Anxiety disorders are becoming more common and while we all feel anxious about things from time to time, it can be a real problem for a lot of people. When you suffer with anxiety all of the time, it can have a huge impact on your life and make it difficult to do things that other people take for granted. Simple things like going to the shops or going to work every day can be incredibly anxiety inducing and may even lead to panic attacks in the most serious cases.
When you have an issue with anxiety, it’s important that you deal with the root cause of the problem. If you speak with a counsellor or a therapist, you can talk through your anxieties and work out where they come from in the first place. Often, these things have their roots in past events that you did not think were relevant and by understanding the root cause of your anxieties, you can move past them and start to regain control of your life. However, this is a long term solution and it can take a while to get there.
As well as talking therapies to find the root cause of your anxieties, you need to find ways to manage your symptoms in the short term so your anxiety doesn’t affect your life in such a negative way. The first thing to do is to speak with your doctor and they may be able to offer you some medication that will manage the symptoms. But medication is a quick fix, not a long term one, and it’s important that you find other ways to deal with your anxiety. These are some of the best ways to manage your anxiety on a daily basis.
YOGA & MEDITATION
When you are very anxious, your mind is racing and the best way to relieve your anxiety is often to find ways to shut your brain down and get rid of all of that noise. That’s why you should definitely consider yoga because it’s one of the best ways to do that. Yoga is a great relaxation method that helps to relieve stress and anxiety in a short period of time. The breathing exercises and stretches help to relax the body and mind. Taking that time away from the fast pace of modern life to ground yourself and empty your mind will also help to quiet your negative thoughts and relieve your anxiety. You can find so many great yoga videos for free on Youtube. If you’re feeling very anxious, you can find a quick ten minute practice and follow along. You’ll find that you feel a lot better afterwards. It’s also good to get into the routine of doing yoga in the evenings before bed because it can really help to improve your sleep, which is a big problem for people with anxiety.
Mediation is another common way that people try to relax and de-stress. Like yoga, it’s a great way to clear your mind and take some time for yourself. It’s also great at teaching you to be present and live in the moment, rather than focusing on the past or the future. When you think about it, anxiety is just worrying about the future. You’re anxious about what might happen or what people will think about you. Learning to let go of that and focus on the now rather than the future can be a big help when dealing with anxiety and meditation is a great way to teach you that. There are some great apps like Headspace that give you a free introduction to meditation and teach you some of the basic techniques. Youtube also has some great guided meditation videos that you can follow.
When you are extremely anxious and you feel that you might be on the verge of a panic attack, your breathing changes a lot. You will take short, sharp breaths and that increases feelings of anxiety. That’s why people always advise you to breathe deeply in and out when you are feeling angry, stressed, or anxious. Deep breathing is useful, but if you want the best results, you need to try some specific breathing exercises. There are two different types of breathing; chest and abdominal breathing. When we are anxious, we take short breaths that come from the chest, but that causes a lack of oxygen and that will make you feel more anxious. You need to practice abdominal breathing, not chest breathing if you want to relax. When you do abdominal breathing, your stomach will move in and out more than your chest. If you are feeling very anxious, you should make an effort to breathe from the abdomen and take long, deep breaths. Inhale for 3 seconds and then exhale for 4, if you repeat this, you should find that you start to relax and the feelings of anxiety fade. It’s important that you get used to breathing this way because it could help you to avoid a panic attack in the future.
MANAGING YOUR DIET
Your diet has a big impact on your mental health so if you are going to stay on top of your anxiety, you need to think about what you are eating and drinking. In general, you need to make sure that you are eating a balanced, nutritious diet and avoiding too many unhealthy foods. If you lack nutrition, your mood will be affected and it can lead to an increase in symptoms of anxiety. Sugar, in particular, should be avoided because it will give you an initial boost but then you will crash and your mood will drop, making you feel a lot more anxious.
The most important nutrients for tackling anxiety are vitamins B6 and Iron. They both play a role in the production of serotonin, often known as the happiness hormone, in the brain. If your brain has healthy levels of serotonin, it is easier to let go of negative thoughts and anxieties. But when your serotonin is lacking, those feelings of anxiety will increase. Vitamin B6 can be found in a lot of foods, including meat, fish, vegetables, and fruits (but not citrus ones). Iron is also present in red meat but if you don’t eat meat, you can find it in beans, potatoes, and leafy green vegetables like spinach. Adding these foods to your diet isn’t going to rid you of anxiety overnight, but it can help you to manage it properly.
In terms of things to avoid, caffeine is a big one. We all enjoy a cup of tea or coffee but if you’re drinking too much, it could be increasing your feelings of anxiety. One or two cups a day is fine and shouldn’t cause you any problems, but don’t drink more than that. You should also avoid caffeine after 2pm because it will make it difficult to sleep and lack of sleep increases feelings of anxiety.
You should cut back on alcohol as well, especially if you drink regularly. Drinking a lot is very common amongst people with anxiety problems because it helps them to relax in the short term. However, it actually makes you feel more anxious in the long term and if you’re not careful, you can become reliant on it. You don’t need to give up drinking entirely, but try not to do it too often.
When dealing with anxiety, exercise is often recommended as it makes such a big difference. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins which help you to reduce stress and boost your mood. It’s also a great distraction and often gives the person exercising a feeling of release. If you are feeling particularly anxious, removing yourself from that environment and going for a run can be a very good way to shake those feelings. Even just going for a walk with someone you trust to look after you incase you panic or feel too anxious can be really helpful. I live by the sea and often walk along the beach.
When people are looking for alternative treatments for anxiety, they are often advised to try CBD. This is a relatively new, and sometimes controversial treatment, that people are using for all sorts of health issues. The research into it is still in the early stages so people are not sure quite how effective it is yet. However, there are a lot of people that are using CBD oil for anxiety and getting good results. It can help to relax the body and deal with some of the more physical symptoms of anxiety, and that often has a knock on effect on the psychological symptoms as well. There is no guarantee that it will be effective for you, but it’s definitely worth trying if you are struggling with your anxiety and you can’t find anything that works.
These methods will not deal with the root cause of your anxieties but they will help you to manage it effectively as you begin to understand it and deal with the long term problem.