7 Ways to Deal With Anxiety
Almost everyone in their life at some time, experiences some form of temporary anxiety, uncertainty, or fear. Particular now in these unprecedented times of lock downs, restrictions and changes to how we work and interact socially.
Life is not easy. And there are always new challenges, particularly when there is abrupt change or threats to our normal way of life.
Firstly, it's important to realise that in every crises, there is always benefit so it's key to look to identify those benefits so that you're not constantly focussed on the problem or the negatives which will breed further anxiety.
When you're constantly focussed on your problems, challenges, or the things you can't control, it can become debilitating emotionally, effecting your ability to function normally throughout your day.
If you you or someone you know ever finds your self constantly feeling anxious, here are some simple steps you can take to relieve the anxiety, find inner peace and get back to feeling your best self.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension or lingering fear.
The cause of this uneasiness is not always easily identified or recognised which can actually add to the distress.
Many people describe anxiety like this... “Everything just stresses me out. I am always worried.”
Unremitting anxiety can be where someone feels perpetually trapped in a toxic state, where they feel there is no clear way to re-create physical and emotional calm.
What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion often accompanied by various physical symptoms. It can burden the body just as depression can.
Commons symptoms include:
- Irritable mood
- Sleeping difficulties
- Decreased concentration
- Sexual problems
- Restlessness or a feeling of being “on edge”
People who tend to have excessive anxiety are prone to a variety of maladies from heart disease to headaches.
The kidneys are extremely sensitive to emotional stress. On top of each kidney sit the adrenal glands which are responsible for energising the body and producing the 'stress hormone' known as cortisol.
A certain amount of cortisol is healthy and helps us to perform routine daily functions, including work and exercise. But if the kidneys or adrenals are overwhelmed - usually due to emotional factors or a poor diet - excess cortisol is produced, leading to fatigue/tension/anxiety and impaired bodily functioning.
An obvious sign of chronic anxiety, exhaustion and weak kidneys is darkened skin under the eyes.
The stomach is also a very sensitive organ that reflects even our most subtle feelings.
Problems in this area may also reflect our worries, anxiety, fear, discontent, impatience, stress and other repressed feelings.
Other physical symptoms include:
- Twitching or trembling
- Muscle tension
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Rapid or irregular heart rate
- Increased rate of respiration
- Upset stomach
- Diarrhoea or frequent need to urinate
The Lymphatic/Immune System stores and also contains the emotional molecules of:
What Causes Anxiety?
Anxiety is a sign of unrelieved or unresolved stress.
Intense nervousness and self-consciousness can arise from a fear of being closely watched, judged, abandoned and/or criticised by others.
One of the most common causes of too much stress is feeling an ongoing burden of responsibility.
Stress can be anything that disturbs a person’s sense of well being although it is difficult to define. What might be stressful for one person may be an enjoyable challenge for another. Learn more in Stress Management Without Harmful Addictions
However, there are events that nearly everyone considers to be stressful, such as:
- Divorce or separation
- Job loss
- Serious injury or illness
When the body produces excess adrenaline, it is usually responding to a stressful event or the symptoms of a high-sugar, refined-grain diet.
This increases the heart rate and blood flow to the muscles and slows down other processes, such as digestion, so that we are equipped to run or fight if necessary.
This is known as the “fight-or-flight” response.
The body responds automatically in this way even though most stressful events are unlikely to necessitate such a severe response.
The way we respond to stress, not so much the stress itself, determines whether the impact will be large or small. Coping poorly by turning to drugs, alcohol or ignoring the stressor usually makes the situation worse.
Over time, unrelieved stress can lead to anxiety, insomnia and depression.
Our bodies may reflect the harmony or disharmony between our desires and actions. If our hearts are out of step with our actions, we may experience stress, anxiety, and depression that seem to come from nowhere.
At times, everyone experiences the normal human emotion of anxiety. Many people feel anxious or nervous when faced with problems at work, before taking a test or making an important decision.
When anxieties interfere with the ability of the person to lead a normal life, though, this is called an anxiety disorder. For people with anxiety disorders, worry and fear are constant and can be crippling.
Generalised Anxiety Disorder
This disorder involves excessive, unrealistic worry and tension, even if there is little or nothing to provoke the anxiety.
