SEVEN WAYS TO BEAT ANXIETY NATURALLY
Anxiety is something many of us deal with on a daily basis. The car breaks down, the baby gets sick, there’s too much month at the end of the money…
All these things can cause significant amounts of stress — and even some degree of anxiety when the effects or feelings of stress last long after the event that caused them has been dealt with. Some individuals are incapacitated by constant thoughts of anxiety. These people cannot find peace of mind, their activities of daily living are affected, so they need to actively try and get their anxiety under control. Maybe you’re one of these people.
While there is medication available to help with anxiety, it should not be the first line of treatment you seek out, as these drugs come with lots of adverse side effects (which you’ll know if you’ve read my blog post on my unfortunate experience with pain medication), and they may even lead to dependence.
The much better option is to seek out natural ways to beat anxiety- those that won’t have lingering negative effects and will likely improve your ability to better cope with stress in the future.
Let’s examine a few:
GET MORE SLEEP
Lack of sleep causes your brain to go haywire, playing all sorts of tricks on you and decreasing your emotional tolerance as a whole. You may find that your performance during the day will significantly decrease even after just one night of poor sleep, and you will definitely be prone to anger and agitation. Aim for a minimum of 7 hours of per night to keep your brain functioning at its peak.
Exercise is one of the best medicines we have at our disposal, as there are few things that can even come close to comparing in terms of health benefits. Exercise, similarly to sleep, helps to naturally manage anxiety and depression by increasing levels of the feel-good, stress-busting chemicals known as endorphins.
High levels of adrenaline may worsen feelings of anxiety. But although exercise does temporarily increase adrenaline levels, the endorphins temper its effects and improve your mood for hours after you exercise.
EAT DARK CHOCOLATE
Yes, we actually have permission to eat more chocolate — as long as we stick to the dark stuff. Dark chocolate has numerous health benefits. It is particularly effective in reducing the impact of the stress hormone cortisol on our bodies. Cortisol’s mode of action of unique, as it relays relaxation from the stomach to the brain through the vagus nerve. Higher levels of cortisol leads to higher anxiety, so if we want to reduce anxiety we definitely want to reduce cortisol.
GET OUT IN THE SUN
People in colder climates often experience something known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the winter months when their sun exposure is limited. I know I always get a little down during December, January, and February, when it gets cold and gray here most of the time.
Symptoms of SAD include depression, irritability, and increased anxiety — all of which resolve with exposure to sunlight. If you do live in such a climate, and you are unable to get exposure to the sun when winter comes, artificial light therapy also helps improve symptoms.
CONSUME MORE OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega-3 fatty acids are strong antioxidants that may help to block the causes of your anxiety. Typically, the two hormones that are elevated in response to stress and anxiety are cortisol and adrenaline, both of which respond negatively to the influence of oxidation.
Omega–3 fats combat excessive oxidation and are antiinflammatory. As such, they help boost the production of serotonin and dopamine, which help keep your anxiety response down.
TRY AN ESSENTIAL OIL BLEND
Essential oils have been used for centuries to treat and prevent a variety of health problems, including anxiety. One of my favorite essential oil companies provides an anti-anxiety blend that includes tangerine, bergamot, lavender, ylang-ylang, rosemary, cedarwood, and roman chamomile.
This can be used either topically (I recommend dabbing a few drops on the soles of your feet, and then cover your feet up with some warm, fuzzy socks) or in a diffuser. Just three or four drops for 30 minutes at a time will do the trick.
Last, but definitely not least, let’s talk about prayer and/or meditation (note: the only type of meditation I recommend is meditation on Scripture) should be the cores of a natural strategy aimed at managing anxiety, since it helps ground your irrational fears and connects you to an outside, Higher Power. While we all may experience some apprehension when we’re thinking about the future, prayer and meditation help us refocus on the present. And, more importantly, they help us refocus on the One who can truly help us overcome our anxiety.
As the Bible says, in Phillippians 4:6-7 (NAS): “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”Be anxious for nothing ... Philippians 4:6-7 (NAS) Click To Tweet
Get started first thing tomorrow morning. Just sit peacefully for 5 minutes at the beginning of your day. Let thoughts enter your mind freely, but do not let them linger. Pray them away, and let God replace them with His comfort and more peaceful thoughts. Don’t give your anxious thoughts the power to ruin your day.
So, tell me: Have you tried any of these? What are YOUR favorite ways to reduce anxiety?
You might also want to check out my post on 3 Ways to Quickly Relax Your Body When You’re Stressed.