Dealing with anxiety is tough, no matter how old you are. There are so many aspects in life that can be stressful and if you live with an anxiety disorder, they can feel even more challenging to cope with. Yet when symptoms of anxiety arise, you may not need to turn immediately to prescription medication to alleviate them. Instead, here are several natural ways to cope with anxiety that can provide both short- and long-term relief.
1. Have a Cup of Tea
One excellent and very simple way to reduce feelings of anxiety is to have a warm cup of tea. Chamomile, which you can take as a supplement or steep in tea, has been shown to greatly reduce symptoms of generalized anxiety. Additionally, green tea has the benefit ofreducing your heart rate and blood pressure while also cultivating feelings of focus and calm. Therefore, next time you’re starting to feel stressed, try pouring yourself a cup of chamomile or green tea.
2. Get Moving
Exercise is a very effective way to reduce feelings of anxiety. In fact, just 20 to 30 minutes of heart-pumping movement every day can decrease your symptoms significantly. As an added bonus, regular exercise will boost your self-esteem and improve your overall physical health, potentially giving you one less thing to worry about! So find a physical activity that you enjoy and aim to do it regularly to feel both the short and longterm benefits it brings.
Take a Sedative Herb
One of the extremely unfortunate effects of anxiety is that it can lead to insomnia, or the inability to fall asleep. If this is something you struggle with, before trying a prescription sleeping pill, talk to your doctor or a naturopath about natural sleep aids and sedatives to help you get enough rest. For example, there are many herbs that you can consume, take as a tincture or find in a supplement form. Some of these include hops, valerian, passionflower and kava.
4. Breathe Deeply
Regular breathing exercises are another great way to help reduce feelings of anxiety because they help you reduce the risk of shallow, “over breathing” which can heighten feelings of stress. Try practicing some breathing techniques even when you aren’t stressed. This will help relieve overall tension, and help you to apply these techniques when your anxiousness rises easier. One that you can try is known as 4-7-8. To do this, start by putting your hand on your belly so that you can feel it rise and be sure you’re breathing deeply. Breathe in for a count of 4, then hold your breathe for a count of 7 and finished my exhaling slowly to a count of 8. Repeat this a few times and practice at least twice a day.
5. Find Some Warmth
According to a study, finding a source of warmth can lead to neurological responses that boost moods and reduce feelings of anxiousness. In other words, finding a source of heat—whether it’s under a blanket, by a fireplace, in a sauna, beneath the sun or on a tropical vacation— can help you to feel relaxed and happier.
6. Practice Mindfulness & Meditation
Practicing mindfulness and regular meditation is an excellent way to work towards clearing the mind of clutter and to observe present moments as they are—whether they are how you hoped they would be or not—without judgement. Not sure where to begin? There are many apps you can download on your phone to help you get started such as The Mindfulness App or Headspace. These apps will walk you through the steps to meditating, guiding you as you practice being mindful .
7. Eat Well
When you’re anxious, your body enters “fight or flight” mode. Therefore, it’s important to care for your immediate physical needs to help calm your body down. In other words, if you start feeling anxious, try having a healthy snack to help keep your blood sugar up. It’s important to pay attention to your diet as a long-term strategy of reducing your anxiety as well. Ensure your meals have plenty of leafy greens, avoid processed and high-sugar foods and try to regularly include Omega-3s in your diet too as these can help to lessen feelings of anxiety.
8. Speak With a Therapist
Another way that you can manage your anxiety before turning to prescription medication is to speak with a therapist or a counsellor. These mental health professionals can help to address the root of your symptoms, walk you through coping strategies and try techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help you restructure some of your thought patterns. Remember that as you’re learning to manage your anxiety, you’re not alone and there are people who want to help and support you.
Feature Image: JarleR