People with GAD characteristically exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events. They can’t stop worrying about health, money, family, work or school, and tend to always expect disaster. This worry often is unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation.
Daily life becomes a constant state of worry, fear and dread for GAD sufferers. Eventually, the anxiety so dominates the person’s thinking that it interferes with daily functioning, including work, school, social activities and relationships.
Social Anxiety Disorder
When a person has an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situation, it is called social anxiety disorder, or social phobia.
A fear that a person with social anxiety disorder has is making mistakes and being embarrassed or humiliated in front of others. The fear may be made worse by a lack of social skills or experience in social situations.
The anxiety can build into a panic attack. Because of this, the person endures certain social situations in extreme distress or may avoid them altogether.
Natural Remedies For Anxiety
1. Clean Up Your Diet
Eating too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right foods can influence anxiety, because it impacts the body's blood sugar balance and spikes insulin.
This means you'll want to avoid chemical, processed and fast foods which lack the nourishment you and your cells need when you're dealing with emotional blockages and challenges.
Not eating healthily can also lead to weight gain and obesity which can not only compound the symptoms but also lead to lower self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness further contributing to the problem.
Embrace Plant-Based Whole Foods
Recent studies have shown that foods rich in the following vitamins, minerals and trace elements are effective for improving symptoms:
- Vitamins A, B & D
- Magnesium - Learn more in the blog: Magnesium Deficiency: Symptoms, Causes & Remedies
Healthy “good” fats full of omega-3, natural unrefined carbohydrates and plant-based protein are also important to have in your diet; as well as yellow and orange fruits which are known to stimulate feel good chemicals in the body and brain e.g. oranges, peaches, apricots, mangoes, bananas, pineapple, lemons etc.
Good foods for anxiety include:
- Dark leafy greens - Kale & Spinach
- Good fats - Avocados, Macadamia, Coconut & Olive oils
- Beans - Black beans & Chickpeas
- Nuts & seeds - Pecans, Brazil Nuts, Almonds & Walnuts, Chia, Hemp & Pumpkin Seeds
- Whole grains - Barley, oatmeal & quinoa
- Sea vegetables - Dulse, kelp, nori & kombu
- Whole, Organic Dairy e.g. Grass-Fed Butter & Yogurt.
In addition to their nutritional value, plant-based foods contain electrical frequencies of light that stimulate physical and emotional health, happiness and peace in your body.
Violet/Purple whole foods help to release molecular deposits in your blood stream which could also be contributing to anxiety, nervousness and depression. Be sure to include a number of these foods into your diet also:
- Dark Grapes
- Red Onions
Items To Limit & Avoid
- Hard Alcohol e.g. Liquor, Spirits, Beers & Wine that contain preservatives and chemicals
- Commercial Caffeine & Energy Drinks
- Trans Fats & Hydrogenated Oils
- Processed Meats
- Refined Sugar & Grains
- Artificial Sweeteners
All of these foods promote inflammation in the body and should be avoided!
Eating anything containing “fast sugars” in the form or refined carbohydrates (processed sugars) can exacerbate anxiety because of the energy “hit” it gives you, typically followed by a "crash" leading to mood swings and fluctuating energy levels.
By the same token, having too much caffeine or alcohol can also lead to moodiness, nervousness and anxiety. If you're going to drink these beverages, be sure to drink organically grown, chemical-free coffee and no-additive, no-preservative, naturally brewed beers and organic wine.
2. Deep Breathing
When viewed calmly, many problems seem far less insurmountable. Relaxation and deep breathing may help you keep your problems in perspective.
Most people travel through life breathing shallow, never properly expanding their lungs and taking in fresh, electrically charged air. And yet, it's one of the simplest daily practices that you can do to promote physical and emotional calm.
This simple technique serves to influence the parasympathetic nervous system, reducing the effects of the “fight or flight” response as well as bringing a sense of peace.
Do the following outdoors, first thing in the morning if you can, in the most calm environment you can find nearest to your home:
- First breathe in through your nose
- Fill your lungs right up & hold for a count of 7
- Then slowly breathe out through your mouth
- Repeat until you feel yourself calming down & reach a sense of peace.
Meditation can be powerful because it helps to quieten the mind, allowing you to unwind and de-stress and achieve a deeper sense of inner calm and peace.
