Little and Big Ways to Reduce Anxiety

Little and Big Ways to Reduce Anxiety
As we all know, the stresses of life can be enough to deal with without the added worry of having an accident.  This worry can often be the cause of or worsen feelings of anxiety in people with urinary incontinence (UI).  Fortunately there are ways to help cope with these feelings.  For some coping can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths.  For others it may take a more long term plan.  So we have listed a few ways to deal with your stresses – both big and small.

Smile: We know that the body is affected by our feelings, but it can work the other way around as well.  Studies have shown that simply making a happy face can improve your mood.  So make it a habit!  Every time you pass someone in the office or see someone on the street, smile at them.

Take a deep breath: For some a symptom of anxiety is a clenching of the chest and difficulty breathing.  Taking a few minutes to focus on your breath and how it feels to completely fill your lungs.  This can be a habit too.  Every time you wash your hands, take a few slow, deep breaths.  

Say thanks: Studies show that expressing gratitude can help reduce anxiety.  Keeping track of the things you appreciate in life can help you to focus on them more and gain perspective on your problems.  You may want to keep a gratitude journal or just make it a habit of expressing to others what you are grateful for.

Get enough sleep: Skipping out on sleep can not only make you more anxious, but it can prevent you from being alert and aware enough to deal with the things that are stressing you out.  Make sure you are getting a full night’s rest (for some people this can be as many as 9 hours of sleep).

Play: Playing can help you to let loose and just be silly.  You could try doodling at work, playing a board game with a friend or spouse or even just playing games on your phone.  If you need some extra help letting go, try playing with kids or pets.  They have an innate ability to play that might rub off on you if you let it.

Exercise: Exercising can be hard if you are dealing with UI, and hitting the gym can just seem like one more thing to add to your stress, but regular exercise is associated with lower anxiety and stress levels.  Try yoga, which is easy on your bladder and includes meditative effects, or some kind of sport, which will get you playing while you work out. (See How to Exercise Without the Leaks).

Plan: One of the things that makes us anxious is uncertainty.  Planning, especially when it comes to more stressful events like an important meeting at work, can help us relax.  This can include planning for bathroom breaks, planning what to say if you need to excuse yourself from an event, or even wearing some kind of pad or protective garment just in case.  All of these can make you feel more at ease about the event and help to put anxieties to rest.

Ask your doctor – If your anxiety is affecting your quality of life, you should consult with your doctor.  Every person’s medical situation is unique and he may recommend something you haven’t tried yet, or in more serious cases may refer you to a mental health care professional.