11. Talk to yourself. Remind yourself of how you handled similar situations in the past, your strengths, and how long you will need to get through it. Show yourself that this anxiety is manageable and time-limited.
12. Go to the museum, see a movie, read a good book, or take up oil painting (or some other hobby). People who are bored tend to score higher on tests designed to measure levels of anxiety.
13. Keep a journal of what makes you anxious. Then revisit these same items when you’re feeling calm and develop plans to deal with them.
14. Name your fears. The most anxiety-producing thing of all is the unknown. So drag your worries out of the shadows. Worried about your son/daughter/spouse getting hurt or killed in a car crash? Discuss it—at least with yourself. Look up the statistics on driving and injury to relieve your mind. Do the same for whatever else makes you worry, whether that’s West Nile virus, bioterrorism, cancer, or plane crashes. Once you name your fears and learn about them, you can take steps to minimize your risk. You’ll also find the fears you name and tame are far less menacing than fears left to lurk in the shadows of your imagination.
15. Make sure you’re getting several servings of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables every day, along with healthy protein sources such as fish, poultry, lentils, soy, or lean meats. The combination helps your brain make serotonin, a chemical that induces a state of calm relaxation.
16. Watch a meditation, t’ai chi, or yoga video. They are all effective, nonmedical ways of dealing with anxiety.
17. Share your anxieties with a confidant. You need to find someone who can help you understand why you worry too much. Try to play the same role for that person. We are usually better at placing someone else’s worries in perspective than we are our own.
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