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In today’s world, anxiety is a major issue that faces millions of Americans. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), roughly 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety. That translates to about 18 percent of the country’s population. Even with that high number, there are still a variety of social stigmas around anxiety that cause those with it to fear the social repercussions. Those with anxiety fear that they will be cast out or not taken seriously by their friends, and even ostracized from their workplace.

There are a bevy of different types of anxiety disorders that can and do affect millions of Americans each day. From social to major depressive and everything in between, anxiety is a wide spectrum of disorders. While many feel as though they will never overcome their anxiety, there are ways to help cope with it. Here are a few ways to do so.

Avoid Overexposure To Social Media

We live in a technology-driven society that puts a heavy emphasis on social media and constantly remaining connected. If you are trying to relieve stress and anxiety by logging on to Facebook or Twitter, you may make matters worse. Social media has become a melting pot of world news and oversharing, and by keeping up with this stressful information, you very well could exacerbate your anxiety. Constantly seeing the stress-inducing events around the world and comparing yourself to your friends through social media will only worsen your anxiety. So try to avoid social media as much as possible.

Stay Healthy

Unsurprisingly, leading an unhealthy life can drastically affect your anxiety. Do you go to bed very late at night? Do you eat greasy, fatty and unhealthy foods? Do you partake in an excess amount of alcohol? If you do, then these factors are all likely contributing to you anxiety. Obviously, if these are all regular habits of yours, it will likely be impossible to cut it all out of your life cold turkey. However, you can gradually get to a healthier state by going to bed earlier and earlier every day, cooking your own healthy meals and exercising.

Breathe (Deeply)

Obviously, since breathing is an involuntary action, you will always be breathing; but I mean really breathe. Stop what you are doing, sit down (if possible), close your eyes and just breathe. Take several, slow, calming deep breaths. Meditate for a moment. Don’t do this once or twice; try to make it a daily habit. You can even use technology to help by downloading a breathing application. It will guide you through the best process to help deal with anxiety. There is an app called Sharecare which you can download to your phone or tablet and it can aid you in your breathing, diet, meditating, sleep monitoring and other ways to track your anxiety.

Anxiety is a very real issue, and I take it very seriously. It affects far too many people to simply be ignored. While the road to coping may be a long one, it is well-worth the process. Please take advantage of any advice and support to reduce your anxiety and utilize to the fullest.