Firstly, what exactly is anxiety? It’s your body’s natural response to stress and can come in the form of an increased heart rate, restlessness, rapid breathing, trouble concentrating and even panic attack-related sweating. And while anxiety can be treated with certain medications like antidepressants and sedatives, that should be your last option. Small lifestyle changes can do wonders when it comes to easing off anxiety levels. A simple change in diet, a little less coffee and a little more sleep can go a long way when it comes to naturally reducing anxiety – and is cheaper than therapist bills for those who don’t want to go that route.
Here are some natural remedies that may help you control your anxiety:
Regular exercise can benefit not only your physical health but also your mental health. According to a 2013 study titled “Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Anxiety” , individuals with anxiety disorders who engaged in high levels of physical activity were less likely to develop anxiety symptoms. Exercise can serve as a distraction from sources of anxiety, among other potential reasons.
The American Psychological Association (APA) suggests that regular exercise can improve concentration and willpower, potentially alleviating some anxiety symptoms. The type of exercise chosen is largely a matter of personal preference.
A 2012 study titled “Anxiety and Alcohol Use Disorders” explores the link between anxiety and alcohol consumption.
Excessive alcohol consumption can disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters that contribute to positive mental health. This disruption can result in an imbalance that may trigger symptoms of anxiety. Furthermore, alcohol has been shown to disrupt a good night’s sleep – and a good night’s sleep is crucial when combating anxiety.
Reducing caffeine intake
Consuming caffeine can lead to feelings of nervousness and jitters, which can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Like alcohol, caffeine has the potential to affect brain chemistry and is often associated with anxiety. To mitigate the impact of caffeine on anxiety, gradually reducing caffeine intake over a period of several weeks can help adjust the habit without causing withdrawal symptoms.
Getting a good night of sleep
Sleep is a crucial part of good mental health. It is recommended that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day. If you’re having trouble sleeping, consider:
- Keeping your room dark and cool.
- Not using your phone in bed.
- Avoid caffeine and large meals before bed.
- Try going to sleep around the same time every night.
Meditating and practicing mindfulness
This research from Johns Hopkins titled “Meditation for Anxiety and Depression?” suggests that 30 minutes of meditation daily may improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Meditation has the potential to enhance feelings of calm and contentment by improving one’s ability to mindfully tolerate all thoughts and emotions.
Consider quitting smoking cigarettes
The chemicals in cigarettes have shown to worsen anxiety over time. Research shows that “chemicals in cigarette smoke alter pathways in the brain linked to anxiety.”
If you’re considering quitting, this CDC article provides tips to help you deal with urges and cravings.
Eating a balanced diet
Staying hydrated, reducing the consumption of processed foods and eating a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables and lean protein can improve your mood and impact your temperament.
Practicing deep breathing
Engaging in deliberate slow, even, and deep breathing can assist in restoring normal breathing patterns and decreasing anxiety.
This article by the American Institute of Stress goes into detail and provides you with breathing exercises that may help you control your stress and anxiety.
In conclusion, anxiety is a common experience that can be managed through a variety of natural remedies. While these remedies can be effective, it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience with anxiety is unique. If you’re struggling to manage your anxiety, it’s always a good idea to consult with a mental health professional who can provide personalized guidance and support. With the right tools and resources, it’s possible to find relief and regain control over your mental health.