The estimated 40 million Americans who suffer from anxiety disorders know well the dread one feels when faced with the mental and physical symptoms of this affliction. Paralyzing headaches, shortness of breath, or obsessive ruminations make the simplest daily tasks insurmountable. Even people without disorders sometimes experience these manifestations and emotions during stressful situations (such as problems at work or financial problems).
Whether it's about money, family, health, or work, when anxious people start to worry, a panic attack is not far away. Although a Canadian study has just established a link between anxiety and intelligence, you may be looking for a natural solution to calm your bouts of stress. But first, let’s have a quick look at how anxiety manifests.
How does anxiety appear?
Anxiety is mainly caused by chronic stress, especially in the context of professional activity. It can also be personal, such as after the loss of a loved one, illness, divorce, etc. Anxiety can also appear at certain important periods of life such as after the announcement of a pregnancy or at menopause, marked by significant hormonal changes.
How does it manifest?
Symptoms of anxiety are characterized by extreme worrying, sometimes felt throughout the day, and that affects daily life and activities. The anxious person gets a feeling of fatigue, irritability, and concentration or memory problems related to too many thoughts or sleep disorders. Sometimes, anxiety also leads to bodily manifestations such as muscle tension or pain in the back or neck, stomach ulcers, or even heart rhythm disorders.
1. Accept The Situation
The more we suffer, the more we tend to feel bad about the discomfort we feel. A veritable vicious circle then begins: we feel guilt, which in turn feeds stress and the development or reinforcement of anxiety. Accepting that we are hurting right now is the first step toward understanding our situation and forming more positive habits.
2. Deep Breathing Techniques
When we are stressed and anxious, our breathing changes and becomes jerky. Taking the time to practice more conscious breathing, with cardiac coherence for example, or so-called abdominal breathing can help you relax almost instantly in the event of a crisis.
Deep breathing is a method believed to help relieve tension and release stress. To start, you can simply track the length of your breath. Lie down comfortably, with or without a pillow, and place your hands along your body. Relax, let go, and just focus on your breathing. Measure your inhales and exhales by counting mentally, then try to lengthen your exhale. Take ten to twenty deep breaths.
Abdominal breathing can help you deal with stress and anxiety. This will allow you to breathe more and more oxygen into your lungs. Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth. And start again.
3. Meditation and yoga
Meditation and yoga are two relaxing activities, which help to effectively fight against stress, tension, and anxiety. Meditation and yoga invite you to refocus on yourself and eliminate these bad energies from your mind. Yoga is not just a sports discipline.
It allows you to reconnect with your feelings, with positive thoughts. Certain postures help to strengthen the muscles, others encourage relaxation and well-being: cat posture, lotus posture, etc. You can perfectly combine yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.
4. Chamomile and Green tea
Chamomile infusions would have the same effect on the brain as valium, blocking certain receptors. If you feel the anxiety rising, prepare yourself a cup of chamomile or take a few drops of essential oil. Soothing effect guaranteed. Same observation for green tea, which would have the ability to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure.
5. Get A Good Night's Sleep
Restless sleep is rarely a sign of a great day. Conversely, a good night's sleep can contribute to feelings of invincibility. While fatigue generally increases adrenaline levels, making you more susceptible to stress, rest improves productivity. Getting enough sleep is essential for performance and helps manage stress.
When things go wrong, it's reassuring to know that it's normal. We can find this comfort by exchanging with people about different aspects of life. Spending time with certain people (even if it's virtually) can contribute to your happiness, and a familiar voice can stimulate the release of oxytocin, the love hormone.
7. Physical Exercise
There's nothing more relaxing than a good workout when you're on edge. Physical activity has an antidepressant and anti-anxiety effect that helps boost your morale and fight against the dark thoughts that go around in your head. By exercising regularly, you will also increase your self-esteem and your well-being. This will give you one less reason to stress.
8. Free your Mind
One of the most important characteristics of anxiety is that it constantly puts us under pressure.
An anxious person often cannot sit still and often wants to do several things at the same time, whether at home (managing homework, dinner, laundry, etc.) or work (overloaded agenda, numerous tasks running at the same time...)
Reducing this constant agitation, therefore, helps to fight against anxiety. Here are some actions you can take:
- Walk more slowly
- Set priorities (make lists)
- Take five minutes to rest (breathe)
- Take a nap
- Don’t overload your to-do list.
9. Seek professional help
The support of a therapist and the help of a mental health professional can be very beneficial if you want to avoid drifting into more dangerous behaviors. Seeing an anxiety specialist can help break out harmful patterns and learn new, healthier ways to live with anxiety.
Although controlling your anxiety isn't always possible, taking care of your mental and physical health reduces the chances of it becoming overwhelming. Be sure to eat a balanced and sufficient diet, get physical activity, get plenty of rest, and don't forget to be mindful of your self-talk. You will be more resistant to negative emotions and thoughts.