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Health Spotlight: Ways to calm your anxiety

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting about 19% of adults and 7% of children.

While medication and therapy are some standard treatments for anxiety, research suggests there are ways to overcome anxiety on your own. Kathleen McHugh, a clinical psychologist based in Florida, provides a few methods to help control anxiety.

  • Distraction: Oftentimes, scrolling through social media or reading a book could assuage anxiety.
  • Positive self-talk: Repeating phrases like “I’m okay” or “I’m doing what I can” can help redirect worry.
  • 5-4-3-2-1 Method: This method requires someone to locate 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste. Locating these objects grounds you and returns you to your senses.

Other methods include meditation or yoga, hot or cold showers, or also decreasing caffeine intake if a person is prone to anxiety.

McHugh says when communicating with someone with anxiety, don’t say things like “There’s nothing to be anxious about” or “Why are you anxious about that?” Instead, practice patience, and say “I hear you, you’re feeling scared and anxious.”

McHugh also says if you can’t find a way to ease your anxiety, there is no shame in seeking a licensed therapist who specializes in anxiety.