Anxiety is the most common mental complaint in the U.S., with
more than 40 million people suffering from it on a regular basis, according to
the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.1 Factors such as genetics,
personality or life events can contribute to anxiety, but it’s important to
recognize that anyone can experience serious and debilitating anxiety at any
time. So if you (or someone you know) experience chronic or periodic feelings
of anxiety, you are by no means alone.

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It’s important to understand the severity of anxiety and the
toll it can take on a person. Studies show that between 5.7% and 11.9% of U.S.
adults experience generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) at some point, but less
than half of those have sought treatment to help them cope with it. Characterized
by the mind running in overdrive and stressing over every imaginable thing, GAD
often leads to catastrophic thinking, lack of mindfulness in the moment,
unwillingness to try new things and obsessive behaviors — like checking to
make sure the stove is off seven times before you leave the house.2

Bear in mind, too, that people who experience GAD may suffer
from depression and other anxiety disorders at the same time. Furthermore, GAD is
also a notable risk factor for cardiovascular complications.3

While it’s important to seek out professional therapeutic
solutions, mental health practitioners say there are ways to help mitigate feelings
of stress, anxiety and depression.

Adequate sleep is one way. New research has revealed that
poor sleep patterns are linked to anxiety. In fact, sleepless nights can result
in up to 30% higher levels of anxiety the next day. In addition, the quality of
your sleep matters. Researchers say that non-REM deep sleep is the most
effective at reducing anxiety the following day.4

Another helpful tip is to avoid loading up on sugary foods
and beverages. Nutrition experts say that complex carbohydrates such as fruits
and vegetables, in contrast to simple sugars, help your body process hormones
better, which can potentially lower symptoms of depression. So reach for the
fruit instead of brownies at your next party — or at least a fruit tart. You
also may want to cut back on alcohol consumption, which alters the level of
serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain. This serves to make us feel
more anxious once the alcohol wears off.5

Finally, taking up a creative hobby or one that requires
acute attention can help. Here’s a unique idea for relieving anxiety: Researchers
are studying the therapeutic effects of beekeeping, and many veterans who
suffer from PTSD have found that the intense focus it takes to care for bees
allows them to relax and be more productive.6

Content prepared by Kara Stefan
Communications.

1 Courtney Kueppers. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Nov.
11, 2019. “Dealing with anxiety? Deep sleep may help, researchers say.” https://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/health/dealing-with-anxiety-deep-sleep-may-help-researchers-say/kxwSo5xv8L8sFdhQFMFoKL/#. Accessed Dec. 19, 2019.

2 Jelena Kecmanovic. The Washington Post. Nov. 4, 2019.
“Excessive worrying? A psychologist sees a spike in anxiety and offers tips.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/excessive-worrying-a-psychologist-sees-a-spike-in-anxiety-and-offers-tips/2019/11/01/30b484ce-d4a8-11e9-9610-fb56c5522e1c_story.html. Accessed Nov. 22, 2019.

3 Ibid.

4 Courtney Kueppers. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Nov.
11, 2019. “Dealing with anxiety? Deep sleep may help, researchers say.” https://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/health/dealing-with-anxiety-deep-sleep-may-help-researchers-say/kxwSo5xv8L8sFdhQFMFoKL/#. Accessed Dec. 19, 2019.

5 Vanessa Paredes. Redbook. Nov. 13, 2019. “How To
Navigate the Holiday Season With Anxiety and Depression.” https://www.redbookmag.com/body/mental-health/a29787485/holiday-season-anxiety-and-depression/. Accessed Nov. 22, 2019.

6 Michael Casey and Michael Householder. Associated
Press. Sept. 11, 2019. “Veterans with PTSD, anxiety turn to beekeeping for
relief.” https://apnews.com/69e5ba92366048b9b0e78d9f6b68b14d. Accessed Nov. 22, 2019.

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strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and
objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help
you understand basic retirement income strategies and should not be construed
as financial advice.

The information contained in this material is believed to be reliable,
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