Anxiety affects almost everyone: those living in sobriety, people in recovery, individuals battling addiction, and many of the families, friends and loved ones connected to them. The most common types of mental illness in the United States, anxiety disorders, affect 40 million adults, or 18 percent of the population, each year. The good news is, anxiety is highly treatable, and there are several small (and somewhat surprising) lifestyle changes you can make to reduce it. This Mental Wellness Month, reducing daily anxiety is one way to take care of your mental well-being. If you suffer from occasional anxiety (without a substance use disorder) or have Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), there are several unconventional, yet practical, ways to bolster your mental health.

1. Try Minimalism

You’ve heard the age-old wisdom before: a clean house equals a calm mind. Much more than just a way to tidy up, minimalism is a movement (and lifestyle) that focuses on decluttering physically, and in turn, letting go of mental and emotional hoarding or obsessing. Minimalism involves living with less for greater peace of mind. This usually begins with downsizing one’s material possessions. Donating superfluous items (think clothes and other belongings you haven’t used in the past 90 days) and paring down your possessions to only the most essential, and what brings you the most joy, is a great way to reduce everyday anxiety. Coming home to an orderly apartment or home can do wonders for your mental health. And one of the easiest ways to do this is to try being minimalist.

2. Invest in a Weighted Blanket

For many people living with anxiety, nighttime can be the most challenging part of the day. If you struggle with stress and anxiety, you might find the dark hours of the day no easier. You might toss and turn, trying to quiet your mind from replaying every tiny detail of your day. You might even have to take a sleeping aid just to wind down. But what if achieving deep sleep was as simple as switching out your blanket? A rather underrated form of anxiety-relief, weighted blankets are among the most powerful (and comfy) ways to relax. According to Psychology Today, “these blankets work by providing input to the deep pressure touch receptors throughout the body. Like a firm hug, weighted blankets help us feel secure, grounded and safe.

3. Practice Daily Gratitude

While it may seem small, being thankful provides major benefits for your mental well-being. Studies show there is a strong correlation between feelings of gratitude and decreased cortisol (stress hormones) levels in the brain, bolstered immune system health, and decreased anxiety. Even thinking of something you’re thankful for, for 30 seconds or less, can begin to ease your anxiety and rewire your brain for contentment and peace. To practice gratitude every day, you can start a gratitude journal, write a thank you note for a kindness you received, verbally express gratitude for your co-workers or family members, or simply count your blessings mentally. There is no limit to the ways you can put gratitude into action — and effectively combat anxiety every day.

Anxiety From Addiction

In a “chicken and egg” sort of manner, anxiety can spur addiction, or be the result of it. When co-occurring with addiction, both issues are made worse, and mental and physical health can decline rapidly. To effectively treat the anxiety (or other mental illness) intertwined with a substance use disorder, it’s integral to enroll in a treatment program that focuses on physical and mental healing. At The Recovery Village, mental health counseling is always a part of treatment, at every level.

Drug addiction creates unnecessary anxiety. If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental illness as a result of a drug or alcohol addiction, it may be time to seek professional help. Find life beyond anxiety and addiction — call The Recovery Village today to get started.

You Deserve to Live Without Anxiety

Taking care of your mental well-being is a practice that extends long after Mental Wellness Month. These three ideas can help you manage your day-to-day anxiety in a healthy manner. But if your anxiety is through the roof because of a drug or alcohol addiction, you may need professional care. Getting treatment for your substance use disorder can simultaneously ease co-occurring mental health issues like anxiety. In every program at The Recovery Village, mental illness is always treated in tandem with physical addiction. Our approach focuses on treating the whole you: mind and body.

To get started on the path to mental and physical well-being, call The Recovery Village at 352.771.2700. It’s toll-free, obligation-free and completely confidential. A drug-free existence is possible. Let us help you find it.

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