6 Tips to Reduce Symptoms of Anxiety
|By Rachel Zachar, Contributing Writer on Wednesday, September 3, 2014|
|We all experience anxiety at times, and it can really hinder your life. Try these tips the next time you start feeling overwhelmed and stop stress from keeping you from your goals.||
In today's world, we are constantly connected and constantly going. With so many tasks to complete on a daily basis, so many places to be and so many people to see, it's easy to become stressed out and anxious. On those days when your heart is pounding, you're shaky, sweaty and loaded down with worry and distress, you're dealing with symptoms of anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health
, anxiety is a normal reaction to stress
, prompted by your brain's amygdala sending warning signals to your cortex. When your brain is overloaded with warning messages and can't process them all, anxiety is born, according to Dr. Oz
. However, anxiety can range in intensity, from mild and controllable to severe and excessive. In the case of excessive anxiety, it is called an anxiety disorder. The normal kind of anxiety that you experience when you're giving an important presentation at work, for example, is expected and can sometimes be beneficial. However, excessive anxiety can be disruptive to your life and manifest through disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), phobias or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In these instances, or cases of severe anxiety, it is advisable to see your licensed health care practitioner to help you figure out the best way to treat your symptoms. When you're dealing with the normal stress reaction of anxiety, there are certain steps you can take to make these symptoms less intense.
1. Tell yourself positive, soothing phrases.
One of the hallmarks of anxiety is the circular thinking that something is wrong, something is bothering you and that something is so overwhelming you can't seem to get it out of your head; this loop of worry plays on repeat in your mind. In instances like these, it's important to try to remember that anxiety
is not simply a feeling, but rather a neurological process in your brain that can be quieted, says Dr. Oz. Try breaking the loop of anxiety by interjecting positive thoughts. Tell yourself that your worrisome thoughts will end, you will make it through, you're safe and that you have the ability to calm yourself down.
2. Take comfort with peppermint.
3. Relax your muscles and breathe.
Tension from stress and anxiety often materialize in an aching body, pounding heart and quick, shallow breathing. Try using progressive muscle relaxation exercises, where you tighten groups of muscles and then release them to help your body calm down. Utilizing muscle relaxation along with deep belly breathing, by placing all of your focus on contracting your diaphragm with each deep inhale and exhale, can help regulate your heart rate, blood pressure and the functions of your respiratory system. With normal, steady breathing your heart
should stop feeling like it's going to jump out of your chest, and some of the significant physical symptoms of your anxiety will be improved.
4. Reach for lemon balm.
Stimulating your sense of smell with lemon balm
essential oil can help your body and mind to wind down and start to fade worrisome thoughts and feelings. Several small studies have shown that
lemon balm supplements can produce anti-anxiety and sedative-like effects, helping you to remain calm and free from agitation. When used in conjunction with an herb like valerian root
, lemon balm may be able to improve the quality and amount of your sleep and help you to stave off insomnia—something that can amplify your anxious symptoms.
5. Distract your mind with meaning and laughter.
When your brain can't stop the cycle of worry, it may be helpful to try partaking in an activity that will transfer your mental energy and focus onto something that is enjoyable. Watching your favorite comedy series or movie can help distract your brain and trigger laughter; the benefits of laughing include the positive stimulation of many organs, relief for your stress response, and tension-soothing effects, according to the Mayo Clinic
. In addition, performing any activity that you enjoy—be it painting, listening to music, writing or playing sports—can shift your thoughts to something positive, fun and meaningful or, in other words, the opposite of your anxiety.
6. Soothe your digestive system.
A rumbling in your tummy and the feeling that your insides are being attacked by butterflies—bad ones, this time—are symptoms that can unfortunately accompany your mental anxiety. Avoiding caffeine is important, as it can cause or amplify shakiness and heart palpitations. Certain forms of caffeine, like coffee, can also contribute to your tummy troubles. When you're feeling the effects of stress and anxiety on your stomach, try making an anti-anxiety solution including lemon juice, ginger
and honey. These ingredients may be able to help lower excessive energy in your mind by balancing it with the energy of your digestive system, according to a traditional Indian remedy recommended by Dr. Oz.
While anxiety is a part of life, it's important to recognize that it's something you can manage. However, if you feel like anxious thoughts are preventing you from living your life normally and are constantly troubling you, it's crucial that you confide in your doctor for a diagnosis and to determine the best course of treatment. Anxiety disorders may require medication or therapy or both.
Make sure you tell yourself that anxiety is something you can overcome. We hope these tips are able to help you out!
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