Anxiety about the uncertainties of life has always been the part and parcel of human behavior. Most of us have become victims to anxiety at some time or the other. That peculiar feeling of worry before appearing for the final exam or before taking a medical test, and then, those apprehensive moments spent waiting for the results are nothing but normal.
Anxiety to a certain extent can be helpful as it urges us to work hard to find an effective solution to a problem. However if anxiety begins to take the better of us i.e. we are constantly worrying about the “what ifs” and worst case scenarios taking action to stop it becomes imperative.
Anxiety literally means a feeling of worry, nervousness or unease specifically about an event that is liable to happen soon and the outcome of which is uncertain.
It is a psychological and physiological state of mind that plays a significant role in negatively effecting those emotions and feelings that are generally associated with our overall wellbeing. If timely measures are not taken, things could go out of control, because too many doubts and fears paralyze our system leaving within us a zero amount of motivation and productivity.
There are certain medications available for anxiety that is sometimes referred to as “tranquilizers” because they leave us feeling calm and relaxed. They work by reducing the physical symptoms of anxiety like muscle tension and restlessness. However there are side effects to these medicines that include sleepiness, weight gain and sexual problems. Since anxiety is more of a mental habit, we can prevent it from going out of hand with the help of some alternate treatments that are readily available within the comforts of our home.
Read on to find more about them.
Relax the mind and body
More than just a feeling anxiety is the body’s reaction to a perceived threat. Too much anxiety causes our heart to beat faster, increases our breathing and the muscles feel tensed. However a total opposite happens when we are relaxed, i.e. our heart beats at a slower rate, we breath in a slow and steady manner, our blood pressure comes down to normal and our muscles tends to relax. Therefore adopting certain relaxation techniques can prove to be very fruitful in this case. These relaxation techniques can be in the form of deep breathing exercises, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation.
We breathe faster when we are anxious which in turn leads to symptoms such as dizziness, breathlessness, lightheadedness and tingly hands and feet. However these symptoms can be reduced considerably if we learn to breathe deeply from the diaphragm. Deep diaphragmatic breathing can be achieved by aligning the position of our shoulders and chest while slowly breathing in and out.
Meditation in particular is very effective and works very well in reducing anxiety. Practicing meditation regularly can make our brains more active especially in certain areas like the prefrontal cortex, the area that induces feelings of serenity and joy. The technique that involves progressive muscle relaxation is, continuously tensing and then releasing the different muscle groups in the body. This technique relaxes our body first which in turn relaxes our mind.
Anxiety has become a common phenomenon in today’s world and aromatherapy is the latest, most widely used relaxation techniques. The idea is to smell something good whenever we perceive an anxiety attack, like baby powder or scented candles that help to calm the senses immediately. The therapeutic quality of some aromatic essential oils has the capability to transcend the mind to a world of tranquility. Scents like lavender, sandalwood, lemon, sweet marjoram etc. can help to calm our minds whenever we tend to feel anxious.
Tea has always played a vital role in the treatment and cure of several medical disorders and that includes anxiety also. There is a large variety of tea with ingredients that acts as a balm during an anxiety attack. They have the ability to release negative thoughts and relax the mind, body and soul simultaneously. Some of these teas include chamomile, cloves, lavender, orange blossoms and thyme.
Take good care of yourself
Keeping one self fit and healthy by maintaining a balanced lifestyle, we can prevent anxiety attacks at any given point of time. Here are certain aspects that can play a vital role to help us in taking care of ourselves.
• Exercise is the most natural and effective treatment for any kind of ailment. Exercising regularly for at least thirty minutes can help to fight the symptoms of anxiety. During an anxiety attack most of us experience a rush of adrenalin that can prove to be very harmful if left stagnant. Exercise is the only medium that can burn the extra adrenalin. Any form of exercise if practiced regularly can go a long way in improving our overall wellbeing as it helps to release endorphins, the brains feel good chemicals.
• Begin the day with a proper breakfast and continue to have small meals throughout the day. Remaining hungry for a long time or skipping a meal works to lower the blood sugar in our body which enhances the symptoms of anxiety and irritability. A healthy dose of complex carbohydrates in the diet like whole grains, fruits and vegetables not only helps to normalize the blood sugar level in our body but also boosts serotonin, a neurotransmitter with calming effects.
• Consumption of caffeine and sugar should be limited. Do away with the habit of drinking caffeinated beverages like soda, coffee or tea. Caffeine increases anxiety, interferes with our sleep and even triggers panic attacks. We must also cut the consumption of refined sugar as it causes blood sugar to rise and fall abruptly. This could make us feel physically and emotionally weak.
• To avoid an anxiety attack its best to stay away from alcohol and nicotine. Alcohol provides temporary relief from anxiety; however the anxiety symptoms flare up once the effects of alcohol reduces. Drinking to reduce anxiety will only lead to alcohol abuse and dependence. Cigarette smoking seems to have a calming effect while we’re feeling anxious but nicotine being a powerful stimulant it actually works to increase the anxiety level.
• Insomnia is a direct outcome of anxiety. Not getting enough sleep reduces our ability to handle stress that we go through in our everyday life. Proper sleep helps us to maintain our emotional balance which is very important to prevent anxiety.
• Anxiety closes in on us very rapidly when we feel powerless and alone. Building a good support system, wherein we stay connected with our friends and family, with whom we can share our worries, is a necessary step that can be taken to withstand anxiety.
Chronic stress and anxiety are always associated with the negative aspects of our life. All the good things in life take a backseat when anxiety begins to dictate our daily routine. I’m sure once you go through this article you’ll understand that most of the remedies are somewhat connected to our daily life. Therefore making subtle changes in our lifestyle, like regular practice of meditation and deep breathing exercise, can go a long way in keeping us happy and stress free.