An unpleasant, panic-filled word that can harm many of us both physically and psychologically. Did you know that nearly 40 million Americans are affected by anxiety disorders, and about 15 million Americans suffer from a social anxiety disorder? You are not alone, but you CAN overcome it, it just takes practice and belief in yourself. Anxiety is a stress inducing feeling that usually occurs when you feel like you’ve lost control in your life, thus leading to trying to regain control with less sleep, obsessive thinking, or avoiding certain situations. These result in a false sense of taking control of your life and in-turn increase the problem.
Anxiety may start off in your head but it can also affect your physical body. Common symptoms include: headaches, chronic pain, difficulty sleeping, upset stomach, high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction and strained relationships. Although only 1 in 3 people that suffer from anxiety disorders receive treatment, there are other ways to help yourself in these moments (or prolonged periods) of anxiousness:
How you can take control of your anxiety:
1. Breathing: If you experience a sudden rush of anxiety and feel utterly lost, focus on your breathing. Take long, slow breaths - it will naturally calm your body down.
2. Exercise: Regular exercise can help ease the natural tension that is associated with anxiety. Also, if you’re not busy and are feeling anxious, a small amount of exercise can help take your mind off of the anxiety and will help you feel better.
3. Positive thought: Something a lot of people underestimate is the power of your own thinking. Obsessive thinking and negative thoughts such as “I can’t, I won’t, This will not, I’m scared” will NOT aid you in overcoming anxiety. Turn those repetitive thoughts into one’s like, “I’m okay, I can do this, Everything will be alright” to ease your mind.
4. Talking: Talking to others about what’s on your mind can help release those negative feelings you’re harboring. Next time you feel overwhelming anxiety, explain it to a loved one or friend. Just venting your fears can make you feel like a load has been taken off your shoulders.
5. Let go of control: Learn to accept that some things are just out of your control. Once this expectation is gone, you’ll likely have a reduction of your stress.
6. Avoid substances such as: Caffeine, which replicates symptoms of anxiety when you’re already stressed out. Alcohol, too much can increase anxiety. Refined sugar, which wreaks havoc on your blood sugar levels, leading to jittery, anxious feelings, use natural sweeteners instead! (Like honey...the nectar of the gods!)
Though anxiety can be destructive to your daily health, it is not the end. You do not have to accept dealing with it forever. Practice the 6 anxiety-reducing steps above, and you will be on your way back to tranquility. Once you make the necessary changes to take a hold of your life, the world get’s much more enjoyable. So slow down, and enjoy the view because everything is going to be alright. To quote the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, “If it’s not alright, it’s not the end.” =)
Check out this helpful article for more information on anxiety, natural ways to reduce it, and other techniques: http://www.uspharmd.com/blog/2008/100-natural-ways-to-overcome-anxiety/