Anxiety can be debilitating, and if you are having an anxiety or panic attack, you will do anything to get it to go away. But doctors and psychiatrists tell us to take medications, which can sometimes be harmful.
Instead of reaching for the barbiturates or muscle relaxers that can create addiction, try some natural ways to help relieve your anxiety and stress. Here are eight natural ways you should try.
Exercises refer to physical actions done to achieve body fitness, boost health, or tone desired parts of the body. However, exercise is more than just getting a lean body or more muscles. It assists in mental health.
Exercises result in a fast heart rate and more blood circulation to the brain. This action stimulates the release of endorphins hormones, commonly known as feel-good hormones. Endorphins ward off feelings of pain, anxiety, depression, and stress.
Engaging in physical exercise distracts your thoughts from stress triggers. During training, your body releases dopamine and norepinephrine hormones, which increase concentration on your task. Focus on the activity diverts attention from hurdles in life and amplifies good moods.
Low self-esteem causes social anxiety disorder, making you feel bad about yourself or not good enough to accomplish specific tasks. Regular exercises improve your cognitive abilities making learning and memorizing things easy. Additionally, practice leads to higher collagen production, which accelerates the production of new cells, giving you a youthful appearance. Routine workouts improve your body image and confidence. A combination of all these benefits improves how you feel about yourself, reducing anxiety.
Deep thoughts, fear of nightmares, and false fears result in insomnia which triggers anxiety. However, physical exercises help your body stay alert during the day and boost deep sleep at night. Better sleep reduces stress and improves your heart health. Despite these benefits, medical professionals advise against exercises close to bedtime hours because it inhibits sleep.
Normal functionality of the human body requires transporting essential chemicals, food nutrients, electrolytes, and hormones to critical organs. Body fluids play an integral role in the circulation of these components. However, all body fluids and blood rely on water to ensure proper circulation and body parts coordination.
It is simplistic to say that dehydration is an immediate cause of anxiety. However, it is a serious trigger of other issues that lead to anxiety, such as depression, irritability, fatigue, and stress. When your body lacks enough water, the adrenal glands produce more cortisol that causes insomnia, agitation, extreme fatigue, and low libido.
The body hydration level impacts how your body sends signals to and from one part to the other. A dehydrated body sends out odd signals such as dizziness, dry mouth, a fast heart rate, high blood pressure, fatigue, dry skin, nausea, and light headaches. These symptoms trigger panic attacks, intense emotions to the point of death.
Human bodies require varied water consumption based on the nature of work, diet, illness, gender, weight, exercise degree, and environment. Generally, it is safe for males to take approximately 3.7 liters a day and 2.7 liters for females.
Hydration plays a huge role in reducing stress effects. Ensure your body remains well hydrated by taking a minimum of eight glasses a day. Although water will help you reduce anxiety, it is not the only remedy. Consult with a physician to identify and treat the real cause of your stress.
There is scientific evidence to show nutrition has a significant impact on the development of neuropsychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression. Diets with low antioxidants lead to oxidative stress, which is an imbalance in oxygen levels and reactive species. Introducing oxidative stress leads to the destruction of cells due to high levels of radicals in the body.
Excessive production of free radicals in the body has many destructive results, including:
- Alterations of the electron transportation chains
- More phagocytes
- Excess release of copper and iron ions
- Stimulates enzymes that produce radicals
- Block activity of major enzymes
- Destroy (deoxyribonucleic acids) DNA
- Reduce energy generation
Meals rich in antioxidants help to protect the body cells from damage by free radicals. Food rich in selenium prevents the destruction of body cells. Nuts, vegetables, mushrooms, and animal products have high selenium nutrients. Too much selenium has side effects explaining why 400 micrograms a day is enough for an adult.
Fish products high in omega-3 help to improve mental capabilities and reduce anxiety. The fatty acids help to reduce inflammation of brain meninges. However, fatty fish with omega-6 contribute to mood disorders.
Taking vitamins supplements rich in antioxidants helps to combat anxiety. Vitamin A, C, and E supplements will help in anxiety relief. Other foods such as beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein will help reduce stress. Beware of food products you should eat raw or cooked to avoid reducing antioxidants activity after cooking.
Acupuncture is a method from ancient Chinese medicine that uses tiny needles to release stress and treat body pain. The practice relies on the belief that the human body has thousands of energy channels or meridians. An imbalance in the flow of energy in these meridians leads to pain, stress, or anxiety.
The procedure aims to apply heat or pressure at strategic points to stimulate energy flow and regain balance. Studies around this ancient technique show that it influences part of the nervous system that controls body functions. However, there is no sufficient evidence that the human body has energy meridians.
Acupuncture helps to stimulate the nervous system by improving blood flow. High blood circulation to the brain activates the production of endorphins, hence the feel-good sensations. The success of the treatment depends on the acupuncturist’s knowledge, the mood in the room, and the accurate insertion of needles at strategic points.
The acupuncturist will require a complete medical history, highlight symptoms, behaviors, and lifestyle before treatment. A close examination of your tongue and pulse rate on your wrist is necessary for a recommendation of an acupuncture technique to use. Other than the needle method, here are different approaches to acupuncture:
- Cupping: Cup suction aimed at opening skin pores to stimulate blood and energy flow.
