Anxiety Prevention

Written by the Healthline Editorial Team | Published on September 24, 2014
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA on September 24, 2014

Preventing Anxiety

The exact causes of anxiety and anxiety disorder are unknown. This makes it difficult to prevent anxiety disorder or predict who will develop the condition. However, much research is being done in this area, and there are steps you can take to reduce your anxiety and minimize future attacks.

Early Intervention

Studies indicate that early intervention for children who show signs of anxiety is effective in producing a long-term reduction in anxiety problems. In one study of preschool children, those whose parents intervened early had better results. Children were chosen if they showed withdrawn or inhibited behaviors, which are some of the best identified risk factors for later anxiety.  In this particular study, parents participated in an anxiety awareness education program. Children whose parents participated in the education program showed a big decrease in anxiety diagnoses.

These results are encouraging. For adults as well as children, early treatment is the best way to prevent future problems. Many people avoid asking for help with an anxiety problem because they are embarrassed. They may feel that having a mental health problem is an indication of failure. Alternately, they may fear that other people will think less of them. It is important to remember that anxiety disorder is an illness. With treatment and lifestyle changes, you can keep your symptoms under control and prevent many anxiety problems.

Stress Relief

If you are experiencing anxiety, it’s important to reduce stress in your life. Find ways to relax. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress. Take walks regularly, join an exercise class or gym, or practice yoga. In addition to exercise, you might want to take breaks from your routine or plan a vacation. If you enjoy a particular hobby, make time for it. Do things that make you feel better and more relaxed.

Eating Well

Eating a healthy diet will make you feel better both physically and mentally. Don’t stress over food choices, but try to eat a wide variety of fresh, healthy foods. Include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains whenever possible. Avoid greasy, sugary, high-fat processed foods. Remember that what feeds your body also feeds your brain.

Keeping a Journal

No one knows you better than you do. Keeping a journal is a great way to track your moods, stress, and anxiety. Many people find that identifying and writing down their problems makes them easier to deal with. If you are working with a mental health specialist, a journal can help both of you figure out what triggers your stress and what helps you feel better.

Avoiding Unhealthy Substances

While tobacco, drugs, and alcohol are often called stress relievers, using them actually damages the body, making it harder for you to handle stress and anxiety. Caffeine, too, can cause or increase anxiety. Addiction to these substances can lead to additional anxiety and stress, and withdrawal can create anxiety as well. If you are addicted and need help to quit, talk to your doctor or find a support group that can help you.

In general, the things that make and keep you healthy will also help you cope with stress and anxiety and avoid future symptoms. 

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