Anxiety and having anxiety issues is a word that I hear thrown around a lot these days. While I know that I do have it and have been diagnosed, there are so many natural ways to deal with anxiety that I have been able to avoid both self medicating with dangerous things and medicating with actual western medicine as well.
Note that if you are having mental or physical stress issues, please take to a doctor or qualified professional.
Identify What Actually Causes you Anxiety: Our natural reaction is to pay attention to the symptoms and not the cause. But figuring our what is causing that heart pounding, body paralysing feeling is the first step in figuring out how to stop it. When you start to get these feelings take a moment and think through, journal even, what happened and what caused those feelings.
Get Your Sleep: Stress and anxiety, along with just about everything else both good and bad in our lives, depend so much on the amount of sleep that we get. Make sure you are getting 7-8 hours of QUALITY sleep each night.
Exercise: A reminder from Elle Woods. “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” And they make you less stressed out too. Try and set aside 30 minutes 4 times a week to really get some sweat time in. It will help you release that stress and flood your brain with all kinds of yummy endorphins.
SunLight: Another healthy flood of good chemicals and Vitamin D for your brain and body. This time it’s Serotonin which increases feelings of calmness. Both Anxiety Attacks and Panic attacks have been linked to lack of sunlight. On top of that, recent studies have linked being closer to nature (Walk in the park ect.) to reduced stress.
Declutter: Excessive clutter sends a constant signal to the brain that there is something that needs to be done. This can become super stressful. Spend a little bit of time each day just putting things back where they have a home. You don’t need to go Marie Kondo but you should have someplace for everything.
Affirmations: When Anxiety is already there, affirmations work very well. Practicing them before the event can help a lot. Little sayings like “This is only Temporary” “I am in control” “I can take this one step at a time.” Are three of my favorites that work really well when I feel myself becoming overwhelmed.
Oils: I never underestimate the power of scent. It is so deeply connected to our emotions and feelings that it would be silly to overlook them. Defuse them in you room or apply them to your skin (But only if you have the highest quality.) Some scents that are beneficial to anxiety and depression are:
Breathing/ Meditation: I am a very very big fan of meditation and breathing exercises. It is something my Aunt who is a phycologist taught me when I was having panic attacks. Inhale for five seconds, hold for five seconds, release for five seconds. Imagining you exhaling all the old air and stressful thoughts. Inhaling visualize your lungs filling up with new, fresh, crisp air.
Be Careful of Your Circles: People have a huge affect on us. Our community can make or break us. I have definitely had friends and jobs where just the ding of my text message tone would cause this deep sense of dread. I would be afraid to even answer it or look at my notifications. It got to the point where certain ones I would mute because they could ruin my entire day. Some of these were jobs too…silly things that shouldn’t have stressed me out. Make sure the people around you are building you up and not sending you into these fits. Keep your circles of friends and coworkers positive and ready to help build each other up, not scare the living shit out of you.
Cut down on your stimulants: I know. The last thing that you want to hear is for someone to say you should cut back on your coffee, energy drinks and nicotine. But these are medically, scientifically and unarguably raising your heart rate and making those panic attacks more frequent and worse. If you need the ritual, try herbal tea.
What are your go to ways to reduce anxiety and stress? Remember that none of these techniques are meant to replace mediation. If you are experiencing destress, talk to a professional.