- Laser: Stimulates acupuncture points without the use of needles
- Acupressure: Application of pressure using fingers or other devices on meridian points to relieve anxiety.
- Tui-na: Combination of massage and pressure on strategic points to relieve anxiety.
- Moxibustion: Application of heated sticks from mugwort plants on acupuncture points to release fluid accumulation, fatigue, and stress.
Anxiety journaling is the art of writing and keeping a diary of your thoughts and feelings about your surroundings. It is a place of solace where you can confess and express your fears or struggles in life without any prejudice and judgments. A journal allows you to manage anxieties, reduce depression and cope with depressing situations.
A journal allows you to understand your main fears and concerns. This action is crucial as you can come up with possible solutions to confront your difficulties. The ability to create answers to your distress has a calming effect on the mind.
An anxiety journal helps you to remain positive despite your surroundings. It highlights the primary triggers of anxieties and allows you to learn how best to control them. Positive self-talk motivates you to stay strong and discourage negative feelings that ruin your moods.
A journal is a great way to focus on self-development and strengthen your immune system. As you pen down solutions, you motivate the brain to think faster and critically. Such actions improve your cognitive abilities. Private writing allows you to reach out for help from social groups leading to emotional healing. Positive thoughts and confessions reduce anxiety or depression from illnesses and other life stressors.
Tapping, commonly known as the emotional freedom technique (EFT), is a method that relies on physical and mental therapy to reduce anxiety or depression. This method adopts the concept of acupuncture only that instead of needle insertion, it advocates for tapping the meridian points.
Clinicians believe that tapping stimulates the body along the meridian lines, removing imbalances and relieving stress. The patient must focus on the stressful situation while tapping the acupuncture points using a fingertip. You must maintain a particular tapping sequence and do a rating of your distress after the sequence. If the rating is poor, continue with the process until you feel better.
The tapping technique identifies nine main acupuncture points. These meridian lines include:
- Eyebrow (bladder meridian)
- Top of the head (governing vessel)
- The chin (central vessel)
- Collarbone (kidney acupuncture point)
- Under the eye (stomach meridian)
- Side of the eye (gall bladder pressure point)
- Under the nose (governing vessel)
- Side of the hand (small intestine meridian)
- Underarm (spleen meridian)
EFT methods lead to lower blood pressure, heart rates, and levels of cortisol. In addition, participants have improved moods, weight loss, and reduce body pains. Further, some studies have shown that tapping can raise your immune levels.
Tapping is a practical, painless, and cheap natural way of reducing anxiety. If you are considering this technique, look for a tapping facilitator to guide you.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, relaxation and stress reduction were reasons for a massage in half of the consumers in 2020. Massage manipulates soft muscle tissue through kneading, stroking, vibrations, rubbing, or tapping using body parts or special devices.
Massage techniques vary based on the patient’s choice and the therapist’s expertise. The most common method used in relaxation is aromatherapy. In this approach, the massage therapist uses essential oils to rub your skin and relieve body tension.
Massage helps to relax the mind and the body. As a result, the blood pressure and the heart rate slows down, thereby reducing anxiety. Moreover, massage limits the production of cortisol, hence improving the immune system against diseases.
A lower heart rate and reduced cortisol accelerate sleepiness. Massage therapy will not only allow you to fall asleep quickly but also have a deep sleep. Quality sleep is essential in the production of body cells and renewing your strength. Since insomnia contributes to anxiety, massage helps to manage and reduce this feeling.
During a massage session, the body releases dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin hormones. A combination of these chemicals dramatically improves your moods and reduces anxiety.
Anxiety bracelets are wrist straps fashioned with crystal stones, copper, or magnetic beads that use the medical phenomenon of acupressure point therapy adapted from traditional Asian medicine inventions. They encompass identifying body reactions to pain and using the same responses to manipulate desired changes in the body through situations.
The bracelets produce tension on the wrist to induce pressure pain from targeted exertion points during an anxiety attack. This action generates a body response to counter the panic, causing an awareness of the present situation and the need to control your anxiety before it escalates further.
Modern-day has seen the emergence of vibrating metallic bracelets that perform the same function but are expensive. With little faith accorded to these bracelets, their effectiveness relies on self-belief. Therefore, it is ideally safe for you to employ anxiety bracelets combined with other measures to achieve success.
Occasional anxiety is an everyday life experience, and you might feel a bit uneasy when faced with situations in various environments, which is normal. Anxiety becomes a disorder when it elicits more than a temporary worry and worsens over time. Ultimately anxiety interferes with our day-to-day activities and, even worse, affects the health of an individual.
With a higher level of self-involvement and awareness, anxiety is manageable personally without sourcing for invasive medical procedures such as prescriptions or surgery. As you have seen above, there are many natural ways of managing and treating anxiety. It is worth noting that before you begin any treatment above, consult with your physician. A medical practitioner will offer guidance in the best method or combination of techniques to use for effective treatment.