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Three ways to stay mentally and physically healthy when suffering from anxiety

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Anxiety can wreak havoc on both your mental and physical health. Here are three things you can do to stay healthy when suffering from a severe bout of anxiety.

Speak to a psychologist

One of the most effective ways to look after yourself when dealing with severe anxiety is to get in touch with one of the psychologists in your local area and book an appointment with them.

Being able to express and discuss your thoughts, emotions and fears in a confidential setting with someone who is sympathetic, objective and non-judgemental can, in and of itself, make an enormous difference to your anxiety levels. Sharing your struggles without having to worry about the other person potentially having a negative reaction can feel very comforting.

Additionally, a psychologist will be able to provide you with tools and advice that will enable you to handle situations or individuals that tend to trigger your anxiety.

Make exercise a priority

Long-term anxiety can have a significant impact on your physical well-being; it can raise the levels of the stress hormone, 'cortisol', in your body and can cause muscular tension, headaches and a number of other symptoms.

Regular exercise can help to combat some of the symptoms of anxiety; activities such as yoga can help to relieve physical tension, whilst more vigorous forms of exercise such as running and aerobics can trigger the release of endorphins (the 'feel-good' hormones) and reduce your cortisol levels.

Exercise can also serve as a great distraction from any anxiety-inducing thoughts you usually dwell on, as it forces you to direct your focus towards your body; this, in turn, prevents you from being able to ruminate on negative thoughts.

Replace unhealthy coping mechanisms with healthier ones

Anxiety can lead to the development of unhealthy coping mechanisms, which can have a negative effect on your overall health. Things like smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or consuming excessive amounts of junk food in a bid to temporarily alleviate your anxiety can eventually cause a whole host of issues, including lung diseases, liver problems and weight gain.

It's important to be aware of this and to replace any unhealthy coping mechanisms you are currently using to deal with your anxiety with healthier ones.

Things like exercise, spending time with friends and family, reading, drawing or watching your favourite films are all effective and healthy ways to ease your anxiety without inflicting harm on your body.