A particular form of meditation called “mindfulness”, has been shown to be especially effective at reducing the symptoms of anxiety and stress.
- Find a quiet place where you can sit on a chair with your feet flat on the floor
- Using the deep breathing technique above, clear your mind of all thoughts and focus on the inhalation and exhalation of each breath
- After a minute or two, begin to transfer your focus to become aware of sounds, sensations and 1 or 2 thoughts that stand to serve you and a positive frame of mind
- If your mind starts to get carried away with clutter, return your focus to your breath.
You can also try this type of example…
Guided Meditation & Visualisation
Relax and imagine that you are sitting in a great meadow on a perfect day...
The sky is filled with rainbow lights, and one shaft of the white light has found you. It is brighter than one hundred suns. You feel it warming the top of your head. Now it penetrates your skull and flows into your body. You feel it warming the inside of your head, and then it flows down your neck into your chest. It radiates into your arms, into your hands, right down to your fingertips. This light continues to flow through your abdomen and into your legs, feet, and toes. You feel that you are brimming over with light. The light is cleansing you. All negative emotions and thoughts are dissolved by the light. Imagine that the impure elements are leaving you in the form of dark smoke, which is quickly blown away by a gentle breeze. You are left feeling free and joyful.
4. Move Your Body Daily
Not only is Movement (specifically "Walking") one of the 7 Principles of Health, it’s also a great way to ease symptoms of anxiety, reduce stress and stimulate feel-good emotions due to the production of dopamine and endorphins that occur when you move your body.
Walking outdoors in clean, fresh air for 30-45 minutes per day is number 1 if you're physically able to walk. If you're doing this as a minimum and want to take things up a notch, add other forms of low impact activity that work for you and that you enjoy.
Some particularly great activities for people who suffer from anxiety are yoga and tai chi, because in addition to promoting relaxation, they also involve deep breathing that as we’ve already seen is great for calming the nerves and instilling a sense of peace.
"Earthing" is also very powerful - which involves connecting your bare feet to the earth to absorb the electric charge of the earth's surface. The best form of earthing or grounding is to walk bare footed on the sand or grass. The earth is like a giant battery which has negative electrons just below the surface which your body absorbs for benefit and healing when you connect your skin directly with the earth. Not only will earthing help to soothe anxiety and stress, but also to reduce inflammation in the body.
Aside from this, other activities such as hiking, jogging, lifting weights and dancing can help to promote the production of those “feel good” chemicals which can serve to relieve anxiety, relax you and improve your mood.
5. Get Enough Rest & Sleep
One of the worst contributors to anxiety is a lack of quality sleep.
Not getting enough sleep can wreck havoc on your nervous system and your ability to cope with stress.
For best health, you should get 8 hours of sleep every night in order to help your body rest and recover as well as let your mind process thoughts and emotions. Not only will this reduce feelings of fatigue but also help prevent mood swings and combat the effects of stress.
6. Embrace Essential Oils
This most popular of essential oils is well-known for its relaxing and calming effects it has on the mind and body.
- Rub a few drops onto your neck, temples and wrists
- Diffuse a few drops with water at home or at work
- Inhale directly from the bottle whenever you feel an anxiety attack coming on
- Add to a hot bath with Epsom Salts: The Health Benefits of Bath Salts & How to Make Your Own
- Diffuse a few drops with water at home, at work or while meditating
- Rub onto the neck, chest and wrists, diluted with some Fractionated Coconut Oil
- Inhale directly from the bottle.
7. Reach Out For Support
In addition to all of the other natural remedies, having a shoulder to lean on - someone to not only talk over your worries with, but who can help you laugh, look on the bright side and change your emotional state can be a game changer!
Getting support from family and friends and professional counsellors and therapists can also be highly beneficial. Just be careful that who you connect with doesn't compound your anxiety because sometimes they can amplify the problem by talking too much about the problem, rather than focussing on the benefit or solution to shift your mental and emotional state.
Often time, people fall into the trap of over-analysing their anxiety and talking it over to death, which keeps you in a negative state and doesn't solve the problem - and this is the issue with many types of counselling.
By all means, talk things over, but the key to releasing anxiety is being able to let go of the negative and embrace the positive...and this generally involves a change in emotional energy and state, which usually only comes from a happy person or environment.
Tolman Self Care.