body, lowers blood pressure, and reduces your heart rate. It also helps decrease muscle tension.”

Use grounding techniques

When you feel anxious, shifting the focus to your environment can help. “Look for five things to name, four things to touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste,” explains Dr Bhat. “By doing this activity, you will move your attention away from your anxiety to your surroundings.”

Try and tame the thoughts

“Our brains are wired to overthink and more so when we are anxious. However, when we continue to think about something, especially a problem, it can lead to heightened anxiety over time,” says Dr Bhat. “Try to focus on better things and distract yourself temporarily from what may be bothering you.”

Build resistance

“Increased anxiety, coupled with everyday stress and strain, can amplify the wear and tear in our body. Therefore, it is imperative to build our body’s defences to cope with these,” says Dr Bhat. “Make sure you sleep and rest well, get adequate physical activity, and eat healthy. Avoid smoking and excessive drinking. Exercise, in particular, helps release endorphins (feel-good hormones), which can affect your mood positively. Learn to say no at work when things get too much to handle. Take some time out for yourself.”


Meditation is a relaxation technique that works for a lot of people. “It is important to learn how to regulate negative emotions to decrease stress and anxiety. One way to do this is by meditating,” says Dr Bhat. “Try to concentrate on the positive aspects of life when you are meditating.”

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