Anxiety is a general term for numerous disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension and worrying. This affects the way that we feel and behave and can manifest in physical symptoms. If you suffer from anxiety for extended periods of time and it become debilitating and impacts your daily life then you may need to seek a professional opinion.
There are many different ways of how to deal with anxiety and here are just a few of the basics:
- Make lifestyle changes to combat anxious feelings, eliminating anxiety-inducing food/drink from your diet can do this. Changing the way you eat can impact your anxiety levels; here are a few anxiety provokers that you might want to avoid:
- If you drink coffee every morning try changing to decaffeinated tea or just water for a few weeks. You will notice reduced stress levels in those weeks.
- Alcohol, this is one of the most common triggers of anxiety. After a hard day at work people tend to unwind with a few drinks that make you feel stress free but shortly thereafter this feeling of relaxation gets cancelled out.
- You can add mood-enhancing foods to your diet consuming nutrients that allow your body to fight anxiety.
- Foods that contain Gamma-linoleic acid or omega 6 fatty acids.
- Antioxidants such as acai berries or blueberries.
- Foods high in magnesium and potassium such as bran, fish, almonds, dark chocolate, and pumpkin seeds. It has been proven a lack of magnesium leads to increased anxiety.
- Exercise is also a way to combat anxiety and relieve its symptoms, regular exercise creates feelings of well being during and post exercise.
- Cardiovascular exercise such as running, weight building and bike riding can help reduce anxiety
- Yoga is one of the more common exercises done to fight anxiety as the self-reflection and calm environment allow for relaxation.
- Deep breathing exercises are highly recommended for anxiety sufferers, when we are stressed, we breathe faster in in shorter breaths.
- Meditation and Slowing down the breathing allows more air through the lungs thereby decreasing blood pressure and relaxing the muscles.
- Get plenty of sleep to reduce anxiety caused by excess cortisol in your system. Cortisol is a hormone and in high levels causes stress and anxiety, so make sure you get the recommended 8-9 hours of sleep every night.
- Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This regulates the sleep cycle and results in better sleep.
- If you have a hard time falling asleep try taking melatonin supplements from a pharmacy or health shop.
- In this technology driven era this next one is a hard one but a must do- avoid your phone, laptop and television an hour before bed. These are common sources of anxiety; the bright light that comes from them disrupts sleep and prevents melatonin production.
- Confront the source of the anxiety if you can control it, keep a journal to gauge you anxious moments and figure out the cause of the stress. If you cannot control the source of the anxiety then try to avoid it, if people cause you anxiety then confront them and make changes so that you don’t have to deal with them. If the anxiety is caused by work or school then take time out and remove yourself from the situation by turning off your cell phone and not checking your email.
- Natural herbal methods to decrease anxiety such as the following:
- Chamomile supplements or tea, the chamomile flower is known for its calming effect.
- Ginseng is also known to relieve stress and taking a supplement could help.
- Valerian root is a popular sedative and can be taken during severe bouts of anxiety.
As a more extreme action you can seek the help of a professional to determine if you should be put on medication to deal with your anxiety. You will have to see a therapist if the anxiety is chronic and you feel it might be anxiety disorder. If you suffer from extreme social anxiety, panic attacks, and prolonged anxiety then it might be time to consider medication.