Natural Ways to Calm Everyday Anxiety
Anxiety is something many of us deal with on a daily basis. However, there are individuals who are incapacitated with constant thoughts of anxiety; so much that the daily activities of life are impacted. These people cannot find peace of mind, and need to actively try and get their anxiety under control.
While medication is available to help with anxiety, it should not be the first line of treatment you seek out, as they can come with lots of adverse effects and cause the user to build up a dependence.
The better option is to seek out natural ways to calm the anxiety – those without lingering negative effects and which are likely to help you cope better in the long run.
Let’s explore what your best options are:
Meditation should be the core of a strategy to naturally manage anxiety, since it can help ground irrational fears. While we all have apprehension and uncertainty about the future, meditation helps us to take each moment at a time.
The goal of meditation is not to block out negative emotions, but help us learn to not linger on them. 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. The end goal is to have control over your thoughts and not let them negatively ruin your day. There are a lot of smartphone apps available, some free and some paid. They provide guided meditations or simply calming visuals and sounds.
Sleep Enough At Night
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 after even just one night of sleep loss your performance will decrease, and you will be prone to quick anger and agitation. Strive for a minimum of 7 hours nightly to keep your brain chemistry on point.
Exercise is one of the best medicines we have at our disposal, as there are few things that are comparable to the range of health benefits it offers. Exercise, similar to sleep, helps to naturally manage anxiety and depression, by increasing levels of the feel good and stress-busting chemicals known as endorphins.
Anxiety can be partially worsened by high levels of adrenalin, but although exercise does temporarily increase adrenalin levels, the endorphins temper its effects and leave you in a better mood for hours afterwards.
Eat Dark Chocolate
An excuse to eat chocolate for your health? Yes please! Dark chocolate has numerous benefits on health, and is not your typical sugar laden variety. Dark chocolate is particularly effective in reducing the impact that the stress hormone cortisol has on our body, including precipitating anxiety.
Its mode of action of unique, as it relays relaxation from the stomach to the brain. Similar to the way that you feel nervousness in your stomach, a nerve named the vagus nerve can be exploited for soothing anxiety too.
Try To Get Sunlight Daily
People in colder climates have been observed to develop a condition known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which comes on during the winter months when sun exposure is limited.
Symptoms of SAD include depression, irritability and increased anxiety, all of which are helped with exposure to sunlight. If you do live in a climate where you are unable to get regular exposure to the sun when winter comes, artificial light therapy also helps improve symptoms. You can get light therapy lamps for your home, but make sure you’re still following your natural schedule of daylight hours. Using a therapy lamp at night could mess with your natural circadian rhythms!
Consume More Omega-3 Fats
Omega-3 fatty acids are strong anti-oxidants, and may help to stem the cause of your anxiety. Typically, the two hormones that are elevated are cortisol and adrenalin, both of which respond negatively to the influence of oxidation.
Omega-3 fats combat excessive oxidation and are anti-inflammatory, helping boost production of serotonin and dopamine, and helping keep your anxiety response normal.
Anxiety can be a debilitating issue, but there are things we can do naturally to help lessen the effects. Other options can include talking to a close friend or a therapist and journalling to get the anxious thoughts out of your brain. Sometimes just having them out on paper can help them stop spiralling and intensifying.
If you start to feel that anxiety is becoming an issue, know that you’re not alone and that it’s normal. Look back on what might have brought it on in the first place. Work on your sleep quality, limit alcohol, and try some of these other natural strategies as soon as you first feel the symptoms. You’ve got this, mama. Take care.