Everyone faces situations where feelings of anxiety creep in. How intense those feelings are depends on your unique fears and worries. For instance, some people find speaking in front of a crowd easy, but for others, it would be easier to come face-to-face with a hungry shark.
Understanding where your anxiety stems from is a helpful way to get a grip on your triggers. If you had a rough childhood or trauma in your life, events and situations that remind you of those periods likely put your system on red alert. Your body may react physically with symptoms like sweating, increased heart rate, fast, shallow breathing, and excessive tiredness.
To varying degrees, anxiety is normal. But if the feelings it brings interfere with your daily life and consume your thoughts, they need to go. If your anxiety is severe, talk to a mentor or healthcare provider. In the meantime, you can try to handle anxiety yourself with these four self-help strategies.
1. Get Active
Working out isn’t just good for your body. It produces chemical reactions in your brain that make you feel better and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Exercising releases the brain’s feel-good endorphins and natural endogenous cannabinoids, giving you an organic “high.” These chemicals boost your mood and make you feel more confident, which instantly negates some of the anxiety getting you down.
High-intensity workouts are more beneficial than low-intensity sessions. And, of course, the more frequently you exercise, the better you feel about your overall physical fitness, which plays a large role in your confidence. According to research studies, confident people tend to have better self-esteem and less anxiety.
2. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is trending today, and it’s one trend you should quickly get on board with. Before you discount it as a “woo-woo” activity, it’s important to understand what mindfulness means.
The Oxford Dictionary defines mindfulness as “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” It’s also a mental state you can achieve by focusing on the moment and accepting your feelings, acknowledging their validity, and letting them go for a short time.
Yes, practices like yoga and meditation can help you reach this state of being in the moment. But you can also use apps to teach you how to focus your thoughts, learn relaxation exercises to soothe your muscles when you’re feeling anxious, and engage in breath management movements. All of these techniques are used by experts in high-pressure fields and recommended by credible psychologists.
The goal is to let go of your future worries and the hold your past has on your present thinking and just be in the moment. This will help you think more clearly and recognize how your anxiety is controlling your behavior so that you can cut off anything that isn’t valid.
3. Try Journaling
Another method of releasing feelings that don’t serve a purpose is to journal. Many therapists and psychologists highly recommend this technique to express anxiety and stress so you can manage it better.
Writing down your thoughts helps you put them in perspective. Imagine all your worries and ideas as little children vying for attention in your brain. They want to feel seen and acknowledged, and you’ve effectively done that by putting them on paper.
Once you’ve written down all of the chaotic things floating through your mind, it’s easier to pick the most important ones and delve deeper into them to find a solution.
4. Use Natural Aids
Our current generations aren’t the first to deal with anxiety symptoms, but we are some of the pioneers of synthetic anxiety medication. Before World War II and the first accidental muscle relaxant (meprobamate), people used natural plants to alleviate stress and symptoms of anxiety.
You can do this yourself with soothing essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and spearmint. Ginger helps with nausea, and cannabidiol (CBD) oil applied topically may reduce anxiety. (Note that CBD comes in various forms, depending on whether you are buying medically or recreationally. Read Veriheal’s article on recreational use and decriminalized cannabis here.)
Herbal teas are also beneficial in relieving anxiety symptoms. Look for teas with chamomile, lavender, ginger, and peppermint to get started.
Anxiety is a part of life for everyone. The key to getting you through your feelings of anxiousness is to recognize how severe they are.
For mild or occasional stressful situations, these self-help strategies are excellent natural remedies. But if your anxiety becomes all-encompassing and none of these tips help, reach out to your doctor for treatment options.